Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting


9:00 pm - April 23rd 2010

by Sunny Hundal    


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The left-wing campaign group Compass has tonight sent out an email to its members polling them on whether the organisation should endorse tactical voting in the election.

This move, the first for a left-wing campaign group that was very aligned with Labour, should be applauded.

Firstly, because it is an explicit recognition that New Labour isn’t the only party that can represent progressives.

Secondly, it is in recognition that the political landscape has changed and the Labour party isn’t the only vehicle for change in this country for lefties.

Let’s be clear: Compass are not abandoning the Labour party. But, like the New Statesman, this is an acceptance that right now seeing real-change in our country is more likely to come via a Hung Parliament than simply praying for a Labour victory.

In my view the chances of seeing an outright electoral victory is, according to the polls, now looking impossible. We must start looking at other options.

As a Compass member I’m fully behind this initiative.

The email send to members

Dear Compass member

The Management Committee has decided to ballot the Compass membership on whether or not the organisation should devise a short statement in support of tactical voting in the upcoming general election in order to help stop the Tories from winning. Please vote in this important ballot.

Something seismic could be happening in British politics which reflects the Compass view of a more pluralistic and tolerant progressive democracy. However, while Compass is not affiliated to the Labour Party many Compass members are also members and supporters of Labour.

So should Compass actively promote this new politics by arguing for tactical voting – and calling on people to back the best placed progressive candidate to stop the Conservative candidate and deprive the Conservatives of victory at the general election?

We believe on such a fundamental decision that ultimately it must be you who decides whether or not as an organisation we back tactical voting. Those that preach a new politics must practice a new politics – that’s why your involvement in this decision is so important.

Please find attached a ballot form with the question asking you whether or not Compass should issue a statement endorsing and giving support to tactical voting. If the membership vote ‘yes’ in the ballot, the committee will then devise and issue a short statement that outlines the case for full-scale tactical voting in the forthcoming general election.

In addition we will provide members, supporters and others with a range of information to help them decide how to use their vote to greatest effect. However whilst we will provide information, we will not be specifying how people should vote in certain seats.

As the UK’s most influential centre-left pressure group, with over 30,000 members and supporters across the country, we believe it is absolutely crucial we use all of our influence, to do all we can to stop David Cameron’s same old Tories from winning this general election.

One key factor that would potentially ensure he is not elected Prime Minister is if we can encourage widespread and effective tactical voting. That is why this issue is so important for the future of progressive politics and why we are asking the question.

I urge you to vote now in this ballot and have your say. Whatever the outcome we will respect your wishes – it is ultimately your choice and we will not tell you how you should vote.

Please spend less than 5 minutes of your time to take part. Thank you for your valuable time and involvement.

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About the author
Sunny Hundal is editor of LC. Also: on Twitter, at Pickled Politics and Guardian CIF.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Our democracy ,Reform ,Westminster

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Reader comments


Yes, this is very good.
But what is really needed is for Compass to admit people who are members of other political Parties. Until it does that, it will only ever be, in truth, a Labour faction.
Waddaysay, Neal? Or you up for making this change, soon after the election?

‘ang on. Sunny says “as a Compass member”, I thought, as does Rupert, that Compass was Labour members only; thought you weren’t a member Sunny?

And I forgot to hit that box again.

I think Compass will admit members of the Labour party, or of none, as members.

Anyone else can come along, but they get the cheap seats at the back.

Rupert Read, why have you fed the right-wing Tory-supporting right-wing press onslaught on the Lib Dems? They once said something nasty about you, and so you helped out the Telegraph with its race-baiting smears? How does it feel to line up with Murdoch and Rebekah Wade and Paul Dacre?

Or are you just bitter that now everyone is ignoring the poor ickle Greens, in favour of the Lib Dems?

You can join Compass if you are a member of no party or of the Labour party.

It’s funny to see the Greens trying to use entryist tactics to control Compass.

Sorry.

I am still a member (although I did say I wanted to end my membership), so got this email.

But I was fed up with Compass refusing to recognise parties that actually carried out what they called for at the expense of dry humping the moribund Blairite project.

Either Compass wants to support parties who carry out their agenda, or they are happy being the sane ones against New Labour. To me it a opposition mentality but in a think tank.

The fact is that Compass’ agenda is simply not going to happen under New Labour. We not have other parties of the left in Government in Wales and Scotland and hopefully our first Green MP soon. Being a Labour front is fine, but admit that you want those policies to be carried out by Labour, not that you want those policies carried out full stop.

Funny, I share an office with Ann Black, current chair of Labour’s NEC, and when I was chattering with her a few weeks ago about how I was going to speak at the Oxford University Speak Easy group and told her it was a joint group arranged by the Oxford Libertarian Society, Oxford University Lib Dems and Compass Youth Oxford thinking she’d be impressed at us getting Labour Lib and Libertarian joint events (I was speaking about Mutualism), she kind of disagreed that Compass was “one of Labour’s”.

She seemed to feel Compass weren’y terribly Labour aligned, that there was something about someone’s partner – maybe Neal Lawson’s, or Gavin Hayes’, that she was some Lib Dem officer. Anyway – I don’t really recall it all now, but if it is a view on the NEC that they’re not *really* a Labour group, it’s not what I had assumed!

Completely off target,

Can I just say how much better this place is since the upgrade?

Just saying..

Does anyone else find the deathbed conversion of so many in the Labor party (new or old) unconvincing?

MartinB: What a silly couple of comments.
i) The Libdem tactics against me and the Greens in the Euro elections were not ‘one’ isolated incident – they are standard LibDem practice. That practice is disgraceful, and fully deserves to be denounced wherever and whenever it appears. One cannot take seriously the LibDems’ alleged interest in cleaning up British politics until they clean up their own act. That means no longer putting out leaflets in other Parties’ colours designed to confuse voters, no longer using distorted graphs, no longer saying ‘It’s a 2 horse race’ when it isn’t, etc etc etc. The way that the LibDems campaign debases politics, every day.
ii) Greens are not trying to ‘control’ Compass or use ‘entryism’! The news that Sunny brings us in his post above is welcome; but it will be of marginal interest to British politics so long as Compass remains in effect a Labour faction, closed to other Parties whose members are involved in ‘Liberal Conspiracy’ etc. The really radical step would be to permit Greens, LibDems, Respectites, Scots Nats etc to join. Then we would be able to talk about a realignment of progressive politics in Britain.

The Libdem tactics against me and the Greens in the Euro elections were not ‘one’ isolated incident – they are standard LibDem practice. That practice is disgraceful, and fully deserves to be denounced wherever and whenever it appears. One cannot take seriously the LibDems’ alleged interest in cleaning up British politics until they clean up their own act. That means no longer putting out leaflets in other Parties’ colours designed to confuse voters, no longer using distorted graphs, no longer saying ‘It’s a 2 horse race’ when it isn’t, etc etc etc. The way that the LibDems campaign debases politics, every day.

Politics cannot be debased. The urge and determination to put ones self into positions of power over others and their resources is humankind at its most base. It is time that soi-dissant “progressives” recognised this and withdrew their consent from this “great game” of dominion over others both as would be dominators and as willingly dominated.

Pretending that there is any such thing as “fair play” in the race to grab as much as other peoples’ resources as one can to distribute as one wishes is pure fiction. The fact that such simple ploys as using different coloured paper or ink actually appear to have any effect at all on the outcome merely shows that so many people hold the whole thing in either contempt or disinterest that they cannot even be bothered to read properly what’s on that paper in that ink.

There are electoral rules against passing off. If the Lib Dems’ actions broke those rules do you not think they would have been called out on it before now, legally – as you say, it is a pretty widespread tactic? And there is no shortage of people with such a determination for power over others that would test those laws all over the country. I’m afraid, if they don’t break the rules, you should probably stop complaining as if this is some gentlemanly pursuit. It is not. It is about power. About ruling over others. About stealing from others. And even about killing others.

Forget it – you’re all perfectly intelligent on here. You don’t need power. You need emancipation!

13. Martin Ball

Rupert Read the clean politics campaigner:

http://www.libdemvoice.org/rupert-read-norwich-north-15499.html

“Last year, Rupert Read accused a Liberal Democrat councillor, Judith Lubbock, of perjuring herself more than once. Given that perjury is a serious offence which can result in someone being jailed (see Jeffrey Archer), this is a pretty serious allegation. It was also wholly untrue.

Rupert Read subsequently had to apologise and withdraw the allegations he had made.”

What was that about dirty tricks and smears?

There was also a lot of mud thrown last year in the Green Party external elections:

http://another-green-world.blogspot.com/2009/08/statement-from-electoral-returning.html

I recall once reading something about a plank, a beam, a mote, an eye…?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/aug/13/hugh-muir-diary

“Former Green Party principle spokesman Derek Wall said on his blog: I have been amazed by how much mud has been thrown at Tracy Dighton-Brown the current External comms member of the Green Party Executive.”

Hmm. You see, the problem with attacking the Lib Dems for using dirty tricks is that when you get smeared, your own record of less-than-clean politics is exposed.

14. Martin Ball
15. Rob Safar

You may already know, but 38 Degrees are hosting an interesting poll to see what the public thinks we should do in this situation. So far, a progressive majority government is ranking second.

See and vote here:
http://38degrees.org.uk/what-next


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Lee Chalmers

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  2. Gaby Hinsliff

    this matters. i think tactical voting is next big issue of campaign RT @libcon Compass polls members on t/voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  3. Bin27

    RT @libcon: Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  4. Freda Andrews

    RT @libcon Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  5. Amanda Ramsay

    RT @gabyhinsliff: this matters. i think tactical voting is next big issue of campaign RT @libcon Compass polls members on t/voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  6. ross gow

    tactical voting an increasingly key issue RT @libcon Compass polls members on t/voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  7. Liberal Conspiracy

    Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  8. House Of Twits

    RT @libcon Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  9. sunny hundal

    Exclusive: Left campaign group Compass polls members to endorse tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm – significant

  10. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by libcon: Exclusive: Compass polls members on Hung Parliament and tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm

  11. Tom Major

    RT @pickledpolitics: Exclusive: Left campaign group Compass polls members to endorse tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm – significant

  12. Sleepwalking into oblivion….. «

    […] into oblivion….. 23 04 2010 Sunny Hundal, writing on Liberal Conspiracy, writes in support of the Compass proposals to encourage tactical voting. Supporters of non-tribal […]

  13. Kasch Wilder

    RT @pickledpolitics: Exclusive: Left campaign group Compass polls members to endorse tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm – significant

  14. Adamlapthorn

    RT @KaschWilder: RT @pickledpolitics: Exclusive: Left campaign group Compass polls members to endorse tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm – significant

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    RT @KaschWilder: RT @pickledpolitics: Exclusive: Left campaign group Compass polls members to endorse tactical voting http://bit.ly/dknkpm – significant

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