I live in Camberwell, Southwark – I’m in a very, very safe Labour ward. It’s the kind of ward in which, in 2014, the three Labour candidates were way above any other party (by more than a thousand votes); followed by the three Green candidates as a block; then some independents/very small parties; finally, the Tories and Lib Dem candidates with a hundred or so votes each if they were lucky, trailing far behind.
Given my desire is try my best to help Labour possibly lose a seat in the ward (I know – good luck with that), how to vote is tricky. Over the weekend, one of the Green candidates knocked on my door. She gets marks for having turned up (no one else has, yet) and I told her of my plan to vote tactically against Labour, and that I was thus considering the Greens. She seemed very nice; I asked for some literature, which is where it started to go a little wrong. Why do left-wingers in inner London want so badly to stop any building of housing, even on disused brown field sites? It seems inexplicable – unless you’ve known enough people who conform to the mind set, which over the years I have. They are so against the idea of “gentrification”, and by that I mean anything at all that would slightly improve an area, even if the main benefactors in the short term would be poor people in need of housing or public space, because it is somehow essentially evil.
In spite of that should I vote for one of the Green candidates in hopes they might displace a Labour candidate? In terms of sending a message, I’m not sure it’s a great one. Sure, it tells Labour to stop being so Brexity, but it also tells them they might not be left-wing enough yet, which is not a signal sending I’d like to be party to. In fact, when I look at the candidates, the ones who have the best chance of winning and aren’t totally batshit loopy are actually the Labour councillors themselves. But then we’re back to where we started.
Vote Tory, just out of sheer crabbiness, and be done with it? It’s tempting.
The local Lib Dems aren’t bad – at least, as far as London Lib Dem local candidates go these days. In London, Lib Dem locals over the last few years have morphed into a nerdier, weirder version of Momentum folk. Same obsessions with ensuring that nothing every gets built, ever, so poor people can stay in bad housing while enjoying their “community spirit” going uninterrupted, all that crap. The Southwark bunch aren’t bad by that measure.
I don’t know, maybe I’ll stay at home. Except, I know I won’t. Vote for one Green, one Lib Dem and one Tory? That’s probably what I’ll end up doing.