For the first time in my General Election voting life, I do not know for sure who is going to be elected in the seat where I reside. In 2005 I knew the Tories were going to win the Isle of Wight, in 2010 the Clegg bounce had just tailed off so I knew that the Tories were going in win Southend West. In both 2015 and 2017, the Tories were going to win Rochford & Southend East. Now as we go to the polls in 2019, I live in yet another constituency and this one is all to play for – Bolton West.
This one is a straight Labour v Conservative marginal. Labour won in 2010 by 92 votes but lost it again in 2015 by less than 1,000 and came within 1,000 of getting it back in 2017. So it is fair to say it should be one of the more interesting contests of the whole election.
As a Lib Dem member I should be bound to vote Lib Dem but I’m also a pragmatist so I could vote for the least worse option of the two. This though is where we have a problem, I can’t at this point in with any semblance of good conscience hold my nose and vote for Labour and this is something I know plenty of Remainiacs struggle to understand.
The Tory is Chris Green, who is a rabid Brexiteer and in my opinion is a fucking asshole. I consider myself socially liberal but economically slightly conservative so in a perfect storm I could in theory vote for a moderate Tory candidate and party. This lot aren’t that and Green is a great example of the type of idiot who wants to drag the party to the margins. Heck he introduced in just his first year of office a Private Members Bill about Voter ID. What a tit.
So yeah, fair to say in this current guise Green and the Tories aren’t even on my radar.
Then we come to the Labour Party and where they are today. If Yvette Cooper was their leader I’d have a real decision to make. If Chuka Ummuna was still a member and their leader, I’d have a real decision to make. If David Miliband had won the leadership contest in 2015 and was their leader, I’d have a real decision to make. I think you get my drift.
My problem is Jeremy Corbyn is their leader and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him (which isn’t very far as I’m rather weak). His vision for this country is to go back 40 years. On the biggest issue of the day he doesn’t have a strong opinion and his own advisers are split on what to do about Brexit. His economic plans aren’t tax and spend but spend and spend.
I haven’t even mentioned his lack of desire to address the antisemitic issue that seems rife within his party. The fact that Momentum seem to want to takeover and drag the party away from electability and towards pure socialism. The fact that the bullying within the Labour party is a real issue. The fact that the party rather than modernising under Corbyn, seems to be going backwards and finally the fact that in my opinion, they would prefer to be pure but in opposition than not be ideologically perfect but in power.
That final point to me is a big thing. We all want the world to be shaped in the guise of our own ideologies but to say it is all or nothing rather than small incremental steps to me is an absolute shower.
For this blog post I actually looked up Julie Hilling who is the Labour candidate here. She has been spamming my Facebook timeline with sponsored ads for weeks so I had seen a bit. Looking through her twitter though and the only Labour MPs she ever mentions are strong Corbyn supporters. So she is clearly on that wing of the party and I’ve gone back two months and done a search for ‘Brexit’ and ‘Referendum’ and found nothing on her timeline. So evidently she doesn’t want to take a public position about the biggest issue of the day.
Therefore I can’t vote tactically and this is a problem for Labour. I’m just one person but I’m exactly the type of voter they need to persuade in seats such as this to hold my nose and vote for them. I’m a strong Remainer and passionate liberal but also someone who thinks if Boris Johnson gets a majority then an awful lot of bad things will happen. Stopping that scenario is a must in my opinion but this current guise of the Labour Party isn’t that much better.
Come 12 December I’ll tootle off down to my local primary school and vote for the Lib Dem candidate Rebecca Forrest (I should at this point note that I know her and am friends with her) and I genuinely believe of the four candidate/party combinations that her/Lib Dem is without a doubt my first choice. Yet knowing maths all it will do is help the party to a strong third place in all likelihood.
This is why tactical voting gets so much air time these days, so many seats are just two-way barring anything strange. Many people want to help shape their area and vote for the person/party they want but know under the FPTP system, that often isn’t likely so they have to go for the least worst option out of the two that can win. That is just a sucky position to be in but here we are.
No doubt plenty of Lib Dems will be trying to squeeze Labour supporters in Con/LD seats and I’m here stating that despite theoretically being open to the possibility, I just can’t do so. I have no doubt that seems hypocritical and I get that. For me I just don’t think another Corbynista MP is all that much worse to a hard Brexiteer Johnson supporter.
We all know that another Labour leader with a more sensible approach to Europe, the Economy and vision for the future of the United Kingdom would be doing oh so much better in the polls. Yet we sit here today with Corbyn (and his supporters) putting all their chips on Red 10 rather than hoping for a small win just on Red. All that put together puts off potential tactical voters like myself and like we saw in the three constituency polls in London last week that asked LD and Labour voters to think tactically, more Lib Dem voters would struggle to support this version of Labour than vice versa and that is a problem I don’t think Labour can solve any time soon.
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