Tactical Voting

Just for those who had not heard we are in the approach to a General Election in the U.K. I live in one of the safest seats in the country where the sitting MP got 49% of the vote last time round. With the other two candidates splitting the rest of the vote.

Anyway I just got this email from a friend (I've removed some details to hide the senders identity):

Is tactical voting morally acceptable, would you say?

I can't decide: do I vote LibDem - and in XXXX they are currently 2nd and stand a chance - to register my displeasure with Bliar?

Or do I vote Labour, despite not liking them, so as to avoid any possibility of the Cons getting back in nationally? Labour losing XXXX to LibDem could mean that they don't have enough seats.

Leaving aside whether the politics of the parties, is if you support Party X and don't want Party Y to form a government is it right to vote tactically for Party Z if they are the only one to realistically challenge Party Y in your seat?

My answer is yes. In the first past the post system we have tactical voting is entirely justified. However on the precise question unless the Tories could win the seat there is no issue. If the Lib Dems were to win the seat it moves us closer to a hung parliament which would be a very different thing than a Tory win.

Comments:

It looks as if the WWW is going to make tactical voting a more interesting and effective option. See this BBC piece and also tacticalvoter.net.

Posted by Geoff Arnold on April 28, 2005 at 07:58 AM BST #

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This is the old blog of Chris Gerhard. It has mostly moved to http://chrisgerhard.wordpress.com

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