Chris replied:
> Proportional voting and tactical voting are becoming more important here. 
> Although there are delays in the London counting, one result tonight shows 
> massive tactical voting got the Conservative MP out in a Parliamentary 
> by-election, with Labour voters switching to Liberal Democrat.

I'm afraid the whole parliamentary system leaves me completely cold I 
really don't care if their are more Liberals or Labour or Tories - 
history, since universal(ish) suffrage, has shown that in office 
their actions are all much the same. Though some argument could be 
made that Labour gets away with a little more actually regressive 
acts than the Tories would dare to.

> Ken's vote is partly a protest vote and most votes are votes against someone.

A protest against what - not capitalism, not privatisation (Ken want 
the Tube to be funded by the banks rather than business 
partnerships), not against cuts in services for the least well off 
and the least able in London. Its a vote for one manipulator of the 
media against another.

In actual fact he is likely to get half of the votes from a turn out 
of only 30-40 per cent of the voters of London (ignoring those not 
registered to vote but including all those people with an extra home 
in London - like two-homes Ken!). So from this 17.5 per cent support 
we know that a significant number are people who actually cast 
their Assembly vote for the Tories, Liberals, New Labour and the 
Greens. It is a protest vote but it doesn't seem to be the sort of 
protest imagined by the Left.

> All this talk of entrism is a waste of time. Serious discussion of tactical 
> voting is not. There is an advantage in having at least one radical left 
> representative in the Greater London Assembly.

Voting for the Left is not tactical voting its just a wasted vote 
which if you are merely anti-Tory (and I'm not) simply splits the 
vote. 

Unless I am much mistaken the Left has done so badly it will not 
even get the 5 per cent needed to get even one person elected. Yet 
the Greens may well get 3! All they have done is to follow on the 
coat-tails of Livingstone who despite all their complaints is still 
hoping to rejoin the Labour Party and campaign for Blair's 
re-election in next years election.

My main argument (as I am not keen on just going over the old debates 
of anti-parliamentarianism) is that the Left in its opposition to New 
Labour either harks back to a false Golden Age of Old Labour which it 
cannot attain or cannot see beyond elections as the key way forward. 
One group which this will seek to alienate is the poorest sections of 
the working class (around here in the local election less that 9 per 
cent voted!) and the new movements of environmental protesters, 
refugee campaigns and the Anti-Capitalist activists. As more and more 
of them reject the parliamentary road as moribund and a diversion it 
is becoming more and more significant for the Left. It is not a 
question of prinicipled objection but just that tactically, at the 
moment, it does not seem to be very relevant.

John Walker


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