Splitting the Remain Vote – Tactical Voting or a Nightmare?

The following was published in the local Comet newspaper.

Last night I had a nightmare.  I was watching the television when the results for Hitchin and Harpenden came in:  Bim Afolami (Conservative) 18,800 (elected); Sam Collins (Liberal Democrat) 18,500; Kay Tart (Labour) 17,900.  Similar results across the South of England, combined with Tory gains from Labour in the North, had led to Boris Johnson winning a tiny overall majority in Parliament. To no avail many Libdem candidates had lost their deposits because of tactical votes for Labour.

Johnson set out immediately and triumphantly to “Get Brexit Done”.  He took the irrevocable step of implementing his EU withdrawal agreement, but then found that the trade deals he had imagined with our biggest trading partner (Europe) and the rest of the world proved to be much more difficult, less beneficial, and more time-consuming than he had told us they would be.  The country went into sharp economic decline over the following 11 months and a Farage-style “No deal” Brexit ensued.  

Scotland demanded a second independence referendum with a deafening roar.  The fragile peace in Northern Ireland was shattered.  The media continued to be dominated by Brexit, while Johnson and his far-right wing backers proceeded with their own agenda to dismantle our welfare state and subvert our parliamentary democracy.  It turned out that Brexit was far from “done”.  

I found myself sitting in the Oval Office of the White House with Donald Trump and Putin.  Trump was gloating and tweeting about how he had stitched up those bozos Johnson and Farage. I woke up in a cold sweat to find it was all just a dream.

Peter Bransby in last week’s Comet is entitled to his opinions.  I do not challenge his (highly selective) facts and I accept that Kay Tart would support a second referendum on Brexit, but no member of the Labour Party seriously believes that she can win the Hitchin and Harpenden seat, recognising that many Conservative “remainers” (in Harpenden especially) will switch to the Libdems but not Labour.  

All the credible tactical voting sites recommend anyone wanting to stop Brexit to vote Libdem in Hitchin and Harpenden.  (Try googling “compare tactical”).   Locally, the Labour Party is very understandably focusing its efforts on trying to regain the Stevenage seat from the Conservatives.

North Herts for Europe is campaigning for, and recommends voters to support Sam Collins (Libdem) in Hitchin and Harpenden, and Jill Borcherds (Labour) in Stevenage.  I have personally campaigned on the doorstep and found voters who “don’t like” Jo Swinson, and even more who “don’t like” Jeremy Corbyn.   But make no mistake.  The key issue for our country in this Election is Brexit.  

The NHS, Education and Social Services will all suffer even more if we leave the EU.  I ask all voters to put aside party loyalties and personal dislikes when they cast their vote in the secrecy of the voting booth.  The only way to stop talking about Brexit is to stop Brexit.

John WhiteChairman