I was going to write a post about today’s election, but then Tom went ahead and wrote a much better one than I could. Specifically, on the dilemma between voting with your head and voting with your heart:
…my constituency of Poplar & Limehouse is a Labour-held Tory target, and a combination of boundary changes and demographic shifts over the past five years – plus a dash of the inevitable George Galloway sideshow – have put the seat firmly in play. I look at my MP’s voting record, and it reads like a greatest hits setlist of New Labour’s biggest fuckups. I desperately don’t want yet another five years where Labour can abandon principle after principle, safe in the knowledge that no matter what, the prospect of something worse will always send me scurrying back. And yet, as the polls swing rightwards in the last few days, every other consideration starts to become dwarfed by that tiny, nagging possibility that it’ll be my one crucial vote that gives the Tories that one crucial seat, and…
The curse of the first past the post system rears its ugly head here – how some votes are very much less equal than others. My suggestion is that only if a two-horse race is really, really tight in your seat and you feel very, very strongly about not having one of the likely candidates as your MP, then hold your nose and vote tactically. But only if the situation is really, really tight. Else vote with your heart. It might not win, but every vote for a party you truly believe in is another reason in the argument for a more proportional system. Voting for one of the mainstream parties will only make their representation in Parliament look proportional than it should be.
Vote early, vote often is the adage, but also make sure your vote’s informed. If you’re not sure about the candidates then check out their election leaflets over at The Straight Choice, and find out more about their background at either Your Next MP and They Work or You. Have fun and see you the other side – or if you’re staying up then chat with me on Twitter as I’ll be up all night watching the results come in.