Why I am voting ‘no’ in the Compass ballot….
Compass is balloting it’s members on whether it should encourage tactical voting. As a member of Compass this blog constitutes me sticking my oar in and also contributing to a debate and dilemma which I think many people will have. Firstly, it should be stressed that the decision of Compass to ballot it’s members before making this decision is a laudable one; however, it’s perspectives are faulty and flawed so I have to say I will oppose this move.
Let’s start with the justification:
Something seismic could be happening in British politics which reflects the Compass view of a more pluralistic and tolerant progressive democracy.
Of course, they are talking about the impressive polling figures of the Liberal Democrats and Nick Clegg’s seeming meritocratic rise. However, pause for breath a second and let’s be rational. Compass, nor anybody else, can foretell which way the Liberal Democrats will jump in a hung parliament. Had they given a clear indication pre-election this would be a different kettle of fish however, they didn’t and havent. Our head tells us their policies lead them to Labour but our head can be much more treacherous than the heart. In Leeds, and in many places, the Liberal Democrats support the Conservatives and do so keenly despite the ‘Labourite’ tendencies of activists.
They then assume the colour and candour of conservatism because the inherent contradictions within liberalism allow them to do so. So, the supposition that a Liberal Democrat vote is necessarily a anti-Conservative one is deeply flawed and not bourne out by reality. The simple reality is this; Nick Clegg is deeply uninterested in working with Labour; his agenda is to replace it and that to me suggests it is more likely than not he will, in fact, use his, by this time, high level of personal authority to argue successfully to Liberal Democrat activists that they should, in fact, work with the Conservatives. The only possible force opposed to this is the lack of Conservative enthusiasm for electoral reform; however, this does not mean the Liberal Democrats cannot offer the Conservatives the kind of ‘supply and confidence’ outlined as a possibility here. Because it would be short of a formal coalition Clegg could argue the need for reform does not apply and that can wait until he has finished crushing Labour.
Has Compass considered the effect of the Liberal Democrat surge in Labour>Conservative marginal seats where some opinion polls are showing a 12% swing; enough to turn these seats blue on a much lower swing? Has it considered the possibility that the encouragement of tactical voting will, in fact, encourage people to vote tactically but anti-Labour? It clearly has not because it has mypoically mis-read the mood. Well intentioned these proposals maybe but then again the road to hell is paved with good intentions….