Can you Vote Tactically in Banbury? What’s a Green Vote Worth? [Video]

BannerSocialMedia1As we approach voting day, I thought I should deal with the elephant in the room head on.

The two questions I’m being asked are “Is voting Green a wasted vote?” and “Shouldn’t I vote tactically in Banbury to get the Tories out?”

I’ll take the second question first and I answer that by way of this short video, but the gist is that tactical voting in Banbury is very unlikely to work.  The Tories still have a 12000 vote majority after Labour’s strongest performance in 2017.  Even if you added together all the non-Tory votes in the 2017 election (including UKIP) the next nearest party (Labour) would still have been 8000 votes short of winning.

So you’re free to vote for what you believe in, in Banbury.


The first question I’ll answer with 10 reasons why voting Green is not a wasted vote

1. The national vote share for the Greens will send a message to whomever is in government that we want to see real commitment to climate change issues.
2. A big swing to the Greens will really shake up the other parties and make them realise this is serious!
3. Greens have already influenced the national political landscape. Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t be the leader of Labour if the Greens hadn’t pushed them to be more radical after the 2015 election.
4. A big Green swing will get a lot of publicity making the point even more strongly. Just another second place for the next nearest party will get virtually no media coverage.
5. Votes for the Greens help them get funding in the form of Short Money.  In Banbury that money is worth several thousand pounds. Remember we don’t take funding from big businesses or institutions like the other parties do.
6. Greens call ill-afford to lose the £500 deposit in any constituency. They only need to get 5% of the vote to do that. We got 4.6% in 2015 in Banbury. We only needed another 225 votes, so every vote counted.
7. The number of votes any party gets in a GE determines how much coverage they get on national media, particularly for platforms like the BBC and ITV.
8. We have been winning seats in Oxfordshire. We doubled our number of MEPs and gained 10 times as many council seats, with joint control of one District Council. More Green votes in all elections mean more people get into the habit of voting Green and we get more Green representatives in government.
9. Voting Green gives encouragement to your local branch to make the effort each time to put up a candidate so you will always have the chance to vote Green.
10. If you really care about the environment and the future for generations to come, you’ll be able to tell your children and grandchildren with a clear conscience that you voted for them in years to come. Voting with your heart is never a wasted vote!

I hope this helps anyone who might be undecided about how they can vote in Banbury.  And remember, if you’re a Green at heart, this is the time to vote with your heart.  For the planet, for your children and for our future.

If not now, then when?


If You Want The Tories Out, Voting Labour Is Not Always Your Best Alternative

I love a bit of comedy as much as the next person, but I do sometimes wish comedians would stay out of politics.

In 2015 Russell Brand advised young people not to vote as part of his personal philosophy of half-baked revolution. As a result he bears some of the blame for a Conservative majority borne on the backs of the large number of older voters who didn’t see the 2 minutes it took to mark an X on a ballot sheet as so desperately uncool.

This time we have Ricky Gervais leaping into the fray with this tweet :

“OK. I’m not telling you how to vote, but this is a fact. The only vote that will keep Theresa May out is a vote for @jeremycorbyn. Cheers”

Whilst not quite so devoid of acumen as Brand’s ill-conceived advice, Ricky’s more well meaning call to action could be equally as dangerous.

Essentially he IS telling his fans how to vote, and his less politically astute followers may not realise the pitfalls of such a binary choice.

The reality is that in many constituencies a vote for Corybn will not keep Theresa May out. The real fact is that it may do the exact opposite.

Sadly, even after repeated calls from other parties to enter into an ad-hoc alliance, Labour has resolutely refused to stand aside in any constituency. Whereas, for example, The Green Party has done so now in well over 30 seats.

In many of those seats the Libdems have a much better chance of winning than Labour. In some others the Greens or the SNP could have it in the bag. Voting Labour could then very well help the Tories by splitting the opposition.

By selling the idea that a vote for Labour is a vote against the Tories, no matter where you are, The Labour party and many of its supporters could be handing another victory to the Conservatives.

I’m not usually an advocate of tactical voting, but needs must when the devil drives, and I see the devil behind the eyes of the Conservatives. But tactical voting has to be just that. It doesn’t simply mean voting Labour as the only alternative.

Under our broken electoral system the only place votes really count are in marginal constituencies. Until we get electoral reform and a system of proportional representation, that won’t change. And let’s not forget that Labour supports our first past the post system just as much as the Tories do.

But even in a safe seat your vote can make a real difference. In 2015 UKIP gave the Conservatives a real run for their money. Even though they only won one seat in Parliament they put the Tories on notice that they were there, close behind, snapping at their heels.

The result was the delivery of a referendum on EU membership and the subsequent lurch to the right that followed in the footsteps of Theresa May. The Conservative manifesto, such as it is, represents one of the most extreme right outlooks for the UK for many generations. It makes Margaret Thatcher’s vision look like a tie-dyed, rose tinted call to action for the love generation. It has even been compared to the BNP’s warped ideological ramblings from the 1980s, and not without cause.

This can be directly traced to UKIP’s influence and its validation of ideals that make a hard line, right wing agenda more palatable to people who wouldn’t dream of dancing to the tune of more overtly hard right parties.

Likewise the nomination and election of Jeremy Corbyn can, to a large extent, be laid at the feet of the Green Party. There can’t be many Greens who haven’t noticed just how many of our clothes have recently been stolen by Corbyn’s party. And many of us are happy to be standing here in our underwear, glad that so many of our policies have been subsumed into the Labour manifesto. The sincerest form of flattery and all that.

But it has to be remembered that the rise of Green membership and our increasing success in both national and local elections is arguably a major driving force behind Labour’s newly rediscovered left wing credentials and a strong Green vote will help them keep that focus.

Voting for parties that may not be mainstream, and may not have a chance of winning is not a wasted vote. Even less so in constituencies where the seat is safer than a Roy Chubby Brown joke at a UKIP convention. A vote for the party that more closely reflects your views has a demonstrable impact on those do so to a lesser extent.

In the case of Labour, voting for them in constituencies they can’t win may not just prevent other parties from doing so, it also reinforces the status quo of a de facto two party state and removes Labour’s incentive to join an alliance or support electoral reform if, as is still being predicted, they don’t have a majority on June 9th.

Even if Labour were to win, there’s a very good chance that Corbyn could be unseated early on in his reign, by a parliamentary party who still don’t wholeheartedly support him. Without the threat of other left wing alternatives looking over their shoulders, it’s entirely possible that Labour will drift back to the same Tory-lite, neoliberalism that they were so conformable with last time.

So unless you have a realistic opportunity of a tactical vote in your constituency, just voting for the ‘other guy’ (or gal) won’t send any sort of message other than a validation of entrenched positions.

If you’re not going to see real change this time around. If your vote is only going to be lost in a sea of others who voted forlornly for the a close second, or the next best thing, use it to support those who will affect real change in the longer term by holding toes to the fire in the meantime.