Which is the most sensible way to vote?
Just days before the General Election, if you were commuting along the Purley Way, on the border of Sutton, you would have seen a spectacular piece of graffiti on a billboard just opposite Waddon Retail Park. It read: VOTE SENSIBLY FOR BRITAIN. It was such a piece of unblemished art, I almost believe someone paid for the billboard space.
I stood in Carshalton and Wallington - a Lib Dem/Tory marginal seat. In this constituency voting sensibly is very much subjective:
- Vote LIB DEM to keep the Conservative Matthew Maxwell-Scott out! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote LIB DEM to keep Theresa May out because she is awful! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote TORY to stop Lib Dem Tom Brake - a cheerleader for Sutton council! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote TORY if you are a UKIP voter - that's who UKIP Sutton endorse! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote LABOUR if Jeremy Corbyn excites you and ignore two horse race! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote INDEPENDENT whistleblowing anti-incinerator Cllr Nick Mattey! Sensible score 5/5
- Vote GREEN for the guy who risked his house to stoptheincinerator.co.uk Sensible score 5/5
Above are all sensible ways to vote in Carshalton and Wallington. Some are tactical. Some are not. I came across a number of voters when knocking on doors, leaning towards one of the options above.
However, many of these very same voters were contemplating whether there might be a more sensible option. At times I felt like a counsellor as I listened to them pore over what was running through their mind.
I came across Green voters (and even the odd Green Party member) who were thinking of voting LIB DEM to keep the Tory out. Green Party talk of progressive alliances and standing down in constituencies had changed the thought processes of those who would normally put 'X' by Green party. Zoe Williams has gone as far as saying Greens "effectively committed electoral hari-kiri for the sake of opposing the Conservatives."
Big thanks to Maeve Tomlinson - my agent.
At 3:29am on 9th June the Returning officer, Niall Bolger, read out the result privately to agents and candidates just before the official declaration. Maeve scribbled the numbers below. Niall wasn't pausing for anyone.
Green vote was squeezed by all of the above valid sensible scenarios.
The declaration was a nonsense. I contacted Sutton Guardian about this. Those who were watching the coverage on TV (still from BBC London News above) might have thought all the candidates had gone to the pub to discuss if people had indeed voted sensibly.
Tags croydon, greenparty