Election ’17: Why I’ve Changed My Mind About Tactical Voting

Almost a month ago, S&C regular and local author Matt Wingett wrote on this website that he’d be voting tactically for the Liberal Democrats. He has since changed his mind and will now vote Labour. Here he explains why.

At the beginning of this election campaign, Labour was 20 points behind the Conservatives, we were told, and we were going to see an election wipe-out of progressive parties. The result? We would be dragged back to the 1950s and our country would be downgraded from Great Britain to Little Blyton, distrusting deviants, foreigners and lefties.

It was thus my duty at any cost to reduce the damage, however possible. And because of my continued rage about Brexit, it felt like my only option in Portsmouth South was to hold my nose and vote Liberal Democrat.

My view was that in Portsmouth South, Labour did not stand a chance – and thus the Lib Dems would garner my vote.

Things, however, have changed. One of them is to do with cucumbers, and the second is to do with the polls. To begin with the veg, a few weeks ago, my seething rage about the lies and sheer chicanery from domestic and foreign right-wing elements finally burst out. Standing in a veg shop, a fellow shopper picked up a cucumber and said stupidly, ‘I wonder if we’ll be able to get curvy cucumbers once we leave the EU?’

I asked him if he believed that we couldn’t, now. He replied that the EU had ‘banned’ curvy cucumbers.

Wrong. Utterly wrong. A tiny observation, but that cucumber was the blue touch paper for my pent-up rage, and he got it with both barrels smoking. I admit it, I was rude. I was aggressive, even. But it had to be said. So I thought. For me it was a cathartic moment. I realised that I could swear till I died, but Brexiteers would remain as stupid as they were before. We needed to get with the programme and find the best way forward in the mess we’re in. That didn’t necessarily equate to a Lib Dem vote.

Secondly, I had thought that a Labour vote would be a waste in this ward. But local polls show the Lib Dems in third place behind Labour. I’ve spoken to many people who say they have never voted before, but they are going to vote this time specifically because of Jeremy Corbyn, who speaks their language and cares about them. Then we have to ask how popular the Lib Dems will be in Portsmouth South. Yes, two of the wealthier wards voted Remain – but the other three voted Leave. The Lib Dem message is not going to cut through there. In those areas, the patriotic working class are going to have a choice between a resurgent Labour and the incompetent Tories.

The number one thing is to get the Tories out. It’s a shame that the progressive parties are going to split the leftist vote, but I have to make a decision… I look at the national polls, and things are moving Corbyn’s way. Locally, Stephen Morgan is popular and well liked as a councillor in Charles Dickens Ward.

Examining the evidence, I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t have to hold my nose and vote. I’ve changed my mind. I’m going to vote Labour, and I invite you to do the same.

Photography by Moshe Tasky.

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