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150201wastedvote

Anyone voting Green (or failing to vote) in a seat that Labour can win but the Greens cannot will in part be responsible for the consequences of a future Conservative government, writes Professor Simon Wren-Lewis in his latest Mainly Macro post.

Syriza has won the Greek election, which is the result I hoped for. For some this heralds the death of neoliberalism. To celebrate, George Monbiot – whose journalism consistently tells me more than most other journalists – says that here in the UK we should no longer vote tactically, but instead vote for what we want. What dangerous nonsense!

Anyone who votes Green in any seat where Labour has a chance to win, aside from maybe a few seats where the Greens have a chance (more realistically one or two), is voting for a Conservative government… (Not voting in a seat Labour has a chance to win is almost as bad.) This is going to be a tight election, so it matters.

There is a huge difference between Labour and Conservative fiscal plans beyond 2015. It is quite possible that we will see very little additional fiscal tightening under Labour, and a lot more public investment.

Monbiot says “Fearful voting shifts the whole polity to the right.” Where is the evidence for that? Neoliberalism did not triumph because the left decided to compromise. Yes Greece voted for Syriza, but only when half of its young people were stuck in unemployment. Is that the future that he hopes for by abandoning tactical voting?

Monbiot described voting No in the Scottish referendum as “an astonishing act of self-harm”: no matter that the SNP tried to deceive the electorate that they would at all times be better off independent; a sorry claim given what has subsequently happened to the oil price. No doubt some said in 2010 that a future Labour government would be much the same as a Conservative government.

This is an article that re-states many of the themes Vox Political has been exploring over the last few weeks: The victory of Syriza and its implications for the future; the realities of voting Green in the UK; the facts about Labour policy; and the deceptions of the Scottish Nationalist Party.

Please visit Mainly Macro for the important details.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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