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.
Who should dissatisfied Leave voters blame for the Brexit mess? The first of three posts on the European elections – please share
This is the first of three posts about the European elections on May 23rd, written in a purely personal capacity. They will be about: (1) Who should dissatisfied Leave voters blame? (2) Why Independent supporters should vote for a pro-European party. (3) Which party should you vote for? Is there a case for tactical voting?
WHO SHOULD DISSATISFIED LEAVE VOTERS BLAME?
Over half of East Devon voters supported Leave in 2016 (although 46 per cent did not). Now that Brexit has turned into a shambles, it’s no wonder that people who voted Leave are angry. You vote for something – the Government and MPs should make it happen, yes?
Yet Brexit was never going to be simple. As someone said recently, you’re unpicking 45 years of integration. You’re unpicking the foundations of our economy – millions of British jobs depend on Europe. You’re unpicking our society – making people from other countries who live in the UK feel insecure, so that many (including doctors and nurses) have left. You’re unpicking the Northern Ireland peace process – stirring up new violence in that country.
The first people who should be blamed are Brexit leaders like Boris Johnson who said it would be easy. It was never going to be easy. They lied when they said it would be. They knew about the economy. They knew about Ireland. But they ploughed on. Theresa May has made a huge mess of it, but Leavers like Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg set up this impossible situation in the first place.
Does Nigel Farage actually have any answers, rather than simple slogans?
Nigel Farage is now posing as the answer. But he was always egging on the Tories into more and more extreme positions. He helped create this mess. Now he has set up a new ‘Brexit Party’. One of its candidates in the South West thinks it’s all right to talk about raping women MPs.
If you’re thinking of voting for Farage, just ask yourself: Has he got an answer to how we get out of the Brexit mess? We know it’s complex – has he really explained how he will do it? Unless you honestly think that there is a thought-out solution there, not just the same kind of simple slogans that got us into this mess in the first place, steer clear of the Brexit Party.