Vote tactically not tribally

1983 general election result

Tactical voting

The upcoming General Election is going to be a momentous one for Britain.

We have been gifted a new opportunity to put the brakes on the Brexit process - but it is only going to work if remainers act sensibly and in a coordinated way.

At present, the predictions from all opinion polls are for a Conservative majority, even though the remain parties together have more votes that the Tories. In many ways this is a re-run of the 1983 general election - where a split vote meant that the Tories returned to power with a huge majority in terms of seat numbers, despite not getting an overall majority in terms of their percentage of the vote share.

We have a broken electoral system, which is sort of suited to two parties, but that often leave many voices not heard. But - there are ways around this. We have to vote tactically.

I'm not going to try to re-invent the wheel here, but instead will point you to come good resources.

First of all, head down to the tactical voting site run by Best for Britain and type your postcode. They rely on a lot of recent data and have a fairly clear methodology for how they produce recommendations.

Now, there are other tactical voting sites out there, all with slightly methods. Most of them are fairly good. To review the outcomes of all of them, go to where it lists the results from the different TV sites for each constituency. If they match up them great, you are almost good to go.

No, in some cases things really are on a knife edge or there are different contradictory bits of evidence. Jon Worth has done a lot to document which constituencies these are and explain the issues. On top of this, he has even created videos where he talks through the more problematic constituencies

If you want a bit more background to the whole TV process, this article in Wired gives a good introduction.

So - what should you be doing in Berkshire?

Berkshire for Europe have produced their own handy guide that has been heavily circulated on social media. It can be summarised as:

Constituency Party Candidate
Bracknell No recommendation  
Maidenhead Lib Dem Joshua Reynolds
Newbury Lib Dem Lee Dillon
Reading East Labour Matt Rodda
Reading West Labour Rachel Eden
Slough Labour Tan Dhesi
Windsor Lib Dem Julian Tisi
Wokingham Lib Dem Phillip Lee

Now, that said, not all seats are equal. Some are more marginal than others. No official predictions anticipate Maidenhead or Windsor switching from Tory to another party - but it if people don't make an effort then it will never happen. Similarly, all polling for Slough indicates that Tan Dhesi, a pro second-referendum Labour MP will be returned with a healthy majority. Some people really struggle to vote tactically for all sorts of reasons. If you fall into this category, then voting with your heart and not your head for an anti Tory party in these seats is a less risky option to take than it is in Reading East, Reading West and Wokingham. Another option that some people prefer is to arrange to swap your vote with someone else in another part of the country - so you both get to vote for the party that you want to, but in different areas. Find out more at


Now you know who you should e voting for, it's time to think about what you can do to help some of the election campaigns. Particularly if you are in one of the safer constituencies, it may well make sense to go to help in one of the more marginal ones. Locally, these would be Beaconsfield (where Dominic Grieve is running ass an independent and the Lib Dems have withdrawn), Reading East, Reading West & Wokingham (where former Tory rebel turned Lib Dem Dr Phillip Lee is trying to oust arch-Brexiter John Redwood).

The list below gives more details of who to talk to if you want to help. Remember that on the day of the vote, lots of help is needed to remind people who have previously indicated support to actually get out and vote.

Reading West - Rachel Eden
Rachel's team need urgent help today and getting people to vote tomorrow.  If you get stuck for transport - they can give people lifts. Contact the office.

December 11th -  All Day - Leaflet Distribution
Venue: Labour Reading West HQ,  Access Self Storage, 62 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA.
Contact: Alison 07831 252757
Or, email

December 12th  9am – 10pm.  POLLING DAY READING WEST
There will be a final push to get the Vote out.  We will need people to deliver, do gate duty, knock on doors, and a range of other things.
Venue: Labour Reading West HQ,  Access Self Storage, 62 Portman Road, Reading RG30 1EA.
Contact: Alison 07831 252757
Or,  email

Wokingham - Dr Phillip Lee
Help Dr Phillip Lee’s team get the vote out in Wokingham.  Meet at their polling day hubs from 9.30 onwards, until 10pm, for any time you can spare.  Hubs are at:

Town Hub.  18 Crescent Rd, Wokingham, RG40 2DB
Winnersh and Earley Hub.  4 Mayfields, Sindlesham, Winnersh RG41 5BY

Wokingham is close, with the latest poll showing a small lead for the Conservatives.  We can turn this round with a final effort on the day.  Contact for more information, or just turn-up on the day
Reading West - Matt Rodda
Help Matt with the final phone banking and getting the Vote Out.
TODAY - December 11th  2019 at 6:30-8.30pm  Phone Banking
Length: 1 hr 30 mins
Please bring your phones and if you have one a laptop.  Thanks.
Venue:  Spaces,  9 Greyfriars , Reading RG1 1NU.
Contact:  Rob Sutton. 07434 197606

TOMORROW December 12, 2019 at 9am till 10 pm.  POLLING DAY - READING WEST  
Give any time you can during the day - All day there will be things to do.
Venue: Spaces,  9 Greyfriars, Reading RG1 1NU, United Kingdom
Contact: Rob Sutton: 07434 197606.
Note: If you have offered to help on Polling Day we are updating Rob who holds the overall schedule. Thanks.
December 12th - Reading University – Sports Park Meeting Place
Get the Student Vote Out!  8-10 am and 3.30-5.30 pm.
We need to make sure the Students follow through on their Vote!
If you could help with one or both of these sessions - this would be really appreciated.  Let us know.
We will be meeting at Sports Park, Shinfield Road, Reading RG2 7BN  
Contact:    Caroline  07768 932400 or Simon Jones 07910 423139

Beaconsfield - Dominic Grieve

Email  to find out more details.

Election day!

Finally, its time to actually place your vote (if you haven't already done so by post).

Here's a handy guide modified from one produced by Best for Britain.

  1. First find out where you have to go. Check for details of your polling station on the back of your polling card, or go to
  2. Think about how you are going to get there - If you are in an area where parking is tricky, visit where they are helping out with parking options for many polling stations.
  3. Polls open at 7am across the country and close at 10pm.
  4. If you go at 9:59pm, there might well be queues outside your polling station (we love to leave things to the last minute). But if you join the queue before 10pm, they will let you in to vote.
  5. You don’t need an ID to vote EXCEPT in Northern Ireland.
  6. You also don’t need to bring your polling card.
  7. You can bring your kids into the polling station, but you can’t let them mark your ballot paper.
  8. You can bring your dog, but you’ll have to leave them outside (they’re also not allowed to vote). If you see one there, make sure you post pictures of it online with the #dogsatpollingstations hashtag.
  9. If you’re worried a disability could prevent you from voting tomorrow, there is help available! If you wish, the presiding officer for your polling station can mark your ballot paper for you, or any close family member or support worker who are eligible to vote can come with you into the voting booth. If you cannot enter the polling station due to a disability, the presiding officer is allowed to bring your ballot paper out to you. Large print ballot papers are available to those with visual impairment. There is a dedicated voting helpline for those with learning disabilities, their families and carers at 020 7696 6009.
  10. If you have a postal vote and you haven't sent it off yet, you can bring it to your polling station between 7am and 10pm
  11. You can’t take pictures inside a polling station. But you should definitely take and share a selfie outside the polling station to remind your friends to vote!
  12. Legally, you can vote if you’re drunk. So, don’t worry if you’ve had a few after work, just make sure you put the X in the right box!
  13. You can’t sign your ballot paper. You can’t right messages to candidates either, as it may well lead to your vote not being counted.
  14. Make sure people know you are voting - post about it on social media, tell your friends, rinse and repeat. Don't let anyone who knows you forget that it's election day.

So - now that you know what to do, go out and do it. Research, help out, vote once and vote wisely - but most importantly remember to vote (and to encourage friends and family to do so). Seats can be won by only a handful of votes - every vote makes a difference and turnout from Remain supporters is all important to achieving a good result.