Which pro-European party should we vote for in the South West in the European elections? – a personal view/3
I have explained why people who supported the Independents in the local elections should vote for a pro-European party. But why vote for a party, not an Independent candidate, and which should we vote for?
We can’t vote for an Independent because the voting system is based on party lists for the whole South West region. There isn’t a good Independent candidate anyway.
I don’t think we should vote for Labour because it isn’t a clearly pro-European party, even if it isn’t a clearly pro-Brexit party either – that’s a simplification we don’t need. There are good pro-Europeans among the Labour candidates in the South West, and we will need the support of many Labour MPs to end Brexit. A Labour vote is vastly better than a Tory or Brexit Party vote, but it clearly isn’t the best option.
The pro-European options in the SW are the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and Change UK. From the point of view of ending Brexit, supporting remaining in the EU and supporting a confirmatory vote on any Brexit deal, these are all equally good options.
How to choose between them? Some advocate ‘tactical voting’. I am a fan of tactical voting when it matters. I would probably vote tactically for whichever candidate is best-placed to defeat the Brexit Party in the Peterborough by-election.
However in the European elections, two things matter. One is to get the maximum number of combined votes for the pro-European parties. For this purpose, it doesn’t matter if you vote Lib Dem, Green or CHUK, your vote will still count.
The other is to get the maximum number of pro-European MEPs elected. This is trickier to decide. In 2014, the Greens got an MEP in the SW, the Lib Dems didn’t. The Greens say this means they’re ahead. The Lib Dems made bigger advances in the local elections; they say they’re ahead. CHUK don’t have a track record.
As someone who has studied the voting system, I’d say it is quite possible that both the Greens and LDs can win seats; I don’t know about CHUK. There is a site which claims to show that it would be better to vote tactically for the LDs, but since it doesn’t explain its evidence and assumptions for recommending this, I treat it with caution.
Therefore I don’t think there is a clear tactical basis for preferring LDs or Greens. I’d say, vote for whichever party is closest to your beliefs. LDs, Greens, CHUK and many Labour supporters have marched together to stay in the EU. Let’s vote together, too, and not support any party using these elections to try to steal a march on their fellow European supporters.