Lib Link: Stephen Tall: The ins and outs of tactical voting (nose pegs optional)

Our esteemed former co-editor Stephen Tall has a piece on the Independent Voices site looking into tactical voting. Why might you, he asks:

For all the complexity of political debates about the economy, public services, the environment and immigration, the choice each of us faces when handed our ballot paper is simple: which candidate should receive our solitary “X”?

Suppose you’re a Conservative supporter living in Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam; should you stick by your party, even if that means handing the seat to Labour? Or lend your vote to the Lib Dem leader this time?

Or perhaps you’re a Scot who wants to see the UK stick together – then the canny choice will be the candidate best-placed to thwart the SNP. Danny Alexander is pinning his hopes of survival in his Inverness seat on rallying anti-nationalist voters.

He adds that voting for the party that most reflects your values is not always the best way of getting something like your values enacted under the first past the post electoral system:

In my ideal world, such Machiavellian strategising would be unnecessary. Instead, we’d be free to choose the party closest to our own values, whose policies we most wanted to see delivered in government. But to do so under our first past the post voting system is a luxury: better to find out what’s happening in your constituency, and use your vote intelligently.

In 2005, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee famously urged reluctant Labour supporters to wear a nose-peg when re-electing the Iraq-tarnished Tony Blair. A decade on, plenty of voters will opt to don their own tactical voting nose-pegs to make the most of their once-every-five-years decision.

So the question for you, dear readers, is have you, would you, could you?

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6 Comments

  • Steve Comer 5th Apr '15 - 8:31pm

    I’m just glad I’m not a Lib Dem voter living in Rochester or Ramsgate……………I’d not only have to hold my nose, but I’d have to scrub my writing hand with carbolic soap and disinfectant as soon as I left the Polling Station!

  • There maybe some tactical voting to save deposits this time!

  • I am voting tactically.

  • John Minard 6th Apr '15 - 10:37am

    Scary thought! If the Tories did win it would be the first Conservative Party run government since 1992!!

  • John Minard — some might reasonably say that we have had nothing but conservative run government since 1952.

  • Michael Cole 6th Apr '15 - 11:08pm

    If you believe in changing the voting system to multi-member STV then you must vote Lib Dem; orpossibly for a candidate who (if you can find one) is clearly and honestly in favour of a similar change.

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