How to vote in the forthcoming election

I was at a friend’s house last night, as she said she was surprised I’d not written anything about the forthcoming General Election. When she pointed it out, I was surprised, too — but, really, the whole thing is so utterly wretched that it’s difficult to summon up any enthusiasm for.

But of course it does matter, and more than any election in my lifetime. That’s because, while normally no parliament can bind its successor, Johnson’s Tories will make a permanent break with our biggest and closest trading partner — a break that will be impossible for a subsequent parliament to mend, because it’s dependent on a third party.

So for me — despite the well-documented problems with Labour’s vagueness and despite the Lib Dems’ inexplicable hostility towards all their potential allies — this election is all about one thing: preventing the Tories from getting a majority so they can’t “Get Brexit Done”. Instead, we need a hung parliament that can successfully demand a People’s Vote.

How should you vote if you agree with me? Simple: vote for whichever non-Tory party has the best chance of beating the Tories in your constitutency (other than the Brexit Party, of course!). For some Greens and Lib Dems, that will mean voting Labour; for some Greens and Labour supporters, that will mean voting Lib Dem; for a few Lib Dems and Labour supporters, it will mean voting Green. Doesn’t matter. Just hold your nose and do it.

How can you know which non-Tory party has the best chance in your constituency? There are a confusing plethora of tactical voting sites, but the most useful tool I’ve seen is The big tactical voting comparison, which shows the results for five tactical-voting sites side by side and lets you see what the consensus is.

In my own constituency, the Forest of Dean, Labour is unanimously considered the party with the best hope of unseating the bulletproof Mark Harper. It’s a forlorn hope, but still the smart play.

It’s possible that predictions and polling will shift between now and 12 December; but it’s also possible that the site will get overwhemed with traffic nearer the time. So my recommendation is to check it now; then if possible check it again the day before the election to confirm that its recommendation has stayed the same.

Appendix A: but what about Labour’s antisemitism?

Right here, right now, that’s not the issue. Vote to unseat the Tories.

Appendix B: but what about the Lib Dems’ record in coalition?

Right here, right now, that’s not the issue. Vote to unseat the Tories.

Appendix C: don’t you care about these other things?

Yes I do. They are important and need to be addressed by the parties in question. But you can’t advance the rights of minorities by installing the much more racist Conservative Party, and that’s what will happen if people withdraw their Labour votes over antisemitism fears. And you can’t undo the damage done by the coalition’s austerity policies by installing the much more eat-the-poor Conservative Party, and that’s what will happen if people withdraw their Lib Dem votes over that party’s inability in coalition to prevent the actual Tories from enacting their favoured policies.

Hold your nose. Vote to get Tories out. That’s all.

22 responses to “How to vote in the forthcoming election

  1. This is great and I’ll be sharing it :)
    Typo in the last line: “hold your note” should presumably be “nose”.

  2. Thanks, Andrew! You’re right about the typo, which I have now fixed.

  3. Votes are not about who is good or bad, but who is better or worse.
    However bad a particular party might be, if their opponents are worse, you still should vote for them.
    There are plenty of other political mechanisms that are for improving the choices on the ballot paper, but voting is not one of them.

  4. I’m in the US and I’ll be telling my conservative-leaning friends and family something similar for the election next year. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like this, that, or the other about the Democrats. The important thing is voting the Republicans, and Trump in particular, out.

  5. Well I don’t know about you but I’m going to use the pencil provided.

  6. as a card carrying Corbynite, i endorse the above message.’

  7. Napoléon F. II.

    And yet the voters did the exact opposite and gave the Tories a huge majority. I found you just because of a duckduckgo entry while searching about a certain Tolkien term. That was quite solid and you made good points. But your politics? By Eru,. it’s partisanship and the plain regurgitation of completely baseless mainstream media talking points and you even repeated complete propaganda terms like “People’s Vote”. Do you even reflect on that yet you think the Tory voters are blinded by whatever -ism is trendy in politics. What is a “People’s Vote” ? It’s an empty PR buzzword. On its face, it is every type of vote in which the demos (usually all adult citizens) of a given polity have each equal voting power on either a plebiscite/referendum (such as your so hated “Brexit” referendum, which was decided fairly and would have turned out the same in case of a repetition according to the majority of later representative polling ) or in the election of all kinds of representative positions such as members of councils, regional or national parliaments (personally, I am not a fan the most commonly used method employed in the United Kingdom). Rejecting the results of referendums is hardly pro democracy.

    I am also not a Tory fan and have a lot to criticize them for. I’m not British but like your country and its history.

  8. “People’s Vote” was a specific term of the time when this post was written: it meant “a referendum on whether, now we know what Brexit will actually be, we want to go ahead and do it”. I agree that it was a stupid term, but it was the one that got chosen.

    And, factually, it is not the case that the original Brexit referendum was decided fairly, nor that it would have turned out the same in case of a repetition.

  9. ‘People’s Vote’ was an attempt to rebrand ‘second referendum’ so that it didn’t sound quite so much like ‘you stupid racist plebs, you voted the wrong way, now do it again and get it right this time.’

    Didn’t work, did it.

  10. It’s not what I would have the putative referendum on whether to proceed with the negotiated exit deal once people know what it was; but, in explicably, they didn’t think to consult me

  11. You’re not wrong, Andrew.

  12. ‘Jeremy Corbyn is a sensible man’

    Nah, you lost me there. Sensible people don’t invite Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness to teat at the House of Commons. Sensible people don’t edit newsletters that call the Brighton bomb ‘A good start’. And they certainly don’t speak at events commemorating Bobby Sands.

    Fortunately in December 2019 the electorate saw Mr Corbyn for exactly what he was.

  13. Andrew Rilstone

    “H”

    It’s a bit late in the day to be having this argument. Don’t the British values that we all hold so dear say that losers don’t sulk and winners don’t crow? We could probably have an interesting discussion about the way in which the Left in the 80s interacted with baddies who later became goodies (Nelson Mandela); baddies who were partially rehabilitated (Gerry Adams) and baddies who are still baddies (various people from Hammas.) If you are involved with left wing politics, you are probably going to share platforms with people who have shared platforms with people who have advocated terrorist tactics, and if you are involved with right wing politics you are probably going to share platforms with people who have shared platforms with fascists and dictators. (He may be a bastard, but he is our bastard.) But this is just stock criticism and slogans. You think Corbyn was right about Europe but Corbyn once had tea with Gerry Adams MP so har har you lost the argument. I think Mrs Thatcher was right about the mines but Mrs Thatcher was a friend of general Pinochet so har har I lost the argument. It isn’t clear if Cameron and Johnson personally wore the Hang Nelson Mandela badges, but many of their friends in the Young Conservatives did. I am not sure that that terminates further discussion about the relative merits of socialism and monetarism. But you won the argument and we are now in the sunlit uplands of the glorious new Boris dawn and Brexit prosperity, and I admitted a long time ago that I was in the wrong, so probably you shouldn’t go on and on about it.

    http://www.andrewrilstone.com/2019/12/you-told-me-so.html

  14. It’s a bit late in the day to be having this argument

    Yes, you’re right, I shouldn’t have linked to your essay as if it were still at all relevant. Sorry.

  15. Andrew Rilstone

    H

    That is certainly a response to the first sentence of what I just wrote. Please let me know what you think of the second sentence if you get around to reading it.

  16. I think I agree, it would have been much better if the ‘People’s Vote’ losers had not spent four years sulking. Perhaps they could stop now?

  17. Though I have just now skimmed the essay from December before last, and I wonder if you could help me understand something which has always confused me, which is how people can look at Boris Johnson, a man so wet that Thatcher would have used him only to sponge down her hand-bag, a maniacal taxer-and-spender, a social liberal without a real Conservative bone in his body, in short, a man, however different he might be in style, with without a single iota of difference in real political substance between him and David Cameron or Tony Blair (well, except inasmuch as Cameron at least believed in fiscal restrain and attempting to balance the books, good Conservatives concepts which never seem to have so much as flitted across the Johnsonian lobes) —

    — how can people possibly look at this drippy cloud of a political puffball, this centrist’s centrist, and claim with anything resembling a straight face that ‘the country has fallen to fascism’?

  18. For the very obvious reason that fascism is nothing to do with a position on the left-to-right spectrum of tax-and-spend vs. cut-and-reduce, and everything to do with disrerding and undermining all the institutions of state that exist to check power.

    A better question might be why you seem to think conservatism is the same thing as fascism.

  19. A better question might be why you seem to think conservatism is the same thing as fascism.

    I don’t, obviously, given that I am a conservative and not a fascist; my point was that I don’t see how people could think someone so dripping wet that he doesn’t even have a political position in the party he’s ostensibly in, let alone an ideology, could possibly be ‘disrerding and undermining all the institutions of state that exist to check power’.

    I mean can you seriously imagine Boris passing an Enabling Act, or somesuch? He wouldn’t have a clue what to do with that kind of power even if it fell into his lap. He’s a seat-of-his-pants busker, not some diabolical mastermind with a complex plan to destroy democracy.

    (Now Dominic Cummings, he did have a complex plan to take over the state, but he was too incompetent to carry it out, and also it was a stupidly overcomplex plan and would never have worked anyway).

  20. I don’t see how people could think someone so dripping wet that he doesn’t even have a political position in the party he’s ostensibly in, let alone an ideology, could possibly be ‘disrerding and undermining all the institutions of state that exist to check power’.

    Those two things are completely unrelated. you might just as well say you don’t see how someone with so little preference between Manchester United and Manchestee City could possibly enjoy Japanese food.

  21. Those two things are completely unrelated. you might just as well say you don’t see how someone with so little preference between Manchester United and Manchestee City could possibly enjoy Japanese food.

    They’re not you know. Fascism is an ideology and the reason fascist governments seize totalitarian power is to enact that ideology. The one springs from the other. It’s not at all like, say, football and food.

    Boris is an ideology-free zone. His political positions blow with the wind. Even what he’s now most associated with, getting us out of the EU, wasn’t done out of some deep-seated ideological commitment: remember he famously wrote those two articles to decide which side to be on (if you read the pro-EU article you’ll see that he couldn’t come up with many arguments for Remain, it was basically ‘yes the EU is crap but being out of it would be even worse’, but the very fact he wrote it shows he wasn’t operating from some kind of pure ideology).

    What Boris does seem to like is attention and adulation. The performance. The mechanics of government, of the constitution, really do seem to be beneath his notice.

    So given that again I don’t see why you think he would want to get involved with ‘disrerding and undermining all the institutions of state that exist to check power’?

    I mean admittedly over the past year and a half he has imposed totalitarian rule on us to a degree I never would have thought possible, in Britain, and I am intensely disappointed that he’s been allowed to get away with it, but that’s on us, not him; and I do get the impression that he’s keen to get rid of those powers as soon as possible and not extend them into, say, rolling out vaccine passports (can you imagine an actual fascist giving up a golden opportunity like that to try to normalise giving up of one’s medical and, possibly, eventually, genetic information with the press not only not kicking up a stink but actually cheering the descent into a nightmare biosecurity dystopia? But Boris seems to have taken them off the table — though I will hold my hands up and say I’m wrong if they come back).

    And again, his aide who was most into rewriting the constitution to make it more technocratic and less democratic — you know, the one who suggested that in a period of crisis we might need to appoint a ‘dictator’ with unlimited power, an idea which is literally fascistic in that dictators got to be preceded by lictors with fasces — was fired by Boris in some sort of domestic squabble. What actual fascist intend on dismantling democracy would be so chaotic as to fire his best chance at actually centralising power and undermining democracy just because he didn’t get on with his girlfriend?

    Perhaps I should turn the question around. What has Boris done since he was elected (other than the whole establishing a totalitarian dictatorship where we’re not allowed to leave our houses thing, obvs) that seems the slightest bit fascist? What does he seem likely to do that’s the slightest bit fascist?

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