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Wednesday, June 03, 2009 

Vote early, vote often, vote Green, and bash the fash.

It's easy to forget that amidst all the plotting there is an election tomorrow, albeit one that will probably result in a turnout around the 40% mark. For those of us in England, it's a special shame as this is the one election where our vote actually counts: we can vote for a party far more in line with our actual views without knowing that by doing so we're helping those we dislike the most to win.

Even so, you can't exactly say that you're spoilt for choice. Personally, the only parties worth considering are the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, NO2EU and possibly the Socialist Labour Party. The Liberal Democrats are without doubt now the best "big" party, and the one I'll most likely be casting my vote for come the general election. The Greens however are for the most part a breath of fresh air, whom although undoubtedly are rather authoritarian on some measures, and crackpot on alternative medicine, should now be the main home for those who consider themselves even vaguely left-of-centre, at least when it comes to Europe, for the reasons outlined by the (Daily) Maybe and Peter Tatchell. As interesting as NO2EU potentially could be, although I'm hardly much of a fan of Bob Crow, their ridiculous policy of not even sitting in the European parliament if they are elected ought to rule them out. You don't reform something by putting yourself above it. Likewise, the SLP is little more than a vanity project for Arthur Scargill, and while as a protest vote against Labour itself it might be worth a cross, otherwise the Greens are the best party to coalesce around.

The best reason to get out though is to deny the British National Party even the slightest opportunity of gaining any seats. As disenchanted with politics as many are now, the answer is not a party with a leader convicted of inciting racial hatred, whose elected councillors are so useless that they often hardly bother to turn up to the meetings where they are supposed to represent those who voted for them. While we shouldn't panic too much if they do gain a seat, as seems possible, it would still be shameful for the country which fought fascism, albeit too late, to finally succumb to the hatred which is all the BNP has to offer. Voting for any other party, even UKIP or the Christians, is preferable to not turning out when every vote counts. Don't think also that your area is unlikely to vote BNP; I thought they'd do poorly here, but last time round they got over 3,000 more votes than UKIP. The Greens deserve to do well, but anyone other than the BNP will do.

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I await to see how the BNP do with some trepidation.

Is it acceptable to vote Labour if the candidates in a region are actually pretty good?

Good Labour candidates? They still exist?

Not all votes are equally useful in keeping out the BNP. If that's your motivation for voting remember that voting for a party that isn't likely to win a seat does not reduce the BNP's chance of winning a seat.

Nah, the more votes there are the higher the threshold is for gaining a seat. So voting for anyone, even a complete no hoper, increases the number of votes the fascists need for a seat.

Except it doesn't work by quota, each seat is allocated by dividing the number of votes by the number of seats already won plus 1.

If the BNP get 1 / (number of seats available plus 1) of the vote then no matter what other people vote they will get a seat.

But they can still get a seat even if they don't get that high depending on how people vote.

Imagine a hypothetical region with 9 seats and around a million voters

Con 275,600
LD 225,300
UKIP 149,800
Lab 123,100
Green 98,000
BNP 87,500
Others 120,000 (but none higher than 40,000)

Then the BNP would be on 8.1%, less then the 10%+1 they would need to guarantee a seat, but they would end up winning the ninth seat anyway.

Now, take 90,000 of the "Others" and give them 60,000 to Lib Dems, 20,000 to Greens and 10,000 to Labour. Now the Lib Dems would win the final seat. That's why it matters.

Which is why voting Green is an especially good idea; they already have 4 MEPs, and hopefully with the expenses scandal will hold onto those and perhaps grab one or two more, or at least increase their share of the vote.

To be serious Mellomeh, as I'm not always in the middle of the night, if your local Labour candidates are good then there's no reason not to vote for them, as Labour MEPs are often not particularly beholden to the party line anyway, if indeed the ones you like are at the top of the list. Otherwise it's perhaps worth giving the Greens or Lib Dems, or even the other lefties a go.

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