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.
D Ewers says
Interesting. That is the problem with ABTV even though many are saying it’s about stopping Brexit a number of local issues do come into peoples minds as well that may change the way they vote, even though if it was my choice I would vote Lib Dem just for the reason of disliking Brexit but also not being keen on the lefts mentality, even though the vote would be countless.
Paul W says
“Vote Tory, just out of sheer crabbiness, and be done with it? It’s tempting.”
Ah, go on, go on, go on. You will feel better.
Cory Bin says
I’m going to be voting Labour
Laurence Cox says
Vote for a Party that wants to bring in PR (in the form of STV) for local elections. Having FPTP in 3-member wards is even worse than in 1-member constituencies.
Paul W says
Funnily enough, I agree with you. But the chances of change are slim to say the least, and local government election results do not change local electoral law. That is a matter for Parliament to decide in England or the devolved assemblies elsewhere.
Curiously, though, all the main parties could benefit from a switch to PR-STV for local government somewhere in England and Wales. (Northern Ireland and Scotland already use PR-STV for local elections). Parties would especially benefit in those council areas where they were (relatively) weak and, as a consequence, are poorly represented under FPTP.
This can create a vicious downward spiral in which poor local party representation on a council combines with a tactical squeeze by the better placed parties to shrivel both existing representation and grassroots activity still further. In this way, from the 1980s onwards, the Conservative party progressively lost council representation in a number of big northern cities to the point of no return and despite subsequent attempts to recover lost ground.
The downside of a switch to PR-STV for local elections, (apart from potentially bigger electoral wards in some places), is that parties would have to give up something in those areas where they were particularly strong in terms of votes and thus most likely to be overrepresented, (as some might see it), under FPTP.
There is an element of swings and roundabouts here which, so far, has meant no change to the local government electoral system in England, though Wales is tentatively exploring the possibilty of using PR-STV for local elections at the moment.
I’ll be voting ???? for the Lib Dem’s in May Nick. I also live in a ward that is likely to elect a Labour councillor, although the Greens are second.
As a member of th Lib Dem’s I’m quite surprised to hear that a fellow Liberal is thinking about not voting for us! Don’t vite tactically- just vote for who you generally believe are the best. The best are obviously the Lib Dem’s.
I think you have asked something like this before. It is the point that how you vote in your ward will be largely inconsequential, Labour will easily win. This means you might as well vote for the party whose vote share you most want to see increase or hold up.
Diluting opposition to Labour by voting for three separate parties is effectively not so different to voting Labour. An adequate reason for dong this would be if you were voting for the candidates at a personal level, but there is nothing to be said for random voting.
Given that you cannot do much about whoever is elected, it is really quite simple for you.
Cory Bin says
hello Martin, you and Paul are my favourite fellow commenters.
Paul W says
Kind of you to say so Cory. One can but try. It’s hard to keep up: politics is quite mad at the moment.