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Misguided tactics won’t win in North Shropshire

·3-min read
<span>Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian</span>
Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian

There is a fundamental problem with your editorial (6 December) arguing that “progressives ought to embrace strategic voting with a vengeance next week” and urging Labour voters to back the Liberal Democrats. While Ed Davey has ruled out putting Boris Johnson back in office after the next election, he has not ruled out going into another coalition with a different Conservative leader. Thus, there is no guarantee that voting “for the candidate best placed to dislodge the Tories” will achieve that objective.

The real problem for progressives is the undemocratic voting system used in general elections. If the opposition parties were to pledge to replace it with a fairer system there might be a point in a progressive alliance. Given Labour’s current policy, that seems unlikely, but the alternative is continuing Tory rule on a decreasing minority vote.
Declan O’Neill
Oldham, Greater Manchester

• I am active in the campaign to elect Labour’s excellent candidate, Ben Wood, in the North Shropshire byelection. The Guardian is once again advising Labour voters to vote against their own party. There is no informal agreement for Labour supporters to vote Lib Dem in the upcoming byelection. Labour has been the main challenger to the Conservatives in North Shropshire in every parliamentary election, bar one, since 1997, whereas for most of the last 24 years, the Lib Dems have languished in third place.

You tell Labour voters in North Shropshire to “set aside their tribal loyalty”. Yes, some did in 2010. The Lib Dems briefly edged into second place. Within days of that election, Nick Clegg led his MPs, including their present leader Ed Davey, into their regressive alliance with David Cameron. The Lib Dems closed SureStart, tripled tuition fees and slashed public services.
Davey is hardly “a refugee” from the Johnson government.
David Hallam
Smethwick, West Midlands

• After backing Keir Starmer as Labour leader, the Guardian now advises Labour supporters to vote Lib Dem, even though Labour came second in the last election there. With this liberal opposition, the Conservatives must have difficulty believing their luck. But when we remember the disaster of the 2010 coalition government in imposing austerity and poverty, you must take us for fools.
Dave Green
Northampton

• I am 14 years old and so dismayed by politics at the moment. When I wrote to the Guardian earlier this year (Letters, 10 May), after the local elections, I suggested a simple way forward for Labour – an ABC coalition (Anything But Conservative) to remove a cruel, uncaring and incompetent government. Seven months later, with the recent sleaze episodes, refugees dying in the channel, social care policies that protect the assets of the wealthy and the mismanagement of the pandemic, things are even worse.

With more than 10 other candidates standing in North Shropshire, effectively the vote is being split and the Tories are likely to win again. This is not because they are the party supported by most people, but because the other parties haven’t come together to support one opposition candidate. It pains me to say, but Labour has no chance of winning the byelection next week. So why not invoke the principles of ABC and get behind the Lib Dems … please.
Joseph Walker
Bath

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