Vote Liberal Democrat – Get the Tories

I’ve been saying it for months now. I’ve said it to Tim as well. You’re taking a big risk of getting the Tories if you want to arrange a protest vote campaign. That’s exactly what Lynton Crosby did with John Howard and it got him elected. If you don’t believe me when I say that if you vote Lib Dem you get the Conservatives, believe the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Charles Kennedy himself (jpeg file) rel=”tag”>politics

46 comments ↓

#1 Tim Ireland on 02.28.05 at 3:13 pm

Well, if you don’t want to risk it, you know what has to be done, Tom…

#2 Chris Lightfoot on 02.28.05 at 3:36 pm

Alright then, who should we vote for if we want to retain civil rights like habeas corpus?

#3 Guido Fawkes on 02.28.05 at 5:27 pm

As opposed to Vote Labour get Blair?

#4 Edward on 02.28.05 at 5:27 pm

I think we can both agree – just don’t vote Liberal!!

#5 Bob on 02.28.05 at 7:27 pm

Of course if you vote Labour, you have MPs like yourself voting (or acting as a teller) for guillotine “timetable” motions to curtail debate on important legislation like the Prevention of Terrorism Bill. At least the Tories wouldn’t slap a guillotine on every piece of government legislation that comes before the Commons.

#6 Peter Kenyon on 03.01.05 at 12:09 am

Come off it Tom, we all know that if every Labour MP who went through the lobby in support of the government last night had a scrap of independent thinking grey matter between their ears, the government would have been defeated – and deservedly so. Instead we have witnessed another stomach-churning display of supine loyalty to the detriment of parliamentary democracy in general and democratic socialism in particular.
Why not do the decent thing now, resign as a Whip and join our campaign to rebuild mass membership, promote active participation and strength party and parliamentary democracy?

It will only cost you £12 a year – affordable even on a backbencher’s salary.

#7 Ben on 03.01.05 at 2:05 am

It seems to me like voting for the liberal democrats would be like voting for Ralph Nader in the US, ultimately–its a protest against the other choices. It seems to me that no one anywhere favors radical changes right now. Except maybe in Lebanon, and they really need it.

#8 Bloggerheads on 03.01.05 at 9:37 am

Backing Blair; big and dangerous, small and insignificant

Tom Watson – Vote Liberal Democrat – Get the Tories Guido has the best response so far; As opposed to Vote Labour get Blair? This same line of thought has prompted quite a few comments over at Harry’s Place. We…

#9 irritant on 03.01.05 at 10:57 am

Let’s get it clear Tom, In 1997 I voted Labour and we ended up with Thatcher in drag*. If people vote Labour again, we get more of the same. If the Labour majority is cut down, there is a real possibility of Blair being forced to listen to others.

I’m not anti-Labour but Blair has alienated himself from a large swathe of the population and the voting research backs this up. Up to now the only people who could move him were MP’s like yourself. As the MP’s haven’t done it, it’s going to cost you in the election. Don’t start blaming us for you and your colleagues inability address this.

*According to Andrew Rawnsley, we now have a PM who is now so far from Labour party he is barely on the edge of it. I think Peter Rentoul from the Independent in the last fortnight described Blair (I think it was) a Thatcherite. John Kampfner calls him a Christian Democrat.

#10 Chicken Yoghurt on 03.01.05 at 11:04 am

As Gary Younge said: “There is a word that covers uncritical support, non-negotiable loyalty and blind faith. It is called fundamentalism.”

Fool me once, Tom etc.

#11 tom on 03.01.05 at 12:36 pm

Guys,

Love you all but get real. Close your eyes for 60 seconds. Think of yourself with that can of beer watching election night special on the BBC that we all believe in.

Imagine, Michael Howard actually winning the general election.

If you protest vote you make that prospect more likely. You will be responsible for Michael Howard running the country. And if he does, I will set up a website entitled “we’re backing bloggerheads”. Then I’ll raise money to put Tim’s home phone number in every edition of the Guardian. Then I’ll run a campaign entitled “save Hackney Labour party from Peter Kenyon” and a web portal called “fax your protest voter” ;-)

Elections are the one time the tables are turned. You have the power, not me or Tony Blair. Don’t throw it away.

#12 Tim Ireland on 03.01.05 at 1:33 pm

So if Labour lose the next election, it won’t be Tony Blair’s fault, it will be mine?

I just want to clarify that point before I head off into StephenGreenLand…

#13 tom on 03.01.05 at 3:06 pm

No need to pack the family into the camper van just yet. Nobody else will know its your fault other than me.

#14 Will on 03.01.05 at 3:16 pm

In a first-past-the-post system, it’s never going to be as simple as that. Voting LibDem in a LibDem seat or a LibDem/Tory or even a LibDem/Labour marginal isn’t going to help Howard.

It could make a difference in a Tory/Labour marginal. That’s what tactical voting’s all about.

#15 Peter Kenyon on 03.01.05 at 3:23 pm

Tom

The balance of opinion in these comments would suggest that the majority think you should get real. However, lets not squabble over a straw poll. The key issue is between Labour and its current leader. I like many other Labour activists will be campaigning for a Labour victory based on Labour policies. There is the rub for the tactical voters, whom I am emphatically opposed to as Tim and Clive will confirm.

So in that regard I am your ally. Whilst flattered by the thought of a website dedicated to Save the Hackney Labour Parties from myself, I fear that is another example of flawed thinking on your part.

Psst, we are both on the same side in wanting a decisive Labour victory, though we may differ about who should take the credit.

#16 What You Can Get Away With on 03.01.05 at 4:01 pm

Do you believe in Blairies?

Remember kids, if you don’t vote Labour then the nasty evil Tories will get in power and privatise everything that’s not tied down attack civil liberties attack refugees for political points launch war after war after war do something really nasty we…

#17 irritant on 03.01.05 at 4:17 pm

I really wish you didn’t raise this topic Tom.

Not a single thing you have said remotely challneges what we have said. Especially my own views. What do you really expect us to do? Vote Labour and get Tory again?? Or do something different and lessen the chances?

I would have been happy with a Social Democrat or even a Centrist government. At least then we would have had a leader that reflected the values of most of the population with him. The thing is he is not only outlfanking the Tories, he’s outlcassing them.

#18 underblog on 03.01.05 at 4:28 pm

There’s nothing that gets my goat* more than the “Vote Lib Dem, Wake up with a Tory” line. It just makes me even more determined not to vote Labour. Not only have the labour party failed to introduce fairer votes for general elections, they are attempting to use that failure, and the continuing undemocratic nature of the system, to blackmail people into voting for them. It’s absolutely dispicable.

Well Tom, we’re calling your bluff. I’m going to be voting tory in my labour/conservative marginal, in order to manipulate the numbers in the commons in a way that is favourable to the Liberal Democrats. And frankly, I think a tory government with a small majority would be better than the situation at the moment. The tories would never have gotten away with top-up fees, or Iraq.

*It took a real effort not to swear in this comment.

#19 Phil Hunt on 03.01.05 at 4:59 pm

I agree with underblog’s sentiments, although I will not be voting Tory, I’ll be voting Lib Dem.

But if I was faced with a choice of Tories calling themselves Tories and Tories calling themselves New Labour, I’d choose the Tories call themselves Tories — at least they are honest about who they are.

If Labour lose this election because of Lib Dems not voting for them, it’ll be their own fault for reneging on their manifesto promise to have a referendum on PR.

#20 Robin Grant on 03.01.05 at 6:25 pm

Tom – I too would vote Tory in a Tory/Labour marginal in order to help the LibDem position. Your other commenters have put the reasons much more eloquently than I could.

You’re playing a game of chicken with the electorate, and you’ve got to wonder, who’s going to blink first. Are you feeling lucky?

As Tim hinted in his first comment, if you’re really worried about the Tories getting in, you know what action to take.

However, props to you for leaving the comments intact…

#21 norman on 03.01.05 at 8:55 pm

I agree with underblog’s view as well. I voted BNP in the euro elections last year but this year I will be joining underblog and vote tory in order to get rid of blair……

#22 A Cooke on 03.01.05 at 9:44 pm

Sorry, Tom, don’t buy your thesis. A vote for the Lib Dems is a vote for a party that is closest to my views these days – and is also the best prospect for electoral reform – another broken promise, no?

And the threat of ending up with Tories is well weakened when the ‘good’ alternative is old rictus-grin. I won’t be voting Labour while he’s in charge.

Nice blog though. Well done.

#23 Tim Ireland on 03.01.05 at 10:41 pm

“However, props to you for leaving the comments intact…”

Seconded.

#24 James Graham on 03.02.05 at 12:35 am

Tom has included a nice little jpeg, but forgot to link to the actual article, possibly because it isn’t quite as helpful as he would like you to believe.

So here it is: http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/politics.cfm?id=211942005

#25 Backword Dave on 03.02.05 at 1:21 am

Tom, I’ll vote for whoever supports habeus corpus, respect for Parliament, and has an elected cabinet (and not Alistair Campbell). If you can persuade my lapdog MP to tell Tony to screw himself, I’ll vote for him. Really. We need MPs who can think.

If Tony falls under a bus, I might reconsider. So if you’re on the campaign trail, watch those elbows! Claiming the dole is miserable. You don’t want to be there the day after the election telling some faceless bureaucrat that your skills amount to sucking up to the Duce or whatever you call him.

#26 Chicken Yoghurt on 03.02.05 at 9:21 am

I’m reminded of the stick Ralph Nader got after Gore lost the election in 2000 – the Greens were blamed for splitting the Democrat vote and letting Bush in. It wasn’t Nader’s fault – it was Gore’s fault for not galvanising his potential vote.

And so the same here – we’re being accused of plotting to split the Labour vote and letting the Tories in like the Labour Party is some poor innocent bystander.

Tom, it’s not our fault if we’re looking elsewhere.

#27 Bloggerheads on 03.02.05 at 9:27 am

It’s all good news, folks!

Independent – Peers line up to condemn ‘terrifying’ house arrest plan Guardian – Muslims face increased stop and search BBC – Immigrant abuse claims examined Take a close look at that last story and then ask yourself why The Sun…

#28 Phil on 03.02.05 at 9:56 am

I don’t know about all the tactical voting stuff but I for one can’t vote Labour again. I have a brilliant constituancy MP but I’m not supporting him.

I can’t vote for the party of War. We’ve had one most years that Labour have been in power recently and I suspect a future Labour administration under Blair would continue this record. Soon Tony will run out of regular army for his foreign adventures and need to start conscription.

Of course the time taken to stop foxhunting, lack of real action on smoking (Thanks for the cash Bernie), privatisation of everything (In a years time anyone want to bet letters still go to Scotland), lack of serious interest in public transport infrastructure, over centralisation of everything (devolving power while demanding control from London doesn’t count) and fixation with pulling EVERYTHING into London doesn’t help either.

#29 James T on 03.02.05 at 10:49 am

This sounds familiar…

If don’t invade Iraq and Saddam launches “teh WMD” it’ll be your fault.

#30 Bob Piper on 03.02.05 at 11:17 am

Well, it will probably come as no surprise… but I will be voting Labour to get a Labour Government. Not because I like Blair, nor would I urinate on him if he was on fire. The fact is Blair is a classic Liberal. Look at the founding fathers (and Shirley Poppins) of the SDP and Blair is one of them. But why would anyone who doesn’t like Blair, with his shifting sand politics and opinion poll policies, actually vote for a Party full of them? So… I’ll vote Labour for those who gave us the minimum wage, 77,000 more nurses, 20,000 more doctors, smaller classroom sizes, a £35million Capital Programme in Education compared to the £600,000 in the last year of a Tory Government. But I won’t be voting for Blair… and we’ll keep up the pressure to ditch him. And the realpolitik is… so will most people.

#31 Bloggerheads on 03.02.05 at 11:56 am

On the subject of quoting out of context

(shakes head) (puts head in hands) (begins) Tom’s recent Vote Liberal Democrat – Get the Tories post links to this JPEG, which provides us with the shcok admission from Charles Kennedy that “voting Lib Dem could help the Conservatives”… but…

#32 Tom P on 03.02.05 at 12:11 pm

Sorry Tom, but once bitten twice shy. Come to think of it… twice bitten, thrice openly hostile.

Firstly, the old ‘Vote Lib Dem get Tory’ line is simply scaremongering, much like Blair & Clarke’s terrorism claims. The labour majority is so huge, and Howard such an unlovable individual that there’s no way the Tories are going to get in this time. Even if they did, attempting to blame us poor saps who’ve been subjected to the increasingly totalitarian and right-wing policies of this government won’t be to blame. It will be good men like you who stood by and did nothing as the Labour Party, cut free form its roots by the reforms of the mid-90s, lurched down into the abyss of far-right politics, trailing supporters in its wake.

Secondly, how can you expect anybody to vote for a party that plays the race card at every opportunity and is turning Britain into a police state, simply to keep out a party that could not possibly be any worse on any of these issues. Yes, the social record has been surprisingly good when considered in the round, with many areas improved that the Tories would simply have made worse (even though the party is too afraid to trumpet them for fear of appearing, yâ??know, left wing), however I cannot see how you can say that our liberty is a price worth paying for this, particularly when it is a price we need not pay.

How well do you know scrotum face Clarke? How well do you know the next home secretary, or the one after that? How about the one after that or the one in 30 years time? How dare you put our liberty in the hands of someone that you donâ??t even know exists yet? What if the Tories do get in and Clarkeâ??s house arrest bill is on the statute books. Would they take it off? Would Davies use it sparingly? How do you know? This is just the latest affront to our liberty, however it is the greatest, and has ended all hopes I had of returning to the party in the foreseeable future.

I have been Labour throughout my life, but now Labour isnâ??t me, or anyone I know or would ever wish to know. While Evil Bambi and his cabal are in charge, I can not vote Labour, and I will not vote Labour, and I know that there are vast numbers who feel the same as me.

Sorry Tom, but Labour needs a smaller majority to save it from Blair.

#33 underblog on 03.02.05 at 12:17 pm

“I voted BNP in the euro elections last year but this year I will be joining underblog and vote tory in order to get rid of blair.”

“Norman”, if you really are a BNP voter, you are scum. If however, as is far more likely, you are a Blair-supporter (Zack, is that you?), planning to muddy the waters by associating anyone who wishes to register a protest vote against Blair with far-right racists, you are scum.

#34 James Graham on 03.02.05 at 12:23 pm

What I don’t understand is why the National Co-ordinator of the Labour Campaign for First Past the Post is so concerned about this particular facet of the very electoral system that he thinks is so wonderful?

You can’t tell people to support a system while shouting that it comes up with utterly perverse results.

Are you about to defect to LCER Tom? :o )

#35 Owen on 03.02.05 at 1:29 pm

Will not be voting labour this time due to the increasing presidential role of Mr Blair within the party. I vehemently oppose the Terrorist Bill this smacks too much of MacCarthyism. Should we surrender civil freedoms so hard won so easilly then the terrorist has destabilised our society more than any bombing campaign ever could. We put up with (and continue to) 40 years of terrorism, including main land bombing from the IRA I do not believe Al Queda more credible or capable than the IRA. So why?

#36 Cllr Stuart Bruce on 03.02.05 at 2:39 pm

You just have to look at Leeds to see the evidence that voting Lib Dem means you get the Tories. The Lib Dems and Green have jumped right into bed with the Tories and are now pursuing Conservative policies. Many ‘protest voting’ ex-Labour voters are sick at the result, but what is more surprising is that many genuine Lib Dem/Green voters are swinging to Labour as a result of what they see as a betrayal by their councillors.

#37 irritant on 03.03.05 at 3:41 am

Owen: After attending quite a few talks/seminars on Al Quaeda, I’m left with the impression that they are no longer in the position to do much of anything.

That doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a threat from other Islamist groups. But those threats would not have ocurred if the UK didn’t invade Iraq.

I would be surprised if I’m the only one who have noticed striking similarities between TB’s WMD/15 minutes claim and his most recent assertion that “several hundred” individuals in Britain who are planning terrorist attacks (Times, Feb 28).
The striking thing about the information in the public domain used to justify people who will suffer imprisonment in thier own homes is that it’s similarity to that used prior to internment in Northern Ireland in the 70′s.
The security services information on Iraq have been disproven so I would be very skeptical on relying on thier information on what will be in effect be a decentralised version of internment.

Don’t forget TB has misled the public on various issues (Iraq and the 15 minutes, dodgy dossier, lying to Paddy Ashdown in a deal on electoral reform, etc) so how can we trust him on this?

#38 Iola on 03.03.05 at 2:32 pm

I’ll vote for the party that gives me the most number of reasons I agree with to vote for them rather than the most number of reasons not to vote for the opposition…
Tactical voting strikes me as sitting there and whining without bothering to do something to make life better. It’s like sitting in a bath of manure and adding water to dilute it because it’s easier than getting up emptying it out and filling it up again: your still in a bath of faeces, it’s just watered down faeces.

#39 Neil on 03.03.05 at 4:16 pm

Tom – as you well know there are only a small number of seats in which voting Lib Dem will increase the likelihood of the Tories gaining the seat from Labour.

For those of us who want to vote against the invasion of Iraq, tuition fees and the dreadful right wing rhetoric of your government on asylum and immigration we can happily vote Lib Dem in all but about 30 Con/Lab marginals.

The really important thing is for people to vote Lib Dem in Lib Dem/Con marginals and in seats where the lib Dems are challenging Labour. If enough people do that we can both hit Blair by reducing his majority and hit Howard by further reducing the Conservatves to a rump.

I am delighted, however, that Labour MPs are now spinning this line against the Lib Dems. If it is the best argument you’ve got for why people shouldn’t vote lib Dem they must have you pretty worried.

#40 Cllr Iain Lindley on 03.03.05 at 8:40 pm

I think it says rather a lot about how desperate Labour have become that they are clutching to straws like this.

#41 DitchDavis on 03.05.05 at 6:02 pm

I’m confused Tom, how would voting Lib Dem in a constituency like Haltemprice and Howden, where the Lib Dems are just 1,903 votes behind Ali Campbell’s best mate David Davis, get you the Tories?

Please explain.

#42 Owen on 03.07.05 at 3:25 pm

Irritant

Agree with you. There may well be several hundred or several terrorists currently stalking our streets. I suspect the numbers that drop out depend on how you define the term. What we should concern ourselves with are the conditions that produce terrorists of the nature that they are willing to sacrifice there lives in a very direct, immediate and bloody way. I understand how many areas in the middle east have contrived to brutalise minorities within their influence to produce a generation full of pain and totally without hope. It si not difficult to see how some of these groups have identified the West as contributing directly to their plight and so hold it responsible. England for all it’s faults – and there are many is unlikely to produce many home grown terrorists as I would define them exactly because they lack these characteristics. I could certainly see there being any number of sympathisers with a “muddled” understanding of the issues and solutions to that which is coloquially referred to as the “Middle East “. This morass often leads to loosely affiliated groups and individuals without any inherent structure or global ideology. Goodwill, honesty and shared information would avail us much more in this fight than this arrest without charge, representation or qualification nonsense.
I myself could be a terrorist ( as I believe others would) if there was a magical button that you could press that would remove some odious people from the planet without pain or loss or suffering to them or to others. People that litter, people that are rude or ignorant but in my “weltschmerz” I realise there isn’t and the real world often demands that there be involved a great deal of blood and suffering for such quick and dramatic changes and here is where we differ. I don’t believe what can be gained greater that that which is lost – innocence. I suspect this is where a great many “home grown” terrorists lie. While sympathying with the plight and perhaps cause of some of these groups will shy away from any direct support or action that will cause loss of life or suffering to innocent people. There will always be a stupid and brutal few that can be paid or cajoled into such work – see IRA. Though I still maintain that we have nothing more to fear from terrorism abroad than we have had from the IRA and their ilk.
Terrorist acts would be all the more difficult to engineer and perpertrate if the public where made aware of some of the solid intelligence the dangers and involved in protecting themselves. The IRA was only able to function with the consent of the local people (coerced or otherwise).

#43 Richard on 03.10.05 at 9:38 pm

Tom is missing a couple of points:

1. You can’t make a national tactical voting argument; you have to make it one constituency at a time. I live in a seat where the Tories are third and have zero chance of coming second, much less first. So, however I vote, Michael Howard PM has nothing to do with it. There are maybe 80 seats where this is relevant. In the other 566, it’s a nonsense. Of course, as both Tom and I know, Labour doesn’t give a damn about the people in those 566 seats. Half are so rock-solid Labour that nothing would piss them off enough to change party; the other half are everything else – Northern Irish, SNP, Plaid seats, every single Tory and Lib Dem MP in the country, Labour marginals with the Lib Dems or a nationalist party second, three- or four- way marginals where the Tories have less than a third of the vote. These are seats that won’t go Tory, even if they might not go Labour. There aren’t enough of them to really hurt Labour’s majority, even if they lose every one of them. And regardless, if you want a non-Tory government, then only the UUP of all the parties standing in such seats has any chance of helping the Tories.

2. The Tories will have done well if they get one-third of the vote nationally. Their chances of forming a majority government when the other two parties combined get twice as many votes as them are zero. There is no danger of a Tory government unless they rise dramatically in the polls. Tom can legitimately raise that danger if and when the Tories get high enough. When Tom mentions 1992, remember that thet Tories were at 37-38% in the polls then and 42% on polling day.

#44 Mike Homfray on 03.20.05 at 2:16 am

Tom ; I understand what you are saying and why.

But – how can I vote for my Labour MP? She voted for the iraq war, and is a pro-lifer. She employs a lifelong Conservative voter as her speechwriter. She voted the Government line on the Belmarsh issue.

For someone who is a civil libertarian and votes primarily on those issues, Labour really is lacking something.

And at the last election I was a party activist and branch secretary. I left over Iraq. Surely i can’t be expected to stay in and vote for a party whose stances I disagree with so firmly? I found there was no way one could make one’s voice heard.

#45 Vote Liberal Democrat - Get the Tories on 06.07.05 at 6:45 pm

Vote Liberal Democrat – Get the Tories

Vote Liberal Democrat …

#46 Frankie on 12.06.05 at 12:20 pm

Lib dems rock, i am to young to vote but they make more sense then any other party, it is them or the raving looney party

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