Let me start with three quotes from three different local party activists reflecting on the outcome of the election:
Green party campaigner:
Had LibDems stood down in Camborne/Redruth and in Newquay/St Austell and had Labour stood down in St Ives and in N.Cornwall, the Tories would have lost 4 seats and Jeremy Corbyn would now be leading a minority government with a good chance of a PR election next time.
Only MK and the Greens made the brave decision to stand aside despite being offered ‘absolutely nothing’ in return. And that decision has cost us dearly: financially, in vote share and yes, even in membership losses.
I’m afraid I just don’t see an alliance happening (much to my immense frustration) as Labour and LibDems are too bloody short-sighted to act in the best interests of the country. Always putting their own needs first.
Until Labour and LibDems in Cornwall can open their eyes to the bigger picture, the result we saw on Thursday is the absolute best they can EVER hope for. The ball is in their court, but they seem determined to keep whacking it into the net.
Liberal Democrat campaigner:
The narrative from the election – which seems increasingly to be accepted as fact – is that the Lib Dem and Green votes collapsed, whereas the reality is surely that many people across the country from both parties lent their votes to Labour. Sadly, the progressive alliance only seemed to work in one direction! The Lib Dems and Greens may not be so keen to give their support to Labour candidates next time.
Labour party campaigner:
Whilst canvassing I met a lot of Libdems and Greens who were tactically voting for us. The problem is convincing my fellow Labour Party activists
None of these people know each other. All were campaigning in different constituencies in Cornwall for different parties yet all got the strong sense that tactical voting was a key factor in this election, one that could have changed the outcome in Cornwall and nationally – had the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties followed the example of the Greens.
Pie chart showing the proportion of votes to each party
Cornish Vote broken down by constituency
This is divided into two sections:
- the progressive vote vs Conservative
- the actual breakdown of votes for each party.
Progressive vote: armed with better quality polling data and a willingness to do deals, progressive parties could have taken four out of the six constituencies.
The actual breakdown of votes for each party are as follows.
Please note that the increase/decrease symbol refers to the size of the voting cake in a given constituency. For example Labour in St Ives increased their vote well over 50% but their share of the overall constituency vote only increased by 4.9% compared to the 2015 elections. That is because the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats also increased their share of the votes
This website wrongly directed people to vote tactically based on the Tactical 2017 website. This cost vital votes for Labour particularly in Truro and Falmouth.
The advice given on this website was based on the Tactical2017 website. Not all tactical votes went to the wrong party but clearly some did.
Had Labour and Liberal Democrats responded to the leadership shown by the Green Party, a nationwide Progressive Alliance could have seen Corbyn as PM with an estimated 100 seat majority
Jeremy Corbyn fought a brilliant election and Theresa May a very bad one. That, and the grassroots mobilisation spearheaded by Momentum helped a dramatic Labour surge. However this overlooks the decisive role of the Green Party in standing down in 24 Marginal seats to avoid splitting the vote and allow Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates to be the main challenger to the Conservatives. In Cornwall they stood down in three seats. In either case they got very little in return.
The Conservative majority in St Ives was just 312 and in Richmond Park (for the loathsome Zac Goldsmith) a paltry 45 votes. In both seats, where it has never been victorious in its 177 year history, Labour accrued more than 5,000 votes in vain. If a tenth of those votes had gone to the Liberal Democrats, Theresa May would no longer be in Downing Street. With just two fewer MPs she would’ve been short of a majority regardless of DUP support.
If Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens had formed a perfect non-aggression pact in the general election, Jeremy Corbyn would be Prime Minister.
The idea of a liberal or ‘progressive’ alliance is one that has been championed by Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the Green Party, for the past couple of years.
In essence, it would involve Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the Greens agreeing not to field candidates against each other in certain seats in an effort to have as many liberal MPs in Parliament as possible.
While such a pact would not have prevented a Conservative government in 2015, an analysis by The Telegraph shows that it would have made a difference this time round – even if UKIP had stood aside for the Conservatives as well.
In seat after seat, progressive votes were wasted, because of our broken electoral system. If every progressive voter had placed their X tactically to defeat the Tories then Jeremy Corbyn would now be prime minister with a majority of over 100.
Tactical voting is here to stay – until we get PR
Tactical voting will not go away. Labour are rightly elated at the mortal blow they have struck against the abhorrent policies of a heartless government. People are desperate for change and will vote tactically again – but they will be wary of their vote being taken for granted, and alienated by poisonous party tribalism that sees Labour and Liberal Democrats attack and undermine each other at a time of great national need.
The Conservatives will play a better hand next time round
Do not underestimate the tenacity of the Conservatives to hold on to power. They won an election in 2010 on the back of a banking crisis that should have seen an end to neoliberal economics and an unregulated financial system. Instead they cleverly positioned Labour as the party to blame for the recession, a myth still believed today by a significant proportion of the public. They won again in 2015 despite five years of punishing austerity and cuts to public services and the welfare state. And they won just enough votes in the June election despite an awful manifesto and a dire performance by Theresa May.
Next time round, a general election will be fought by a more confident and charismatic Conservative leader, armed with a more attractive and carefully costed manifesto, who will seek to win back the UKIP vote and play on the discord between centre left parties. Nothing can be taken for granted, least of all those from other parties who worked to help Labour win – and from tactical voters who expect something in return.