How should we vote on Thursday? Want to know what I think? Firstly, if you have a TUSC candidate, vote TUSC. Easy as pie.
What if you don’t have a TUSC candidate? This is where it gets tricky. No one has come up with a simple formula. Every party tells you to vote for their candidate. But if they don’t have a candidate, then what?
There is a slogan going around at the moment: Don’t vote UKIP. This is based on the idea that they are a particularly nasty party. Anyone recall Chris Grayling‘s support for homophobic criminality or Dominic Grieve‘s description of Pakistani’s as endemically corrupt? The idea that a vote for Tories is the way to fight racism and homophobia is just bizarre. Let us examine what is being said here.
Don’t vote UKIP in the context of Thursday’s elections is an implicit call to vote for anyone else. This is a tragic strategic error on the part of the left, one that has to be abandoned asap.
This slogan is embraced by broadcasters at the BBC, SKY News and Channel Four News. How come? Isn’t it obvious? These broadcasters, editors and proprietors want the reelection of a Tory government. And UKIP stand in their way. They desperately need to sweep UKIP out of the way because Britain’s first-past-the-post system seems to rule out the Tories forming a majority government – probably not even a minority one – unless they force Tory voters back from UKIP within the next few months.
Who else benefits from the slogan: “Don’t vote UKIP!” Labour.
Ed Miliband and his outrageously Blairite front bench are desperate to save the first-past-the-post electoral system. The reason for that is they want to tell voters that voting to the left of Labour is a wasted vote. In order for this anti-democratic argument to carry any weight, Ed Miliband needs an electoral system that intimidates Labour’s core voter: vote for the candidate you most want risks you getting lumbered with the one you least want.
So Ed Miliband is happy to defend an electoral system that allows the BBC, SKY News, Channel Four News etc to stitch up every single democratic debate every day on Daily Politics, Newsnight, Today, World at One, Channel Four News, Skypapers, as well as our five yearly Prime Ministerial Debates. Ed Miliband is determined to limit voters choice next year between a potential Labour Prime Minister and a Tory Prime Minister who are opposed by, respectively, three quarters of the voters and four fifths of the voters. And that leaves out all the massive abstentions. Bring the latter into the picture as well (as these Tory broadcasters try to every time there is a strike ballot) and Britain’s Tory Establishment wants to force the electorate to suffer under a government that almost no one would vote for if they had a decent electoral system.
So, brothers and sisters, what do we do if we have no TUSC candidate? There is no single simple solution; no crystal clear slogan. However, the slogan I propose is to vote against all Britain’s Tory Parties, including UKIP. UKIP is a Tory party. In this respect it is no better than Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats. Not one vote for any of these Tories. Who do we vote for?
The good guys and gals have scattered to the winds in recent years. Having deserted Labour in droves following Tony Blair’s gutting of anything vaguely socialist, the left have attached themselves to a multitude of different parties that are broad churches, sufficiently broad to let them in. Some socialists haven’t gotten round to quit Labour: Owen Jones, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell. There are other socialists in the Labour Party at all levels. Just not that many of them these days.
As we witnessed during Andrew Neil’s interview with Natalie Bennett on Sunday Politics, their leadership doesn’t want to scare away its own right wing. This reminds us why any unambiguous support for the Greens is no more tenable than is calling for an unqualified vote for the Labour Party where there is no socialist party standing.
Speaking personally, I am in favor of leaving it to individual voters on the ground. Interpret “Don’t vote for any of the Tory Parties, including UKIP!” as best you can, using local information about the candidates on offer. If you as an individual think both the Labour candidate and Green candidate is not worth voting for because they are no better than any of the others, just as hopelessly right-wing, and pro-establishment, still attend the polling station. Still turn up to cast your vote. But if you can’t find anyone worth voting for, make your impact by spoiling your ballot paper. Protest against all these bastards.
Let’s make these elections a night for Britain’s Tory Establishment to remember for a very long time. Let it by the final nail in the coffin of first-past-the-post.