Toby Young abandons Tory/UKIP tactical vote swap campaign

Writing in The Spectator, Toby Young says:

This time last year, I wrote an article saying my main project in 2014 would be to unite the right. That is, I would start a political movement that would bring together Conservative and Ukip activists in a tactical voting alliance. We would select a few dozen battleground constituencies and campaign for whichever candidate was best placed to win in each seat, whether Ukip or Tory. The name for this movement was to be ‘Country Before Party’…

Both [Tory and Ukip] camps told me that they would do very well at the next election without any help from the other, thank you very much. They also maintained that any hint of an alliance, however informal, would antagonise huge swaths of their supporters and they’d end up losing more votes than they’d gain.

I pushed back on these points, but there was something else going on that was harder to argue with — a kind of tribal antipathy…

So in 2015 I’m going to confine my New Year’s resolutions to drinking less and losing a few pounds. Trying to make a decisive intervention in the next general election is a little too ambitious.

Although organised Tory/Ukip vote swapping might harm the Liberal Democrats in some places, and despite the problems outlined by Harry Phibbs on ConHome, it’s a shame to see this plan fold as under first-past-the-post tactical voting is often the best way for a voter to turn their overall mix of political views into a mark on the ballot paper which is effective at delivering on them.

More, not less, tactical voting is a good thing under the voting system we have.

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