A little reminder about tactical voting
Compass are consulting their members about whether to advocate tactical voting: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/apr/23/compass-tactical-voting-ballot
Mehdi Hassan at the New Statesman has correctly guessed I wouldn't be impressed: http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/04/tactical-voting-compass-labour
Compass' contemplation of advocating tactical voting is silly on two counts:
a) the Lib Dems have at no point indicated any preference for falling in with Labour in the event of a hung parliament, in fact logic suggests they would have nothing to gain by propping us up if we had just been ejected by the electorate. Therefore helping increase the number of Lib Dem MPs by tactical voting might just be increasing the size of majority of a Con/LD partnership.
b) the only thing that the LDs have said would influence their behaviour in a hung parliament is the "mandate" acquired by the other two parties. Assuming that as PR supporters they mean they will help the party that got most votes to form a government, it is important to ensure that Labour maximises the number of votes we get nationwide, including in seats where we are in third place, as any tactical votes "loaned" to the LDs will not be gratefully acknowledged as such, they'll be used as ammo for suggesting that Labour has less of a "mandate" than the Tories and that therefore the LDs should help Cameron form a government.
Advocating tactical voting is an appalling betrayal of local Labour Parties and PPCs battling away in third-placed seats and a sure-fire way to undermine our activist and local government base in those areas so that we cease to be a national party. It is also often based on dud information - results from 2005 that are five years out of date and in any case notional because of boundary changes are used to try to guess who the main challenger to the Tories is in a given seat. If this criteria had been followed in 1997 tactical voting advocates would have called for a Lib Dem vote in seats like Hastings & Rye which in fact Labour gained from third place.
By the time they have completed their ballot Compass many well find the scenario they are trying to respond to out of date. For instance, if tonight's MORI poll (Con 36% (+4), Lab 30% (+2), LD 23% (-9)) turns out to be the start of a trend rather than a rogue poll, we are back to the tight two-party Lab vs Con fight we saw until the first debate.
Just a gentle reminder to any Labour Party members who are in Compass that if they as individuals publicly advocate tactical voting for other parties they can risk being automatically expelled from the Labour Party under Chapter 2, Rule A 4 B of the Labour Party Rule Book:
"A member of the party who ... supports any candidate who stands against an official Labour candidate ... shall automatically be ineligible to be or remain a party member, subject to the provisions of part Chapter 6 A.2 below of the disciplinary rules."
Where we can identify potential Lib Dem voters as seeing themselves on the centre-left (not all do) we need to be getting them to understand that Clegg has given no assurances that he won't help give the keys to Downing Street to the Tories and that the only unambiguous way to block Tory participation in government is to elect the maximum number of Labour MPs.