You don’t have to like Labour to recognise which election result is preferable

by Tom

First published: 07 May, 2015 | Category: Politics

A guest post from David Wearing.

I've voted according to the same basic rules wherever in the country I've lived:

(1) Vote tactically to avoid the least bad outcome.

(2) Boost a proper left candidate wherever possible.

Today I'm doing (1) in the locals (Labour to get rid of the UKIP bloke), and (2) in the general election (Green, because this seat has been safe Tory since the neolithic period).

Outside of ultra safe seats like mine, there are only two possible outcomes to choose from in the national election.  Calling it 'lesser evilism' won't change that.  Nor will calling it 'voting for what you believe in' or 'casting a positive vote'.

There should be a proper viable left alternative to the two main parties, but there isn't one.  I say this as a new Green Party member, by the way.  The left is historically weak and a decision in the voting booth on polling day won't bring it back to life.  It will take years of organisational work, rooted in communities, to build a viable alternative party of government and the necessary supporting mass movement and set of values and ideas.

Today, in the absence of that, there are two possible outcomes to the general election, and several billion pounds of additional cuts are the major difference between the two.  Or to put it another way, several thousand more children having their formative years scarred by poverty, several thousand more disabled people losing the support they rely on, several thousand more people having to visit a foodbank on the way home from work in order to feed themselves or their families.  Personally, if it meant one less person having to suffer something like that, I would go down the polling station and vote to prevent it.

As you would guess from reading any number of things I've written about their behaviour and their policies over the last ten years (right up to the latest thing I had published, on Monday), voting Labour seriously sticks in my craw.  But it's not about me.

There are nearly 2,000 days between elections to work on changing the political landscape. All of that work is as important as voting, more so in fact.

But on polling day in a general election, as I see it, we take a view of the available alternatives and the predictable consequences, and then we play the hand we're dealt as best we can.

All comments are moderated, and should be respectful of other voices in the discussion. Comments may be edited or deleted at the moderator's discretion.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?