Sunday, April 03, 2005

Tactical Voting

The election results for Bradford West from 2001 were as follows:

Marsha Singh, Labour 18,401
Mohammed Riaz, Conservative 14,236
John Robinson, Green Party 2,672
Rauf Khan, Liberal Democrat 2,437


This year, Marsha Singh is re-standing as the Labour candidate. Haroon Rashid is the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate (PPC) for the Conservatives, and the Liberal Democrats are proposing Mukhtar Ali as the Liberal candidate.

Haroon Rashid has been put through a difficult year. He was standing for the position of PPC for the Conservatives. He won the nomination but then allegations were leaked to a national newspaper about persons voting for him while they were no longer alive. These allegations were later found to be untrue and Haroon was exonerated by a nationally instigated Conservative party internal investigation. He is now the official Conservative candidate for Bradford West. Mukhtar Ali used to be a Labour councillor but has since joined the Liberal Democrats. The Iraq war has played a part in his change of allegiance. He is, like Haroon, a strong candidate.

In my previous post, I suggested that the Liberal Democrat party has the policies most suited to Muslim needs and values. I suggested at the end of the post that some Muslims may need to consider voting tactically. As can be seen from the figures above, the swing required for a Liberal Democrat victory is about 8,000 voters. This makes a Liberal Democrat victory unlikely. It is for this reason that I would not argue against voting for Haroon. He requires a swing of about 2,000 voters, this is much more likely. Bradford West, above all else, irrespective of faith and race, needs a strong MP.

Furthermore, it may be the case in certain constituencies that the candidate holds views against the party. For example, a Tory candidate could be anti-war, or a Liberal Democrat could be anti-high taxation. Again, because of this one needs to approach the candidate to question their exact view on the issues that matter and then vote accordingly.

The problem with the Labour party is that it has an administration which seeks to choose neutered candidates who are not allowed to ‘go off-message’. For a place like Bradford, this has serious consequences. A city suffering from major economic decline and community cohesion issues requires strong leadership which exhibits competence, professionalism and strategic thinking that will aide the upliftment of the city as a whole. Let us hope that this general election will return strong candidates to the House of Commons.