Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Hain Urges Tactical Voting.

Peter Hain has come closer than any other Labour politician in urging tactical voting to keep the conservatives from power.

In an interview with The Independent, the cabinet minister Peter Hain urged people to "vote with their heads, not their hearts" as he issued a last-minute appeal to supporters of other parties to rally behind Labour "for the only time in their life" to stop David Cameron becoming Prime Minister in Thursday's election.

"I support every Labour candidate and the Liberal Democrat leadership supports every Liberal Democrat candidate. But voters are intelligent and they know what the real fight is in their own constituency. They will draw their own conclusions," he said.

In a three party system it is something which I think it would always be wise to keep in mind. I have many friends in constituencies like Richmond where a vote for Labour would be an utterly wasted vote and I always urge them to vote for the Liberal Democrats as vote for Labour in that constituency is really a vote for the Tories.

But the same applies to those Liberal Democrat voters who live in areas where Labour are the only serious challengers to the seat. In those areas I would suggest that they vote for the progressive candidate who has the best chance of success.
Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, makes a similar plea in the New Statesman magazine, saying: "I always want a Labour candidate to win, but I recognise there's an issue in places like North Norfolk, where my family live, where Norman Lamb [the Liberal Democrat candidate] is fighting the Tories, who are in second place. And I want to keep the Tories out."
It's rare for the Labour party to make the same point which I have been making to friends for years. We have to recognise that, in a three party system, the fact that there are two progressive parties - and only one party of right wingers - means that our vote is potentially split.

We have to, as Hain rightly says, to use our heads as well as our hearts. That is why I urge friends in seats where the Liberals are challenging to Tories to back the Liberals. But the same should also be true for Liberal voters in seats where Labour are the only serious challenger to the Tories.
His message was: "If you vote Labour just once in your life, now is the time to do it, especially in the key Conservative-Labour marginals. A huge majority of the electorate does not want a Conservative government; that is why the Tories are not romping home in this election. I know many of these people are not natural Labour supporters, but are they willing to pay the price of a Conservative government?"

The Daily Mirror have produced a chart showing how tactical voters should vote in key marginals. (PDF)

Click here for full article.

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