Compass Decides: tactical voting in the general election
Over the last week we gave our members the decision as to whether Compass should advocate tactical voting in the forthcoming general election. For some the issue is obvious, a matter they have practised themselves for years. But for others, such a move hits hard against strongly held party loyalties. We do however have a very clear result.
The result of the ballot is that 72% (467) of members backed the call for tactical voting with only 14% (93) against. There were 14% (90) abstentions/spoilt papers. This is the biggest return we have ever had on an internal ballot - if you're not yet a member of Compass and would like a vote next time and a full say in the organisation: then join now.
This means that Compass is now calling on every progressive voter to back the Labour candidate wherever Labour can win. But if Labour stands no chance against the Tory candidate it makes sense that the best placed progressive candidate is backed by every progressive voter.
To help inform your decision we have produced a key marginal seats information table based on the 2005 general election results, so that in each marginal you can make an informed decision as to who the best placed progressive candidate is. Click here to download it.
The key issue now is denying the Tories outright power, but in doing so recognising that power is likely to be shared. However much the parties have converged on the same space, and however much people have been disappointed by Labour in government, clear differences still exist between progressives and the Tories. Clearly the best hope of progressive politics, of something better than this, lies first in keeping the Tories out. Only then can we start the process of building a new politics in which greater equality, sustainability and democracy take us on the journey to the good society.
In the last week of the campaign new mood music has to be created in which a progressive alliance can come together to keep alive the possibility of a progressive century. If we are now in an era of three party politics then the party that fails to build a partnership condemns itself to the wilderness. As well as emphasising policies to get its core vote out, like interest rate caps, uprating the minimum wage, a living wage for public sector workers and the fact that the state still matters, Labour must show it is ready to deal with a hung parliament and now willing to have a referendum on a a more proportional voting system than just AV.
Compass will continue to ensure it is our members that make the big calls - and there will no doubt be more ballots in the future. We know some will be disappointed with the result and we understand why. Compass sees the Labour Party as a necessary but insufficient vehicle in the creation of the good society. We know the progressive alliance we seek means working inside and outside of Labour - with all the creative tensions that position entails. Sometimes we will be too Labour for some tastes, other times not Labour enough - but it is the ability to be inside and out that gives us our strength. Bear with us, it is the right course.
Over the coming weeks and months there are likely to be more tough decisions Compass is going to face. But now all that matters is to turn out the progressive vote and avoid the divisions that gave the Tories power throughout the 1980s. If we can stop them winning they will implode for a generation. In a post crash world this is an election the centre-left should and must win. Use your vote wisely and campaign as never before to get others to do the same. Britain does need change - but it doesn't need the same old Tories.
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