Has Ben Tallis made a huge mistake?
The above video I found courtesy of a friend who directed me to http://www.stopnickgriffin.org – it’s message is clear: Vote Green as the best chance to stop Nick Griffin from being elected. Clearly, this was a compelling argument for at least one person, as Ben Tallis (top of the list for Libertas in the North West) has announced that he is endorsing the Green Party in his region.
I think this argument is completely wrong-headed. The results from 2004 had the parties in the following order: Labour (27.4%), Conservative (24.2%), Lib Dem (15.9%), UKIP (11.7%), BNP (6.4%), Green (5.6%) followed by others (8.8%). For the Green Party to deprive the BNP of the 8th North West seat would likely mean beating the Green Party into 5th place in the region, which I do not think to be likely.
There are only a certain number of plausible permutations of vote that will prevent the BNP from winning a seat, assuming they can keep their 5th place in the North West. A seat breakdown of 3-2-2-1, 2-2-2-2, or perhaps 3-3-1-1 would stop the BNP from getting a seat – this means that either both Labour and the Conservatives need to win 3/8 seats, or the Lib Dems need keep their two seats. Both scenarios mean that the BNP must be kept out of fourth place by UKIP, who need to win at least one seat if not two.
For both Labour and the Conservatives to win three seats apiece requires neither of them to fall short of their 2004 results, which I think is highly unlikely in current climate, so the 3-3-1-1 option is the most difficult to engineer. If anti-BNP voters want this, they should probably vote Labour, but I doubt it would actually happen. Similarly, for a 2-2-2-2 split UKIP in 4th would need to get double the share of the BNP in 5th – again, this could be something of a stretch, but anti-BNP voters should therefore support UKIP.
The most likely scenario in which the BNP are deprived of a seat is in the 3-2-2-1 scenario, which means the Lib Dems retaining 2 seats. This means that the Lib Dems would need to get more than twice the vote share of fifth placed BNP. This is possible, given that they were well over twice the BNP vote last time.
What would a vote for the Greens achieve in the North West? Well unlike Libertas, Jury Team, or NO2EU, the Greens are not an anti-politics force who are likely to divert dissatisfied voters away from the BNP. Whereas those parties as a ‘protest vote’ could draw votes from not-yet-BNP voters, the Greens I would expect to draw votes from left leaning voters who would otherwise support Labour or the Lib Dems. Unless they could overtake the BNP for 5th place, a vote for the Greens actually works against the permutations that would prevent Nick Griffin from becoming an MEP.
So could the Greens overtake the BNP in the North West? I think not. I suspect their USP was somewhat damaged by the eagerness of David Cameron to embrace the environmental agenda early in his leadership – which forced the other parties to burnish their green credentials too. Also, whilst environmentalism might seem like an attractive policy in happier economic times, I suspect that the action demanded by econological groups might be less appealing to people in harder times.
I don’t think the BNP are certain to get Nick Griffin elected by any means – maybe a little shorter than evens – but anyone who thinks that voting Green is the best strategy to stop him is (IMNSHO) psephologically deluded.
Sorry about the problems, a firewall has malfunctioned at 1and1 (our hosting company) and has been denying all access to the site. They are working to solve the problem, but there may still be some issues this evening.