As we come to the business end of the general election, all polls point to a hung parliament.
The major parties are all spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the consequences of not voting for them. I think the arguments go something like: vote Green get Tories, vote UKIP get Labour, vote SNP get Tories, vote Labour get SNP. Exhausting and confusing in equal measure.
The solution often offered is either to switch your vote from the smaller parties to your least worst main party to stop the bad guys from getting in, or vote swap with other marginals. In essence tactical voting.
The problem with tactical voting, is that it locks us into a system of voting for, and getting the least bad.
As an example, I live in the constituency of Shoreham, and it’s a UKIP target. If you were a left leaning voter in this constituency, tactical voting logic would actually mean voting Conservative, as in UKIP = worst, and the only other realistic party to win = Conservative = bad but less bad than UKIP. And even if you were a right leaning voter, tactical voting would encourage you to vote conservative rather than UKIP, to keep the Labour party out of government.
Tactical voting is a vote of fear, rather than belief, and actually helps maintain the status quo in the long term.
Voting for what you believe in might mean you don’t get what you want this time, but over 5,10, 30 years if more people vote positively for what they want, there is far more chance they will get it.
This is actually even more true now than before where the smaller parties might hold the balance of power, and help shape the political agenda.
The Labour party was also once a small party (ironically the Liberal party used to be a far bigger and hold power). It had no MP’s, then two, then 26, and that only happened because people believed in it and voted for it even thought they knew it couldn’t win.
So come Thursday, whatever your political persuasion, rather than using your vote to stop the country getting the government you don’t want, vote for what you believe in. In the long run you will stand a much greater chance of getting what you want.