Protest vote and get the Tories (minus Howard Flight)

In the world of political blogs that I half inhabit, the discussion for tomorrow will not be Howard Flight and his admission that the Tories intend greater cuts than is politically acceptable at the moment. It will not be Michael Howard and whether he has gone too far this time. It won’t even be the launch of the lib dem policy on crime, although of course, I’m personally on the edge of my seat on that one. No, tomorrow will mark the launch of another Tim Ireland belter, with my party taking another Internet hit. Such is life.

So here’s my usual government health warning. Protest voting helps the Tories. Really, it does. Just because they’ve collectively jumped off a cliff this week doesn’t let you off the hook. Vote Lib Dem, get the Tories. If you’re sick of me saying it, have a look at the wise words of Mr Peter Hain, Leader of the House of Commons.

22 comments ↓

#1 Harry on 03.29.05 at 12:20 am

Don’t believe the hype Tom.

Tim has his followers but the blogosphere political debate doesn’t focus on his stunts really does it?

He is a great self-publicist but some silly video animation really isn’t going to be what everyone is talking about.

#2 quarsan on 03.29.05 at 9:26 am

but last time, we voted labour and got a conservative – or is that neo-con – government.

#3 Richard Gadsden on 03.29.05 at 9:57 am

I only get a vote in one constituency: St. Helens North.

Given that the Labour and Lib Dem votes combined here are more than three times the Tory vote, please tell me how voting Lib Dem gets me a Tory MP.

Thanks.

#4 Nick on 03.29.05 at 10:29 am

‘Vote Lib Dem, get the Tories.’

Of course you’re right Tom, and I shall be voting Labour. In Colchester. Yes, that’s just what the Tories don’t want me to do.

#5 tom on 03.29.05 at 10:34 am

see Harry – told you we’d be talking about it :-)
Quarsan – no you didn’t. You might have got a PM you didn’t agree with on some issues but to say Labour and the Tories are the same is crass. Sorry to be harsh but hone in your critique a little there.
Richard – judging by your other comment, you are a liberal democrat and therefore not a protest voter. So I assume you will be voting lib dem, not out of annoyance with the party you feel closest too, but because you are one of the few people who actually is a lib dem. Hurray for you.

#6 tom on 03.29.05 at 10:40 am

Nick – Glad to see you’ve seen the light. And there was me thinking that you were one of those obsessive lib dem characters. I’ll let Bob Russell know we’ve hit the bullseye with you.

#7 quarsan on 03.29.05 at 11:03 am

yes tom, it was crass, but for the first time in my life i will not be voting labour. i just can’t. however i do feel that the PM is, at heart a tory and much of britain’s foreign policy has been decided to support the neo-cons in washington.

#8 Harry on 03.29.05 at 11:21 am

Well we are not talking about some obscenity filled cartoon though, that was my point!

I’m in favour of tactical voting, for the reasons that Nick outlines. It makes sense to vote Lib Dem in some places.

But I’m not talking about tactical voting in order to punish Blair or weaken the Labour Party but to keep the Tories out.

I know it sounds an old-fashioned idea these days but some of us can actually remember what a Tory government was like. I

ts not hard to recall given that the current Tory leader was part of those dreadful corrupt and right-wing governments.

#9 tom on 03.29.05 at 11:46 am

Quarsan – So you think the PM is a Tory and are therefore going to protest vote and risk getting the real thing? I know you find the choices hard but I think you are cutting off your nose to spite your face with that logic. I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree though, you seem pretty determined.

Harry – I half agree with you on the point about the Tories. The general point I make is that just whacking a cross anywhere but Labour helps the Tories the most.

Nick you try to draw me into a debate on another issue. Sorry to not play ball, but this thread has a broad theme and I’m sticking to it. I’ve therefore pressed *delete* on your last comment.

#10 quarsan on 03.29.05 at 3:10 pm

tom, there are good people in the party, but i disagree with the prime minister’s policies and values, from filkin to iraq.

it’s not a protest vote. it’s a fundamental change in how i will vote. your advice seems to be ‘vote for us, because the other lot were terrible, don’t you remember?’

hardly a ringing endorsement of your own party, is it?

#11 Bobby on 03.29.05 at 8:46 pm

If the Lib Dems formed a coalition with the Tories voting Lib Dem could get you a Tory Government. Your local Lib Dem MP serving in a Michael Howard Government, thats what you would have voted for.

Why not, they formed coalitions to run Leeds, Birmimgham, East Riding, NE Lincs anywhere else?

#12 Guido Fawkes on 03.30.05 at 3:24 am

Don’t vote. It only encourages them.

Get gunpowder.

#13 Will on 03.30.05 at 3:11 pm

I was campaigning in a Tory/LibDem marginal at the weekend. The best way (apart from voting Tory) to help the Tories there is to vote Labour.

#14 Brian Swift on 03.30.05 at 3:24 pm

Richard: One day you may actually vote Lib Dem in St Helens North and get John Beirne as MP……I’d take Michael Howard and a Tory Government any day.

#15 Neil on 03.30.05 at 7:37 pm

Tom – have you come to a view about how Labour supporters should vote in Folkestone yet?

Howard beat the Lib Dems by 6000.

labour came third with 9000.

ARE YOU THINKING WHAT WE’RE THINKING?

#16 Tom Morris on 03.30.05 at 9:45 pm

Vote Lib Dems and get the Tories? Naah. I’ll just vote for the Tories anyway and cut out the middlemen.

(I’m in about the safest Conservative seat anyway, so it makes no difference. To be honest, though politics interests me greatly, on the issues that matter, nobody takes a reasonable or sensible stand)

#17 Gary on 03.30.05 at 11:26 pm

Tom, normally I find myself nodding in agreement with what you write, but I still can’t buy the argument.

I’ve read in various places (all of which elude me at this time in the evening) shrill howls from the Tories that if we vote Lib Dem we’ll get a Labour government. Surely you can’t both be right on this point?

Also, looking at the number of letters the Guardian received today after Peter Hain’s argument makes me think that the rest of Britain is also having trouble believing this.

#18 Neil Lovatt on 03.31.05 at 6:16 pm

Tom
I just don’t even beleive that you believe that, despite your anti Lib Dem views! Where there is a fair and equal fight between the three (or four, if you live in the Celtic fringes) parties then this arguement holds water.

BUT the reality of our daft voting system is that depending on the state of the parties in your local area a vote for the Liberal Democrats holds considerably more weight than a vote for Labour, Folkestone is a great example of this. Of course it goes two ways as well.

If tactical voting is used effectively at the next election we could well have a Labour government with a considerable majority again AND a decapitated Conservative Party. I can’t see how anyone describing themselves as a progressive would be opposed to such a senario?

#19 ste b on 04.01.05 at 8:08 pm

Hey Neil…..Saturday 12 March….. looks like you had a wonderful day. Shame that there are no pictures of the hen night on display yet.

#20 underblog on 04.02.05 at 2:51 am

Nope, it doesn’t sound any more convincing when Peter Hain says it. Perhaps Charles Clarke or John Reid will try next week?

Brown as party leader would double labour’s lead over the tories. Blair’s continued leadership is the cause of all this protest vote business. Does anyone really doubt that if you lot truly believed the protest vote to risk a swing of historically unprecedented magnitude – wiping out all of Labour’s massive majority – you would be calling for Blair’s head?

Tom, you didn’t answer me previously when I asked why you continue to support Blair if his premiership risks the tories getting back in. Yes, we know you think he’s a great PM, but is he so much greater than Brown that you are prepared to risk election defeat? Since I doubt you will answer this time either (please surprise me), I shall be so rude as to answer for you: The truth is that you know as well as I that labour will win the next election protest vote or no.

#21 Jerry on 04.03.05 at 12:05 am

I have a bad feeling about this- having been voting in elections since the early 70s it seems to me that the results are always, one way or another, surprising.

In our very marginal lib-dem held seat it would be crazy to vote anything other than lib-dem. Somehow I get the feeling that Tom would prefer a tory majority to the lib-dems holding the balance of power. If so, I wonder why that could be.

Incidentally, has anyone else spotted tories trying to shove labour core voters in the direction of the lib dems? Makes a lot of sense from their point of view, except in this neck of the woods obviously.

#22 Murky.org on 04.08.05 at 8:40 pm

Tactical Voting

There has been a lot printed in recent days about Tactical Voting, from people saying ‘It’ll let the Tories in by the back door’, to others saying ‘Blair needs a bloody nose’. Actually existing has an analysis of the situation…

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