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Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Thursday 19/04/2001Democracy's a splendid idea, if only you could vote for the people you wanted. We have a particularly schizophrenic system, where party loyalty is absolute within Parliament but the MPs are nominally elected on a personal basis.

Thursday
19/04/2001 Democracy's a splendid idea, if only you could vote for the people you wanted. We have a particularly schizophrenic system, where party loyalty is absolute within Parliament but the MPs are nominally elected on a personal basis. You might want to vote Monster Raving Loony, as might a million other people across the land, but if no one candidate gets enough votes within an individual consituency each of those million votes is wasted. Tactical voting is one way around this. If your preferred candidate from the MRL is unelectable in your area but the candidate for the Let's Have Another Party Party might get there, then if you can find another voter in another seat where the positions are reversed you can each agree to vote for the other's candidate and both votes become useful. But how to find such seats, and agree a swap with such people? Cue the wonderful Internet. And cue www.tacticalvoter.net, which will help you in your endeavours. Because of the way the UK political scene is, though, the people who'll suffer most if this scheme works are the Tories -- Liberal and Labour voters being far more comfortable exchanging votes with each other than with Conservatives. So Hague's mob have screamed foul, but the ref says that no, nothing of the sort. And they were doing so well...