I'm a 22-year-old, left wing resident of the Brighton Pavilion constituency and a graduate of Environmental Science, probably the very model of a Green voter, yet in the last General Election I voted Labour.
There are a number of reasons for the way I voted, not least being a firm family history of Labour voting, but one of the biggest reasons was my fear of splitting the left vote, and in doing so, allowing a Tory win in my constituency. As it turned out of course, I was one of the left voters in Brighton Pavilion fracturing away from the more popular party. So even if voting Green in Brighton Pavilion isn't splitting the left stock of votes at the constituency level, electing a Green MP to Westminster does split the left stock of seats in the Commons. But is that a problem?
There is the argument that a single Green MP is worth less in the Commons than an addition to a united party. On the other hand, there is the convincing argument that actually one Green MP is worth far more than just another Labour seat. Caroline Lucas adds diversity to the commons which is both democratically and intellectually healthy. If you are arguing in terms of democracy on a national scale, then it is hard to deny that there ought to be a Green voice in Westminster.
This debate then poses the question - am I voting for a voice in the commons, or am I voting for the party I want in government? The rules of the system, of course, dictate that we vote for our MP, our representative, but in reality, many of us vote for the party we want to rule. Voting this way would usually require asking yourself to make a choice between Tories or Labour, and if that was the decision I had to make, it would be an easy one. But to me, voting this way seems somewhat old fashioned. There can be little doubt these days that we operate in a multi party system and perhaps splitting the left isn't something I should worry about and actually what I should be concentrating on is electing the most left party I can.
For some reason, I feel loyal to a party that, when I think about it, died out around the time I was born. If Labour loyalists are honest with themselves, their party is no longer the left wing party it once was. With this in mind, I can't help but ask - is there any longer a left wing to split? In response to this, the argument can be posed that even if the Labour Party isn't currently left wing, we still might be better off sticking with the established Tory opposition and shaping it into the party we want from the inside, rather than giving up on it completely. But that, of course, requires a lot more than simply voting for them.
So do I vote again for a party whose values do not correspond with my own, and remain hopeful that Labour will shift back to the left? Or do I move on, vote for a party whose policies I more closely believe in, and hope for a radical shift in the national allocation of seats? With Labour, I resign to selecting a better of two evils - a method of selection that has been the order of the day for leftists for almost two decades now, which, in itself, is a depressing thought. And with the Greens, I vote for what is currently a single voice in a very large chamber, but a voice that is nonetheless reflecting my views.