Ask an average Labour voter why they vote Labour, and I can guarantee the response will be ‘Because if I don’t, the Tories will get in’. This is the nature of our political system: we vote for who we least hate – it is a compromise.
council elections. If this result is anything to go by then they have probably won the European election too. What is even more shocking is that of those whom voted UKIP, according to the BBC, 58% intend to vote for them again in the general election next year. This result is very significant. If UKIP voters are not deterred by first-past-the-post then they could have a serious influence on the result of the next general election – and not just for the Tories, Labour as well.
Every political party has already stated that Thursday’s outcome has ‘sent them a message’.
What does this mean exactly? That more and more of the political agenda of the three main parties is being set by pandering to UKIP. So what does this mean for the rest of us, who quite frankly would rather down a pint of cold sick than vote UKIP? It means that we should vote Green.
Why vote for the Labour party? They are barely distinguishable from the Conservatives anyway, and their rhetoric and policies, like the Conservatives, are being more and more adjusted to appease UKIP supporters. Rather than voting for the main party that we hate the least, we can actually influence policy more by voting for a fringe party we actually agree with.
We need to remember that fringe parties can win seats in the House of Commons under first-past-the-post. Former Green Party leader Caroline Lucas’ victory in Brighton in 2010 was a watershed moment and George Galloway always manages to get back in. We all know that these results are possible, but what has to happen is that the public must believe that it can happen. For once we need to be a little less cynical. The reason that UKIP seem to be doing so well is that the public are so fed up of being ignored they do not even care if believe that they are throwing their vote away (which now appears to be inaccurate anyway) – they are sick of being ignored.
The Green party supports a living wage, sustainable energy and house-building, abolishing tuition fees – the list goes on. As a left-wing person I find I agree with them on more issues than any other political party, so if the surge in the UKIP vote means that all the political parties seem to be tailoring their policies to appeasing UKIP voters, it does not seem out of the question that a surge in the Green vote would do the same. Perhaps you might not want to ‘waste your vote’ but your vote is wasted anyway, because Labour and the Conservatives take their supporters for granted; this is the truth of a two party first-past-the-post system.
With a rise in voters supporting ‘fringe’ parties, of which some are now becoming decidedly less ‘fringe’, eventually something will have to give. If a large portion of the electorate are voting for more than just two or three parties then this will give a real message, that first-past-the-post is no longer appropriate in delivering a House of Commons that actually represents the views of the population.
So I urge you, if you see the rise of UKIP as a scary and undesirable, vote for the Green Party. Of course they are unlikely to win many seats, but before UKIP came along, the main parties ignored criticism of immigration policy and the EU. I feel that social democratic principles have long been forgotten by the Labour party, if we have any chance of re-establishing them we have to send a message that they cannot ignore. Please vote Green.