Who are you voting against? The rising trend in tactical voting

I.e. How much do you hate the Conservatives?

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In the past when election season rolled up you were asked by your overly nosy friends and family members ‘So, who are you voting for?’ However, in this year’s election, this no longer seems to be the question of choice.

Instead more and more of us are becoming involved in tactical voting. We are no longer voting for someone but against someone.

This year’s tactical voting campaign is mostly directed against the Conservatives. The idea is that you vote for the party in your constituency (usually Labour) which is most likely to keep the Conservatives out of power. But this means the party you are voting for is not necessarily the one you support, you just don’t hate them as much as the Conservatives (which for some people is a very low bar).

The campaign group which has brought tactical voting to everyone’s attention is #TACTICAL 2017, who created a spreadsheet of how to vote against the Tories that went viral on social media. They have now created a website which allows people to type in their post code to see who they should vote for to stop the Tories. This is particularly relevant to students who can use the website to see if their vote would count more in the constituency where they are studying or where their permanent home is.

When asked why they think they have been so popular with the public, #TACTICAL 2017 told The Tab:

“We believe that British voters want progressive parties to work together on the things they agree on such as protecting the NHS. We have more in common than the politicians realise. And more power too.”

#TACTICAL 2017 urges progressive voters to “come together” to form one vote to stop the Tories from “gaining more power”.

“Most people live in a constituency where only one or two candidates have a chance of winning that seat. If you don’t vote for one of those candidates, your vote is wasted. Over 70% of votes in the UK are wasted due to our first past the post voting system.”

I can see the logic and benefit in #TACTICAL 2017 plan. However, I have a problem with the fact that tactical voting has led to Lib-Dem and Green candidates standing down from 31 constituencies to maximise the non-conservative vote.

I think that people should have the opportunity to vote for the party that they actually believe in and support (rather than just tolerate), even if it is not the politically savvy choice.

However, #TACTICAL 2017 sees it very differently:

“A lot of people have decided that it’s time to put country before party and it’s great to see politicians do the same. The Greens may see a drop in overall vote share by not fielding as many candidates, but what they lose in votes they will gain in respect.”

However, polls also indicated a large impact of tactical voting on the other side of the political divide, with former UKIP voters abandoning the party to vote for the Tories who they believe will deliver the BREXIT they want.

I think it’s deeply depressing that both progressive and Conservative voters are now picking parties, not because they support them, but because they fear the alternative. The fact that people are doing this shows that that neither of the big political parties are doing their job and actually satisfying the voters. So if none of the major parties are making us happy, why are we removing the alternatives?

Through tactical voting there is a chance that we doom the smaller parties to continual obscurity. Never allowing them the chance to grow into parties that can bring about the changes that we need.

In the end it comes down to on Election Day, are you going to vote for or against someone?