Could tactical voting save Britain from the Tories? | Letters

John Lynch and Declan O’Neill respond to an article on how tactical voting, as seen in the recent byelections, could reshape British politics. Plus a letter from David Smith

In reference to Peter Kellner’s article (A harsh lesson for the Tories: you can’t outrun tactical voting, 25 June), I must challenge his assertion that Labour supporters “accept that Ed Davey and the Lib Dems have moved on from the days when they voted for Tory austerity measures”. As a Labour party member, I do not hold such a view, nor do any other party members of my acquaintance. We do not forget that Davey was a member of the cabinet that cut essential public services and depleted the health service so that the impact of the subsequent Covid pandemic was exacerbated.

We also recognise that his party’s political opportunism makes it a potential partner in a future Tory alliance, noting that it has an established track record for this in local government, as in the case of Leeds city council between 2004 and 2010.
John Lynch
Leeds

• As usual, Peter Kellner makes a persuasive case. The problem is with the word “could”. As he points out, “on a straight national swing” the Tories could end up with as many as 344 seats or as few as 285 – depending on the effectiveness of tactical voting. This is a reflection of a thoroughly undemocratic voting system and is, unfortunately, not an isolated example. In 2005, Labour under Tony Blair won a comfortable majority on just over 35% of the vote. Under the much maligned Jeremy Corbyn, Labour lost the 2017 election having achieved 40% in the general election.

If the opposition parties were to agree on electoral reform, there might just be the basis of an effective alliance to remove the Conservatives from office. Without it, the Tories could remain in power for years to come, despite never winning anything near a majority of the popular vote.
Declan O’Neill
Oldham, Greater Manchester

• Boris Johnson has suggested that the cost of living crisis was to blame for the byelection defeats, not his conduct. It was not the cost of living, it was the cost of lying.
David Smith
Couloumé-Mondebat, Gers, France

Have an opinion on anything you’ve read in the Guardian today? Please email us your letter and it will be considered for publication.

Letters

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
The Guardian view on tactical voting: it would help to oust Tories | Editorial
Editorial: Labour voters in Conservative-held commuter belt seats should respond positively to Sir Ed Davey’s overtures

Editorial

19, Mar, 2023 @6:25 PM

Article image
Brexit lessons for Labour to learn from the local election results | Letters
Letters: Readers interpret last Thursday’s votes and what they mean for Labour’s stance on leaving the European Union

Letters

05, May, 2019 @4:33 PM

Article image
Labour needs to shine a light on Tory failures | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to a piece by Andy Beckett, where he argues that the Conservative party is avoiding blame for the dire state of Britain today

Letters

02, Dec, 2019 @6:37 PM

Article image
The Guardian view on byelections: hasten Boris Johnson’s political end | Editorial
Editorial: Labour and Lib Dem voters should back whichever party can win. Defeats can convince Tories to ditch the PM

Editorial

17, Jun, 2022 @4:35 PM

Article image
Beware of tactical voting websites | Letters
Letters: Steve Bonham says the Best for Britain website getvoting.org gave him the wrong advice, and Jon Griffith says there’s no need for pacts: just vote intelligently

Letters

31, Oct, 2019 @6:28 PM

Article image
How Labour can make itself electable again | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to a piece by Martin Kettle in which he says the party needs to take time for judgments to settle about its descent into the electoral abyss

Letters

05, Jan, 2020 @5:39 PM

Article image
Election panics, polls and prophecies | Letters
Letters: Guardian readers respond to the news that Britain will once again take to the voting booths on 12 December

Letters

30, Oct, 2019 @6:20 PM

Article image
Tony Blair needs a further period of reflection | Letters
Letters: Readers react to Tony Blair’s advice to ditch Corbynism and the party’s ‘brand of quasi-revolutionary socialism’

Letters

20, Dec, 2019 @5:51 PM

Article image
How to fight the Tories’ electoral dominance | Letters
Letters: Labour must aim for broad appeal with moderate, centre-left policies, says John Mills. However, David Cockayne argues that all opposition parties need to work together for a fairer voting system, while Ken Richardson hopes that people won’t get conned by the rightwing press again

Letters

18, Jan, 2021 @4:30 PM

Article image
Putting fear of Corbyn’s Labour in perspective | Letters
Letters: Readers respond to a piece by Jonathan Freedland in which he asked how Jews can vote for the Labour leader

Letters

11, Nov, 2019 @5:24 PM