Be careful if voting tactically. Because one site just made a massive cock-up.

Jo Swinson and Jeremy Corbyn
Ed Sykes

British politics is a mess, and it desperately needs a radical overhaul. Because under our current electoral system, some votes simply matter more than others. And tactical voting – having to vote for a party that’s not your first choice just because it has the greatest chance of winning – is all too often a necessity (particularly for progressives). But this election, there have been warnings of dodgy tactical-voting sites that are misleading voters. And a massive howler from one site could help to re-elect the Tories.

Absolute nonsense that could hand Boris Johnson the keys to Number 10

As ‘tactical.vote‘ highlighted on Twitter on 10 December, one recommendation from ‘Remain United‘ advocated voting for the Liberal Democrat candidate in Kensington – a seat which Labour currently controls – even though Labour was the main challenger to the Tories:

Shortly after this tweet, The Canary checked the site and got the same result:

As actor Rob Delaney pointed out, the 2017 election results clearly show that the Lib Dems were *not* the main challenger to the Tories:

The current Lib Dem candidate, meanwhile, is Sam Gyimah – who was actually a Tory minister just last year. And his terrible voting record has seen him opposing “equality and human rights” laws, higher taxes for the super-rich, and climate action – all while backing privatisation, welfare cuts, and military interventions abroad. In short, he’s Tory through and through.

To be fair, Remain United “updated” its statistics after tactical.vote highlighted its dodgy position. But it only did so in a desperate attempt to justify backing Gyimah:

As tactical.vote responded:

The Canary has previously highlighted that there are numerous cases where Lib Dems are seeking the ‘progressive’ vote in seats where Labour is the main challenger to the Tories.

Be clear on who to trust

Some of the most marginal seats in the country are Dudley North, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Southampton Itchen, Richmond Park, and Crewe and Nantwich. As an example of how the Tories have screwed over these areas, the NHS in Dudley will be suffering to the tune of £182m a year by 2023 as a result of Conservative-led underfunding. The figure is £113m in North Staffordshire, £140m in Southampton, £110m in Richmond, and £103m in South Cheshire. The Tories have also made school funding cuts in these areas, and don’t plan to reverse these cuts any time soon. The Lib Dems, meanwhile, supported Conservative-led ideological austerity, and Swinson in particular has a terrible voting record. And that’s why lies about tactical voting could be so damaging.

While several tactical-voting sites seem to have a highly questionable Lib Dem bias, tactical.vote and tacticalvote.co.uk seem to be the most trustworthy. They agree that Lib Dems are only the main challengers to the Tories in a tiny handful of seats, and that a vote for Labour is the best choice almost everywhere. In the five ultra-marginal seats above, for example, Labour is the recommendation in all except Richmond Park.

Our current electoral system means tactical voting is vital if we want to get the Tories out of power. But be very careful whom you trust. And look at both the 2017 election results and tactical.vote’s recommendations. Because one misplaced vote could give Boris Johnson the keys to Number 10.

Featured image via YouTube – Good Morning Britain / Wikimedia – Sophie J. Brown

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us
  • Show Comments
    1. Tactical voting makes cheats of us all if we are impelled, forced, persuaded to vote against a political party we might otherwise vote for. ‘First past the post’ is a form of democracy for a corrupt society that deserves voting in a government that they eventually find wasn’t the government they wanted. ‘First past the post’ (a horse racing term) is a gamble, a high stakes hope-and-pray ballot-chit handed to ballot-bookies. Whatever government ‘races past the post first’ will have achieved so through the most cynical corruption we so patronisingly accuse other world regimes operating, as they most certainly do, with their manipulated general and municipal elections.

    Leave a Reply

    Join the conversation

    Please read our comment moderation policy here.