Tactical voting is of interest to the major parties because it maintains their dominance over the political scene.
There is always ‘an issue’ at each election which the major parties use to persuade voters into voting tactically for them. This squeezes out the minor parties and this is seen in the UK and USA where there is effectively two-party politics.
In the current General Election on 12 December 2019 the main issue is Brexit and so the major parties are using tactical voting to persuade voters either to keep the Tories in Government or to remove them.
Tactical voting has produced a squeeze most noticeably on the Brexit Party but also on Remain parties where alliances have been formed on a quid pro quo basis.
Tactical voting, by definition, draws voters into voting for the two main parties and therefore it perpetuates the two-party running of the country.
The two-party system has been declining over the past decades, and thus the major parties promote tactical voting as an attempt to maintain their hegemony, saying, for example, “only the Conservative Party can deliver Brexit”. This is not true. If the Conservative Party had stood down to allow the Brexit Party to contest and win the Labour heartlands then Conservative and Brexit MPs could and would deliver Brexit. This mantra is an attempt to squeeze the Brexit Party through tactical voting, and it will work because the public is beguiled into thinking that tactical voting is ‘intelligent voting’. Rather, it is ‘second-best’ voting – keeping out whom you do not want rather than voting for whom you do want. If this prevails, there would be no other political parties.
The two-party hegemony is perpetuated by the first-past-the-post (FPTP) system, which produces such skewed results that not only is FPTP being called into question, but it has already begun to be replaced by the D’Hondt system of voting in the Scottish Parliament.
The democratic deficit is now so acute that 4 million people voting Brexit failed to have one MP representing them in the House of Commons while 23,000 voters in the Orkney and Shetland constituency and 15,000 in the Western Isles each have an MP representing them.
Thus first-past-the-post and tactical voting perpetuate the two-party system of government and many voters are completely disenfranchised by such a system. This is leading to frustration and rising social unrest in the country, and Brexit itself is a manifestation of a popular revolt against the undemocratic EU institutions controlling the legislation of this country.
First-past-the-post leads to ‘the wasted vote’ mantra. This mantra is another method to perpetuate the two-party hegemony.
Smaller parties, such as the Lib Dems and the Greens, pay no attention to these mantras. They vote for their party out of conviction. If they were to listen to the ‘tactical voting’ and ‘wasted vote’ mantras their parties would go out of existence. SNP voters know that they cannot have a majority in the House of Commons, but they still vote by their convictions to have representation in the House of Commons.
It is time for Christians to understand this and to vote according to their convictions.
There are ways to waste your vote, particularly under the D’Hondt system and any proportional representation system, which is why those involved with political parties know how to maximise the system. The SNP understood this best and utilised it to gain control of the Holyrood Parliament although the D’Hondt system was designed to prevent this! The pundits failed to factor in voter apathy and ignorance of the system, and the SNP capitalised upon it. This is why Christians should ask the Christian Party to explain to them how to maximise their vote in Holyrood and local council elections. Meanwhile, for the first-past-the-post General Elections they need to vote according to their convictions or they will simply perpetuate the hegemony of the status quo. How many Christians are prepared to say that voting for Christ and Christian policies is ‘a wasted vote’?
Jesus said: ‘Whosoever, therefore, shall be ashamed of Me and of My words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed when He shall come in the glory of His Father with the holy angels’.Markk 8:38
21 Sep 2018: those who think that religion and politics don’t mix.
3 Dec 2018: Tony Blair concedes that first-past-the-post makes it difficult for a third party to emerge in British politics.
9 Feb 2019: why we need Christian Voices in public life.
4 May 2019: the Scottish Christian Party.
11 Nov 2019: Christians and political party loyalty.
20 Nov 2019: Nigel Farage: describes current politics as “a binary choice between two minority parties.”
12 Dec 2019: Nigel Farage’s transformation of the Brexit Party into the Reform Party plans to target first-past-the-post for electoral reform. Almost all parties except the Tories want reform and even Labour, with its failure to recover in Scotland and its devastating collapse in today’s General Election, may join the call for reform.
15 Dec 2019: Nigel Farage: “first-past-the-post drives people into binary choices whether they like it or not.”
19 Dec 2019: the Tories may be forced into reconsidering first-past-the-post as the only way to neuter the SNP hegemony in Scotland that relies on it, but conversely they may hope that the binary choice will drive the anti-SNP vote towards the Tories in Scotland in 2021 and thereby the recovery of the Tories in Scotland. However, Sir Bernard Jenkins confirmed that tactical voting is better for delivering decisive Government and he disagreed with proportional representation, showing an unsurprising lack of appetite for change from those in power.