Help Labour Remainers if in danger. Remove Tory Brexiters if possible.

Help Labour Remainers if they’re in danger. Remove Tory Brexiters where that’s possible. But, otherwise, pro-Europeans should vote for the Greens or Liberal Democrats on June 8.

The top goal for those who want to stop a destructive Brexit should be to get as pro-European a House of Commons as possible. That could involve backing a Labour candidate who has a chance of unseating a Tory. There are also a few cases where it makes sense to back a Conservative, such as Nicky Morgan, who has been trying to restrain Theresa May from doing something crazy.

But there are many safe seats where there’s no chance of removing the sitting Tory MP. In those cases, backing a Labour candidate won’t make any difference. It is then better to support one of the two parties which are genuinely pro-European – the Greens or the Lib Dems. Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit policy may be better than Theresa May’s, but it’s spineless and riddled with holes.

Even if the prime minister gets her predicted landslide, there will also be some safe Labour seats. Where the sitting MP, such as Ed Miliband, has been battling to stop a destructive Brexit since the referendum, voters should back them. But otherwise, it’s better to boost the national vote for committed pro-European parties.

In these cases it’s better to vote Green or Lib Dem. The more votes they get, the more authority they will have to oppose May’s Brexit plans after the election.

But which party should pro-Europeans back: Greens or Lib Dems? That depends. Both are promising a referendum at the end of the Brexit negotiations to check that the people still want to quit the EU. There’s not much to choose between the two on policy.

When one of the parties has even an outside chance of winning, voters should obviously back that party. But these will, by definition, be neither safe Tory nor safe Labour seats.

The Greens also aren’t standing everywhere. In 31 cases, they have stood down to make it easier for progressive parties to defend themselves or attack the Tories. Labour and the Lib Dems sadly have been so tribal that they haven’t been willing to engage in pro-European pacts or so-called progressive alliances.

Be that as it may, in any safe Tory or Labour seats where the Greens are not standing and the sitting MP hasn’t done anything to fight a destructive Brexit since the referendum, the choice again is easy: back the Lib Dems.

In all other cases, there isn’t any good reason from a Brexit point of view to support one party over the other. Pro-Europeans in those seats should vote for whichever of the Lib Dems and Greens takes their fancy on other grounds.


Posted on INFACTS

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EU leader: UK would be welcomed back if voters overturn Brexit

A good reason to vote tactical!

European parliament president Antonio Tajani says process could easily be reversed if election brings in new British government.

The president of the European parliament has said Britain would be welcomed back with open arms if voters changed their minds about Brexit on 8 June, challenging Theresa May’s claim that “there is no turning back” after article 50.

Speaking after a meeting with the prime minister in Downing Street, Antonio Tajani insisted that her triggering of the departure process last month could be reversed easily by the remaining EU members if there was a change of UK government after the general election, and that it would not even require a court case.

“If the UK, after the election, wants to withdraw [article 50], then the procedure is very clear,” he said in an interview. “If the UK wanted to stay, everybody would be in favour. I would be very happy.”


 

Read full article here.

Tactical voting only game in town for pro-Europeans

Another great article by by Hugo Dixon

Few observers believe Jeremy Corbyn has a hope of stopping Theresa May returning to Downing Street. The only game in town for pro-Europeans is, therefore, tactical voting.

The best election result that pro-Europeans can realistically hope for is to maximise the number of MPs who are opposed to a destructive Brexit – irrespective of the party they belong to. This will require tactical voting on a grander scale than the UK has hitherto witnessed.

Gina Miller, who brought the successful legal challenge stopping May triggering Article 50 without parliamentary authority, has already launched a crowdfunding drive to support candidates “who campaign for a real final vote on Brexit, including rejecting any deal that leaves Britain worse off”. By time of publication, it had raised over £135,000.

There will be several other similar initiatives. Meanwhile, Tony Blair has called for a cross-party campaign to elect “as many MPs as possible with an open mind” on Brexit, though the former Labour prime minister oddly says he’s not advocating tactical voting.

Anti-Tory or anti-Brexit?

For such initiatives to bear fruit, there will need to be clear criteria for judging which candidates are worth backing. Two main approaches are currently being discussed in public: focus on the candidate best able to stop a Tory being elected; or the one best able to stop a destructive Brexit.

Some people will say these approaches amount to the same thing, as the more Tory MPs are elected, the easier it will be for May to ram through whatever Brexit she wants. But this isn’t entirely so, unless the prime minister locks all her colleagues into hardline positions via her manifesto. Quite a few Tory MPs are pro-European, even if only a handful such as Nicky Morgan, Ken Clarke and Anna Soubry have dared to stick their heads above the parapet.

What’s more, there are shades of anti-Brexiters in the other parties. Liberal Democrats and Greens, for example, are generally more pro-European than Labour candidates – and some Labour MPs are more pro-European than others.

For these reasons, the main criterion for selecting candidates to support should be whether they are anti-destructive Brexit rather than anti-Tory – even if the number of Conservatives backed was small.

Anti-Brexit or anti-destructive Brexit?

How should one then define whether a candidate is sufficiently anti-destructive Brexit? One could set the bar very high, saying one would only back candidates committed to opposing Brexit. A slightly lower bar would be those promising voters a final say on whether we should leave the EU once we know what Brexit means. Lower still would be those committed to a meaningful vote in Parliament on the final deal.

The higher the bar is set, the fewer the candidates who will meet the grade. The practical solution may be to set it somewhere in the middle, roughly where Miller has – backing candidates who are both committed to a meaningful vote in Parliament and to voting against any destructive Brexit outcome.

A further question will then be which candidate to back in any constituency if more than one meets the hurdle. The obvious criterion would be the one most likely to win, though the extent of a candidate’s pro-European credentials should also be a factor.

In judging which anti-destructive Brexit candidate is most likely to win, 2015 election results should only be a guide. In some constituencies, viable independent candidates may emerge.

In cases where there are multiple pro-European candidates, maximum pressure should be put on the weakest to step down. Otherwise, the anti-Brexit vote will be split – and the pro-Brexit candidate will be chosen.

All this will be needed for tactical voting initiatives to have the maximum impact. But even this will not be enough. They will also need to be well run, generously funded and supported by thousands of volunteers.

Now is the time for pro-Europeans to put their money and their efforts where their mouths are. This election is probably their last chance to have any influence on what sort of Brexit we end up with.

 

 

First past the post system

So what is the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system?

In short: The candidate with the most votes in a constituency becomes the MP for that seat. All other votes are disregarded.

Critics argue this means MPs can be elected with a really small percentage of the vote and encourages tactical voting against the most disliked candidate. It also means small parties are penalised as their votes tend to be spread across the country rather than in one particular seat.

It is why the Conservatives won a majority (331 seats) with just 37% of the vote, and UKIP just one seat with 12.6%.

However, the widely-used method (mainly due to British colonial legacy) is regarded as simple and a clear way by which voters can express who they want in government.

Or, as the Electoral Reform Society describes:

First Past the Post is the electoral system used to elect the UK parliament. Under First Past the Post voting takes place in constituencies that elect a single MP each. Voters put a cross on a ballot paper next to their favoured candidate and the candidate with the most votes in the constituency wins. All other votes count for nothing. We believe First Past the Post is the worst system for electing a representative government.

But is is fair? The flaw of FPTP is that if there are many parties standing in an election, the winning party can gain a majority in Parliament – yet have just 24% of the vote. In effect, a minority is given the power to impose their narrow agenda on the majority.  Which is precisely what happened with the Conservative victory in 2015 – and which therefore indirectly has led to Brexit.

Yet, with tactical voting this could all change. If voters ignore their first choice party, and instead focus on the strong er second preference party, the combined total of the opposition votes would beat the incumbent Tory candidate hands down.

If, on top of that, those that hadn’t voted previously joined in, their sheer combined numbers would represent a wipe-out for the Tories (see graphic below). Something they will of course fight tooth and nail. The last thing they would want is a united progressive alliance.

Unfortunately, the progressive parties themselves are too busy fighting against each others to form an official opposition. This is where grassroots people like you and me come into it. Our vote matters!