I agree with those finding it distasteful, and in all likelihood counterproductive, that Hain & Balls have come out with a call for tactical votes.  Of course, people should vote how they want, and that might be framed in negative terms: if I had Beelzebub standing locally, I would vote for whoever beats him. Or her.   But there isn’t an ‘anything but the Conservative’ party, and I personally feel slightly uncomfortable with H&B and the rest implying that such an informal coalition of sentiment exists.

Bagehot puts it best for me:

the trouble is that this is an election in which, more than any other in recent British history, people will be paying close attention to the national vote-share figures. A big Lib Dem vote, likely to be wildly disproportionate to the number of Lib Dem seats, would help to advance the case for electoral reform that has gained increasing traction during the campaign. The higher the Lib Dem vote, the more indefensible the system will appear

Exactly.  I am voting Lib Dem in a Conservative-Labour marginal.  Partly this is in the hope that it generates a 2-3 term strategy. But mostly because every Lib Dem vote counts for winning the argument.  As Bagehot concludes:

if Lib Dem voters also want to dramatise the injustice of the electoral system, as well as boost the moral standing of the party, they may be best off voting Lib Dem even in seats the Tories stand to win.


4 thoughts on “Tactical voting – really, it’s simple

  1. I think one way of answering this would be “How would you feel if the Tories won by 1 vote?”. If, as I believe to be the case, you wouldn’t really care, then clearly you should vote for the Lib Dems. If you would care, then perhaps you should consider how likely that is (1-in-3,000?) – depending I guess on your model!

  2. I just hope people don’t go mad. It would be crazy if seats we might win despite being in 3rd (Redcar?) saw Labour voters voting for us and our supporters ‘tactically voting’ for Labour.

    Like the Bagehot point.

  3. Surprise, The Economist backing the Conservatives telling LD that the real tactical vote is… not to vote for a Labour candidate where it can prevent a Tory win.

    If you want a balanced Parliament and an electoral reform for good. Check if you live in one of the 100 constituencies where your vote can make the difference: http://bit.ly/bDizHY

    Spread the word #ge2010 #ukelection

  4. There is also the point, that not everybody supporting Liberal Democrats necessarily think, that Labour is the lesser evil of the two. Some might think, that Labour and Conservatives are equally bad alternatives, and wish a plague on both your houses, some might even think, that the Conservatives is the lesser evil. And some might have resigned to the likely outcome that the Conservatives will form the next government, and want that the Liberal Democrats will be the second largest party at least in number of votes, which would give it a better possibilities to become the largest party in the next election after

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