The Art of Voting Tactically

Opinion and Debate Editor | Niamh Houston

Following Boris Johnson’s failure to gain support for his proposed Brexit strategy, the current UK Prime Minister has called for a general election in the hopes of gaining a ruling majority of the Conservative party. With more seats behind Johnson in parliament, he would be much more likely to get his deal approved and in turn ‘Get Brexit done’ according to the new Conservative campaign slogan for the upcoming election. Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple. It is not a matter of getting Brexit done as soon as possible, it is about securing the best deal in order to minimise the inevitable and damaging impact that these decisions will have on the future of the United Kingdom. In a recent speech given by the soon to be former European Council President Donald Tusk, when considering if things could be turned around at this point Tusk simply provided the sentiment ‘don’t give up’. It is vital at this point to maintain hope, and to use this to fuel action.  

It is clear to see that even three years on from the initial Brexit referendum, people have not yet given up. On the 19th of October, the Final Say march organised by People’s Vote was reported by organisers to have had ‘up to a million people’ in attendance said the BBC. Whilst public pressure has undoubtedly had an effect on how MP’s have chosen to vote in crucial decisions throughout the process, we are at a political standpoint with the general election being the only visible route of escape. For those who have not given up, it seems that voting tactically may be their best bet. In this scenario, tactical voting would be employed to prevent a Conservative majority; for example, in a majority Conservative constituency where Liberal Democrats are second and Labour are third, a Labour supporter may choose to vote tactically by voting for Liberal Democrats. According to Stephen Fisher, a professor of political sociology at Oxford University, tactical voting ‘played a big role in delivering a landslide for Labour’s Tony Blair in 1997 and it’s been a staple of elections since then’.

If you want to know how best to make your vote count, then there are numerous resources such as https:///www.remainunited.org/ and https://tactical.vote/ which can help guide you on how to best vote tactically within your constituency. Creator of Remain United, business woman Gina Miller recently stated that ‘In the UK’s imperfect, unrepresentative and unfair first-past-the-post electoral system, there is only one answer and one last chance to stop the hard Brexit of the Johnson withdrawal agreement and political declaration documents – and that is for young people to vote tactically’. However you choose to vote, please ensure that you turn up to the polling stations on the 12th of December and make sure your vote counts – it’s all of our futures at stake.

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