Benefits in voting tactically (Alistair Easton)

Robina Barton takes exception to the idea of tactical voting. But this is something which is forced on the intelligent voter where they have to elect a constituency representative under the deeply flawed first-past-the-post electoral system, a system which the Tories and Labour have long clung to because it suited them.

In Holyrood elections we have two votes, and voters can use their vote for the regional list MSPs to support the party of their choice and influence the overall balance of the parties at Holyrood.

But when it comes to the constituency vote, if their party is not really in the race, voting tactically is often the intelligent thing to do.

I have been a Liberal/Liberal Democrat for some 45 years. During the 17 years I lived in Shetland I had the privilege of helping to elect Liberal/Liberal Democrat MP/MSPs, but I now live in Edinburgh in the Edinburgh Central seat. So, on Thursday, while I will certainly vote for my own party on the regional list ballot, I will vote tactically for the Labour candidate in the constituency.

This is because my own party has no chance of winning the constituency while Labour’s Sarah Boyack has a chance of winning it back from the SNP.

I may not be 100 per cent happy with the current Labour Party, but they are an order of magnitude better than the illiberal nationalists, and it also helps that Sarah Boyack, when she held the seat up until the last election, was, like Tavish Scott in Shetland, an excellent and hard-working constituency representative.

Alistair Easton

6 Glencairn Crescent, Edinburgh.


Add Your Comment
  • Stuart Hannay

    • May 2nd, 2016 17:28

    I think many Labour voters were stung by the tactical vote that led to the disastrous Liberal democrat- Conservative coalition in the UK election before-last. The claim from the Liberal Democrats was, of course, that it was the only way to keep the conservatives out. I can’t see many risking that again.

  • Robin Stevenson

    • May 2nd, 2016 18:02

    Alistair, in order to vote tactically, you firstly have to understand how our voting system works here in Scotland? It was created specifically to ensure that there’d never be a majority SNP government. Alas, they got that spectacularly wrong, I’m glad to say.

    So voting for a dying and one already dead party and claiming it’s ‘tactical’ is somewhat amusing. 🙂

    But hey, good luck with that, and don’t forget, Lib/Lab PPP/PFI, you’re grandchildren will STILL be paying for it when you and I are no longer here.

    • John Tulloch

      • May 3rd, 2016 10:02

      I find it extraordinary that SNP supporters actually brag about the fact that the SNP is vindictive towards areas that do not vote for them, implying that we should somehow yield to their manifest corruption and vote them in.

  • Brian Smith

    • May 2nd, 2016 21:24

    Many who read Alistair Easton’s letter will then vote SNP, which is not what he intends.

    I am voting Labour, because I don’t believe the SNP story, swallowed by some old friends, that they are a party of the left. This is worth listening to:

    • John Tuloch

      • May 3rd, 2016 12:23

      Yes, Brian, that was very interesting, very good, actually.

      Seemingly, the Tartan Tories don’t want to raise the top rate of income tax in Scotland.

      It was interesting to hear Ms Dugdale extolling the benefits of socialist solidarity with rUK – something I had to point out to Jonathan and your good self during the referendum campaign when, batting for Scottish independence, you were all set to abandon your erstwhile “brothers” to the ravages of permanent Tory government.

  • Brian Smith

    • May 3rd, 2016 13:19

    Goodness me, John, have you forgotten that it was you that was lining up with the Tories (a.k.a. Better Together) in 2014!

    But if you are moving left, however belatedly, I am pleased. Vote Labour on Thursday.

  • Darren Silver

    • May 4th, 2016 11:40

    How’s Wir Scotland…sorry Wir Shetland getting on at it’s central HQ in Argyll? I really wish ‘Wir’ Shetland would stop claiming to be the voice of the local population, it sounds a peerie bit ‘Nationalist’ to me; an arrogant stance to take from so far away. In my ‘own’ opinion; backing your own horse to win a local race from a party that left its ideology and spine behind when spooning their Tory masters has turned people off from what should be an excellent platform and sounding board in a modern Shetland, that’s verging on major changes in views and values. If an ending ‘Austerity’ for the most vulnerable in our society isn’t a liberal and forward thinking view, then I don’t know what is. Have opinions, but spare us the same old rhetoric about Tartan Tories etc…bear in mind a political parties stance is taken from the majority of its members. Surely you recall after the Indy Referendum, the SNP within weeks became the 3rd largest party in the UK. Of course, I’m aware you know this already Mr Tulloch. You’re a wise intelligent man, a forward thinking liberal visionary and tireless champion of Shetland.


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