Letter: A tactical vote is a negative vote

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The Independent Online
Sir: I was both saddened and somewhat amused by Bruce Kent's letter (21 April) attacking Vanessa Redgrave for her intention to vote Liberal Democrat.

It is sad to see Bruce Kent reduced to supporting "tactical" voting. I admired him as a passionate and articulate campaigner for CND in the Eighties who put principles before pragmatism and played a prominent role in the opposition to Conservative defence policies.

Tactical voting is better described as negative voting, where voters are asked to put their views to one side and vote to stop another candidate from winning. It rests on a series of questionable assumptions about voting behaviour and the ability of forecasters such as Mr Kent (and Mystic Meg, perhaps) to predict the outcome in any constituency.


London E10