Tactical voting is a tricky little thing at the best of times, but with this snap election, it has provided the savvy voter with an even worse quandary.
Personally, I have always been against it. There is one thing you can be certain of in elections; nothing is ever certain. Polls mean nothing, projections mean nothing, and it could be argued in many seats, your vote means next to nothing thanks to our unproportionate system here in the UK. Therefore, the pretence for tactical voting is utterly flawed. The point of a tactical vote is to try and ensure the least worse outcome, but it only works if everyone votes in this way - uniting against a common enemy. And with enemies like May and Trump, I am pretty much ready to try anything.
To me, voting with your heart has always felt far less risky than trying to vote with your head when there are such a large number of complex variables at play. If you vote tactically, and you don't get what you want, you have wasted your vote. If you vote for who you truly want, and they don't get in, at least that party can see where their support lies and where to target their resources next time around thus giving them a better chance of success. This is especially important for smaller parties such as The Green Party, and now the Liberal Democrats. The ironic thing is, tactical voting has been advocated for by several side-lined groups in every election I can remember, and these groups are more likely to be aligned to the outlying parties that really need your vote. But never before has it gotten as much wind beneath it as it does now we approach the storm of June 8th.
This is because smaller parties are now advocating for it. The Green Party have got more coverage in the media this time around, due to their campaign to form a progressive alliance with Labour, the Lib-Dems and 'other' progressive parties, and they have already formed one with The Women's Equality Party. The others are proving a little harder to crack. We have already seen Green candidates stand aside to allow labour a fighting chance in many areas, and this has happened in my own constituency - thus making the decision of head or heart for me, for which I am quite grateful! The idea seems to sit well with most left leaning voters, and it is undeniable that if all the parties of the left of centre (with Corbyn in charge, I can include Labour in that thankfully), united against the Tories we stand a better chance of seeing June be the end of May. Such a government would also be more reflective of the populations diverse views, which is a hard thing to achieve within the first past the post electoral system.
However, we have little experience of coalitions in this country (let's face it the last one wasn't exactly a success), and such a government is bound to be fraught with compromise, which will mean the diehard members and supporters of each party may be left disgruntled. Here though, is where we must look at the bigger picture; would you rather live through another five years of Tory rule; dismantling our NHS, increasing the rich/poor divide, eroding our human rights etc. or, have a group of people in charge who put people and planet on a level playing field with profit? In most elections, it is the little things that matter, but on June 8th, it really is a matter of left vs right, rich vs everyone else, moral vs immoral. We haven't had this polarisation in our politics for many years, and it is petrifying, but also very exciting. It has dampened the fire of apathy that has roared for too long. The opportunity for real change is finally here, as opposed to more of the same centrist drivel.
Before the announcement of a snap election, I was very much of the mind that all you can rely on is yourself to do the right thing and vote for the candidate and the party that best represents you and your world view. You certainly can't rely on the media, the pollsters, the pundits, or anyone else. I believed in simply voting for the party that reflects your ethics and prioritises your priorities. Although I still believe this, these special circumstances have led me to believe that tactical voting, voting with my head, not my heart, may just be the best thing to do this time around.