There should already be no questioning of the inhumanity of Tory policies, given their concentration on tax cuts for the wealthy, starving the NHS and schools, and cutting benefits to those desperately in need. But the blatant and shameless attempts in the last 48 hours by Theresa May to exploit the deaths of the recent victims of terrorism for party advantage, are truly tasteless and sickening. The populist new pledge to “rip up human rights” is a further appeal to the basest instincts of society, while looking to seize the moment further to increase the powers of the state. The cycle of alienation will only be enhanced, causing more terrorism, by draconian state actions which inevitably will lead to injustice and grievance.
We have to stop the Tories. That must be the basis of any decent person’s vote. If you doubt me, just go down to a newsagent and look at the appalling front pages of today’s newspapers. The question is how to do it?
1) In Scotland, vote for the SNP. There is no constituency where an SNP vote risks letting the Tory in. There are scores of votes, especially in rural and in south central Scotland, where any switch of voters from SNP to Labour could gain the Tories enough seats to give Theresa May a working majority.
2). In England and Wales, vote for whoever is best placed to defeat the Tory. If you have a sitting non-Tory MP, lend them your support. So Lib Dems and Greens should vote Labour in Labour constituencies. That would, on current polling evidence, make almost all existing Labour seats safe. I make an exception for Birmingham Yardley where Labour voters should switch to the excellent John Hemming to get rid of the horrible Jess Phillips. In Hastings and Rye if Lib Dems vote Labour there is every chance to get rid of Amber Rudd, which is an aim every Lib Dem should support.
The Guardian have published a useful guide to some seats where tactical voting might be effective. I endorse it.
How to react to first past the post is a personal decision. But the danger of a continued Tory majority is so great that my own view is that anybody who is not hard right should, on this occasion, do what is practically most likely to mitigate it.
For Labour voters to vote to damage the SNP with the effect of electing Tories would be self harm. Lib Dem voters should find May’s attitude to human rights and to Brexit anathema. I am asking more Lib Dems to vote tactically, to support sitting Labour MPs, than any other group. This one time, the value of halting May outweighs the existentialist act of declaring personal allegiance. In the smaller number of constituencies where I am asking Lab voters to support Lib Dems, the same applies.