As someone with unashamedly left-wing views, I have to ask the question as to whether I should be voting for the Greens, as per my last post, or whether that will, in fact, split the opposition vote, dooming us to another five years of Tory government and wasting my left-wing opinion. This is a valid question. After all, with the ludicrous first past the post electoral system there would have to be some kind of divine intervention for the Green Party to form a government (and by the way, God, a little divine intervention is not totally unwelcome. Just, y’know, if you’ve got nothing better to do). Alternative electoral systems are a whole other post, but it is beyond hypocritical that a country which feels free to spout to anyone who is listening about democracy still has an electoral system that does not represent the views of its people. And I can understand why the current t0p two parties are disinclined to do anything about it, since it is basically keeping out the alternative vote and keeping in the established power base. I know something like PR opens the possibility of (God forbid) more seats for UKIP, but it is still a more ethical system than FPTP.
I digress. Where was I? Tactical voting.
Unfortunately, I cannot really in conscience support tactical voting. I do not agree with many of Labour’s policies, not least their austerity-lite approach. An article I read yesterday described the Green Manifesto as “Labour, but more so”. I don’t actually think that’s necessarily a bad thing, by the way, but clearly the writer did. Well, to be fair almost every policy forms a continuum with the major parties (including Greens and UKIP) placed somewhere along it, and I would put Labour as “Conservative, but slightly less so”. I do not intend to waste my precious vote on “Conservative, but less so”.
Looking at policies, the Green Party are those who are promising policies that make the country more fair, more sustainable and that enable us to look after each other. Data shows that if people voted on policies instead of other reasons like legacy, tradition or just fear that their choice won’t get in, the Green Party would be huge. But people are put off by the conception that since the Greens can’t win, why vote for them? It becomes a self-perpetuating circle.
I hear lots at election time aimed at those who do not intend to vote, or who do not know if they will vote. Particularly from women, who quite rightly point out the sacrifices made for universal suffrage. While I can, honestly, understand those who think their vote is wasted or who refuse to vote in protest (like Russell Brand, for whom I have a great deal of admiration) I personally don’t think that’s the way to do it. I said before that my vote is precious, and it is; it is my only voice. I do not have the abilities to be an MP, I am never going to be famous or have a wide platform to use. The only thing I have is my voice.
If I don’t use my voice to vote for the policies that I believe in, then I am letting the Establishment steal it from me.