Scottish voters are the most Pro-European in Britain, they should have influence beyond opposition benches

It’s reasonable to ask if there’s any point to tactical voting in this General Election. With Labour so far ahead and Starmer probably picking out new wallpaper to replace Johnson’s gold leaf in Downing Street, the result seems a foregone conclusion. Why then has Best for Britain spent considerable time and resource in launching our tactical voting platform this week?

Primarily because the damage of the last fourteen years will take years to repair. Significant improvements like democratic reforms, repairing our relationship with Europe and meaningful climate action will take even longer. It is vital that this Government is dealt a massive blow at the election to reduce their chance of securing power again after five years. Tactical voting can ensure the Conservatives return the smallest number of MPs possible and prevent Nigel Farage gaining a foothold in Parliament where he will seek to cannibalise the Tories.

'Labour’s lead is, at least in part, already built on tactical voting.'

But also because Labour’s lead is, at least in part, already built on tactical voting. One in five who say they intend to vote Labour, also confirmed they are only doing so tactically. For the Lib Dems, it’s one in three. Telling these people they don’t have to vote tactically will eat into the poll lead of opposition parties and potentially save scores of Tories. And despite this huge appetite for tactical voting among opposition voters, there is no guarantee they know which opposition party is best placed to win in their area.

The Political Studies Association found that only a third of voters know who came second in their seat and research by DeltaPoll found something similar. Tactical voting only works if voters know who the best challenger is and so giving voters the best information is key to dealing this Government a cataclysmic defeat.

On Monday, published tactical recommendations for 451 of the 632 constituencies in Britain that will be fought at this election. These recommendations were made using a combination of the most up-to-date MRP polling, constituency level insights and expert analysis. But why does GetVoting.orgrecommend people vote Labour rather than SNP in some constituencies where neither Reform UK Party Ltd nor the Tories have a hell's chance in winning? It’s a fair question.

'the SNP has reliably and powerfully spoken the truth on Brexit and the damage it is doing both economically and culturally.'

After the devastating 2019 election an unofficial Brexit omerta descended onto the two, if not three main parties in England, while the SNP has reliably and powerfully spoken the truth on Brexit and the damage it is doing both economically and culturally. The valuable contributions of some Labour and Lib Dem politicians, the Greens, Plaid Cymru, the SDLP and Alliance Party notwithstanding, the SNP have often carried the torch for the pro-European movement in the House of Commons.

When Best for Britain set up the UK Trade and Business Commission we found enthusiastic, dedicated and valuable partners in the SNP.  Together, we worked with all parties in Parliament (yes, including the Conservatives and DUP) to gather evidence on the issues created by Boris Johnson’s dud of a Brexit deal and last year, made 114 recommendations on how to begin to fix it. And while even the Conservative Government saw wisdom in some of these proposals (see the Windsor Framework and, belatedly, Horizon Europe), it has always been clear that to end dogmatic divergence, shampoo Britain’s reputation and fully re-engage with our closest neighbours, we needed change at the top. While fully acknowledging the important role the SNP played over the last few years, we also recognise the extremely likely realpolitik of 5 July. 

'tactical voting is just that, a tactic, a means of getting a government that has not so completely soiled itself on all things European'

Far from the ‘Labour shills’ that some have accused us of being, Best for Britain is a fiercely pro-European campaign striving for closer EU-UK ties. For us tactical voting is just that, a tactic, a means of getting a government that has not so completely soiled itself on all things European and seems determined to do it again. The next UK Government will have the unprecedented opportunity and responsibility to rebuild the UK-EU relationship and as the most pro-European nation in the UK, we want this bulk of the Scottish electorate represented in the halls of power, not just on the opposition benches. We want people within the next government and outside it pushing for improvements to the Tories’ damaging Brexit deal. It is why we are recommending people vote Labour, SNP and Lib Dem in Scotland. 

We shouldn’t have to vote tactically. We should all be able to vote for the party we really want to without fearing our vote won't count. It is wrong that a government secure near total power with less than 40% of the vote. But until the electoral system is changed, tactical voting will continue to be a feature of Westminster elections.

Perspective is also important. We are not an opposition party. Our recommendations will help defeat the Conservatives, particularly in marginal seats, but it is the parties themselves that are the decisive factor in determining who wins in each seat. We are not the car manufacturer or driver. In our flawed electoral system activists should think of us as the breakdown cover, a way of getting us safely back home. It’s the job of the next government to ensure Britain passes its next MOT.