Want to hand Brexiteers their P45 this Friday? Vote tactically!
PUBLISHED: 11:10 12 December 2019 | UPDATED: 11:10 12 December 2019
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JOHNNY LUCAS on the importance of voting tactically in the general election - even if it means holding your nose to do it.
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I have voted for the Liberal Democrats in every election that I could - or rather, every election that I had to. Because for the first two elections of my adult life, I was registered in Oxford West and Abingdon - a seat where the two contenders are Tories and the Liberal Democrats. Labour has never won it, and scrapes in with less than a third of the Liberal Democrat vote.
I didn't relish voting Lib Dem. Their years of complicity in austerity and broken promises on tuition made me see red in more ways than one. But the thought of my own complicity in propelling a Tory into power by blindly voting Labour made me stop, take a breath, hold my nose, and vote for Layla Moran.
And in 2017, it worked. The seat swung from blue to yellow, and was a snapshot of the success we had in depriving the Tories of their majority. I felt vindicated in my decision, but that didn't make it any easier. Ironically, the very choice that helped deny the Tories a seat was made harder by well-meaning Labour members who castigated me for what they saw as breaking a picket line.
I exaggerate - but only slightly. No one called me a scab or a traitor, but I saw real hurt in the eyes of friends who believed I had somehow let the side down. Back then I didn't have the courage to explain why I thought they were wrong, but the stakes are now too high to stay silent.
Right now, we need all the allies we can get. Boris Johnson could easily win - in no small part thanks to his own ally, Nigel Farage, who tactically split the Remain vote in the southwest by not standing candidates in Conservative seats. Because of his tactics, those seats will stay blue, and there's little we can do about it. But what we can do take seats off Johnson elsewhere - like Esher and Walton, Dominic Raab's seat.
If the thought of making Dominic Raab unemployed on Friday morning doesn't fill you with joy, perhaps focus on the sense of dread you'll feel if he keeps his job because of wasted Labour votes. And then magnify that feeling to encompass a solid sea of blue, unbroken by the spots of yellow which would otherwise have put a serious dent in Johnson's hopes for re-election.
Some of us are lucky enough to live in a seat where the party we most strongly identify with has the best chance of winning it. It's an enviable position to be in - their votes directly contribute to a stark and intuitive fight between red and blue. But many of us aren't so lucky.
In marginal seats, the fight for Labour voters - especially those voting for the first time - is difficult. Young people especially want to know that their vote matters - and in marginal seats, it really, really does. For our Future's Sake, the youth and student-led campaign I work for, has been encouraging young people all around the country to vote tactically.
We recommend this site for finding out which party to lend your support for - it collates all the others and gives you the average.
Voting tactically isn't easy, and I'm not pretending it is. But if you really care about winning this election - or, at the very least, not losing it entirely - you will do it, because it's right.
- Johnny Lucas is a campaign with For Our Future's Sake, an anti-Brexit youth organisation.
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