This one is easy. For May’s local government elections there’s been all sorts of discussion and the banging of heads off brick walls in an attempt to explain the simplest tactical voting strategy to reduce the number of DTBs who get elected. That’s Durrty Tory Basterts, in case you were wondering that’s the real name of the Conservatives. The relative merits and demerits of ranking the rank smelly party last in a vote until you boke tactic versus not ranking them at all have been debated ad nauseum, or more accurately, ad bokeum. There’s been a lot of disagreement, but we all agree on the basic principle – that we want as few DTBs elected as possible. The disagreement is purely about how best to achieve that.
However Theresa May’s Erdogan election is conducted under the stone age first past the post system, and the best tactical voting strategy to reduce the number of power grabbing Conservative authoritarians is equally primitive. Vote SNP. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. In Scotland, a pro-independence vote for any other party is a wasted vote. It’s that simple. I’ve got a lot of time and sympathy for both the the Greens and the Socialists, and under different circumstances I might even vote for them.
The Greens and the Socialists might stand in some seats, but realistically they have as much chance of getting elected as there is of Ruth Davidson standing up and saying, “You know, I’m going to be consistent and put it on the record that we shouldn’t be having a General Election because the people don’t want one. Less than a third according to a UK wide poll, that’s fewer people than want that independence referendum that I’m always banging on about no one wanting. And I promise never to go near a tank again. Also, I am utterly mortified that Katie Hopkins supports me. Totally affronted. It’s even more embarrassing than when someone lets Murdo go on one of his rampages on Twitter.”
In June’s General Election we have one priority, and that’s to reduce the number of Tories to the minimum. Ideally to zero. The way to do that is to vote SNP. There are other elections in which voting Green or Socialist can make a difference, this isn’t one of them. It is vital in this election that the pro-independence representation is as high as possible, that can only be achieved with an SNP vote. Voting for anyone else splits the pro-independence vote and at best achieves nothing, at worst it allows a Unionist through the middle.
Labour voters have to decide where their priorities lie. Their party has no chance of getting elected. Theresa May called this election in the first place because Labour is so weak. Labour voters in Scotland need to ask themselves whether they want to split the anti-Conservative vote and allow a DTB to slip through the middle, or to lend a vote to the SNP. Let’s be honest, the Union that Labour stands for is dead. The Britain of the welfare state, of public services, of nationalised industries, it’s never coming back, and Britain is facing decades of a hard right Conservative government that will strip us all of employment and human rights in a way that not even Thatcher would have dared. The Tories aren’t hauling us out of the European Union in order to create a utopia of workers’ and civil rights. This isn’t an election about what Labour has achieved in the past, this is a vote about the future, and a Tory future is bleak, barren and filled with the sobs of the hungry and homeless and there’s nothing Labour can do to stop it. The harsh truth is that for Labour’s pensioner vote, the chances are that they won’t see a Labour government in Westminster again. A Labour vote is a vote for hopelessness, for uselessness, for weeping in the graveyard while your children’s hopes are buried. The Tories are destroying Britain with a tiny majority, it’s terrifying to think what havoc they will wreak when they’re returned to power with a large one. Every Labour vote in Scotland makes that more likely.
What’s more important? Tribalism or defeating the evil of Theresa May’s inhumane and cruel government? Sadly for some, tribalism will win. The sparkling wit and raconteur Iain Gray, at least when compared to James Kelly, along with Anas Sarwar, have spent the day on Twitter accusing the SNP of not wanting to get rid of the Tories because they abstained in yesterday’s vote. Labour, on the other hand, trooped obediently into the same division lobby as the Conservatives and voted to back a Conservative motion. If their party had the slightest bit of sense they’d have refused to back the motion too, then the only way Theresa May could have got her vanity election would have been to put forward a humiliating motion of no-confidence in her own government. She’d still have got her election, but Labour could have made it difficult for her. They were too afraid of negative headlines in the Tory press, because Jeremy Corbyn’s party never comes in for negative headlines otherwise does it. Oh wait…
Instead, Labour made it easy for her, and allowed her to look as though she was in total control. But in the tribal world of Ian and Anas, it’s the SNP who are to blame. It’s all the more pathetic because everyone and their granny knows that in this General Election, Labour is going to get gubbed. That’s the sole reason for Theresa holding it in the first place, and Labour went along with it. That’s Labour for you, the party of soft boiled eggs that votes for spoons.
But even worse than Iain and Anas is tribalist extraordinaire is Ian Murray, Labour’s sole remaining MP in Scotland, at least for now. He’s made a call for Labour supporters to vote tactically for Tories in order to keep the SNP out. He’d rather increase Theresa May’s majority and condemn us all to the bleakest of Brexits under a Prime Minister who is even more authoritarian than Margaret Thatcher than see any support for a party which seeks to give the people of Scotland a vote on their constitutional future. That’s truly shameful, as shameful as Ruth Davidson’s support for the rape clause. A Labour MP, who presumably knows the evil effects of Tory policies on the poor, the vulnerable, and the low paid, and yet he’d still prefer to see a Conservative government than concede that the people of Scotland should have the right to decide for themselves what the place of Scotland within the UK and the EU should be. It would be beautifully karmic if Ian’s call for people to vote Tory tactically backfired on him and allowed the SNP to take his seat.
If you choose a better Scotland, a Scotland where hope flourishes, where the future is to be embraced not feared, where we tell Theresa where to go instead of her dictating to us, an SNP vote is the only realistic choice.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-20th-april-2017
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