Normally, if you don’t like the incumbent Government, you just vote against them at the next General Election. In 2017, it’s a lot more complicated than that.
Both the Conservative and Labour parties want Brexit.
They have been happy to abandon the 48% of people who voted Remain. They have used a 1.3 million vote majority, in an advisory non-binding referendum, to try to force a hard Brexit on the rest of us. Only 26% of the population voted Leave.
On the Remain side, we have Liberal Democrats, Greens, SNP, Plaid Cymru, SDLP, Alliance and Sinn Féin (although as they don’t take any seats won in Westminster, in practice that’s not useful).
If you have a chance to vote for a pro-European party and have them win the seat, please go for it. Lots of campaigning can work too. Sarah Olney destroyed Zac Goldsmith’s 23,015 majority. Where people have a chance to vote in a good former MP like Sir Vince Cable or Simon Hughes, they might well do it.
Getting as many pro-EU party seats as possible is important. They drive a wedge between Tories and Labour. If there’s a hung Parliament, then there are two possibilities. The parties go into a coalition and get concessions, to prop up a larger party. OR they refuse to strike a coalition deal and formally or informally there’s an alliance of pro-EU parties which pushes the pro-EU position on any Brexit-related vote.
In Northern Ireland. please be aware that a vote for DUP may mean that you’re propping up the Tories, as this has happened previously.
If you’re in a safe Tory or Labour seat, please don’t think ‘my vote doesn’t matter’ and not bother to vote.
Please go vote for Liberal Democrats or Greens. If enough people do this, it will put a dent in the MP’s majority. In itself, that might encourage others to vote against the incumbent MP in 2022. Another reason to vote Lib Dems or Greens in a safe seat, is to show that Remainers are still here. That’s an important middle finger to the next Government. It also shows the EU that there is still support for Remain within the UK.
If you’re in a constituency where only a Labour party candidate can remove a Tory, you’re in a difficult position of Brexit or Brexit.
Please don’t think that a vote for Labour is pro-EU, it isn’t. Corbyn went on holiday during the EU referendum campaign. He has never voted in favour of the European Union in the House of Commons. He has stated that the Brexit question is settled and has refused to give a referendum on any deal.
Sir Keir Starmer QC MP was thought to be a Remainer, until recently. Although he is a former Director of Public Prosecutions and barrister, who wrote a book on European law, he voted to trigger Article 50. He told an interviewer that the Labour party would pull out of the European Courts of Justice with regard to EU citizens but may accept a court for trade disputes. He knows, as Remainers do, that the EU will not put trade ahead of the rights of EU citizens.
Neither Tory nor Labour party can implement many of their manifesto pledges, because the UK needs a strong economy to do so and Brexit would crash it. Tory and Labour politicians have misled the public over the post-Brexit economy.
It’s likely that Conservatives disgusted by Tories will vote Liberal Democrat or Greens, but not Labour.
Kippers have the choice between Conservatives or Labour – and UKIP in some areas. That may split the Brexit vote in some seats, as Kippers return to their previous parties. Their rationale will be, that they’ll get Brexit regardless.
Students and other young voters are likely to vote Labour, because of a pledge to ban tuition fees. This seems short-sighted, because it might not be affordable in the face of Brexit. Liberal Democrats would bring back grants for poorer students, but this isn’t being reported widely. Polls usually don’t take younger people into account.
If you’re in a Brexit or Brexit party constituency, the voting records of the candidates become important. Your MP may be a pro-EU Labour rebel, for example. Or, if you’re unlucky, an arch Leaver, like Kate Hoey.
So, to summarise, first priority is returning pro-EU party MPs, to drive a wedge between Tories and Labour. In safe pro-Brexit seats, vote pro-EU to dent the majority, voice your objection and show EU we’re still about.
In Brexit v Brexit you need to do your research. Try several tactical voting sites, read their explanations, look at local newspapers for reports on hustings. Ultimately, choose a candidate and/or party whom you can live with voting for. They don’t need to be your first preference in normal circumstances.
Voting is not a bet. It’s a decision on the best person to represent you as an MP and the best party to form the next Government. When it comes down to it, polls mean nothing and there have been plenty of upsets. Many of us scoffed at the idea of Remain losing and Trump becoming US President. Yet here we are.
Even if Mayhem comes back to lord it over us, there are more crowdfunds, law suits, protests, petitions and marches to come.