Why Not Vote Tactically?

For people who’d like to vote Green

This post is for would be Green voters. But if your preference happens to be for a different party which has a history of not getting a proportionate number of candidates elected per votes cast, then this is for you too.

Every general election Green voters are bombarded with messages to vote for another party. Teams of people argue why on social media. Every general election is special for some unique reason and so, just this once, voters need to vote for someone they don’t really like, because the candidate/party they don’t really like happens to be less objectionable than the candidate most likely to win. So this year, in 2019, this Thursday, this general election is special because we are told that we are not really voting for our own area’s candidates on the ballot paper at all: we are voting for or against “Brexit”. The two main parties principal messages are about their opposite leader (as if that really made a difference outside their constituencies).

Even people who are not absorbed in the detail know this is not OK.

If you live in a safe constituency

If the last winning majority was, say, over 2,000 votes, you can vote for your favourite candidate full stop.

This is because how you vote simply won’t make any difference to the result.

If you live in a marginal

You might have to think rather more carefully. But of course 2,000 is just a random number. There are levels of marginality and you need to decide where to draw the line in your constituency. Go here to see the effect of marginality across the country and in your area.

If you want to vote tactically

You also need to understand why you are doing it. People who are not sufficiently well informed are highly vulnerable to manipulation and misdirection. Check what you believe is true. Check your own reasoning:

    • Are you wanting to stop the Tories?
    • Are you wanting to ensure the UK remains in the EU?

Depending on what your objective is, a tactical vote might or might not make sense. Here is a comparison, on one tactical voting website, of other websites.  However, it makes no sense to simply take any website’s advice. Who runs the site and why are they putting time and resources into it? Which organisations run or promote them? What is motivating them?

But let us suppose that despite doing all of the above a tactical vote or voting for your favourite party are still options for you.

Which to choose? How to decide? What are the ramifications?

    • Could you really tip the result?
    • How does your tactical option benefit the party which gets your tactical vote?
    • How does your decision not to vote with your heart affect the party you really love?

Is it really only about one vote this time?

Are you happy to deprive your favourite party of:

    • encouragement
    • support
    • finance – they may lose future income in the form of “short money”
    • their deposit (£500 per constituency is only returned by the government to candidates who win over 5% of votes cast)

The UK voting system needs reform so that people are free to make a genuine vote rather than a so called tactical one.

One tactical vote or two million tactical votes will not fix broken First Past The Post. It doesn’t matter how well informed your vote is: how crafty you are. On your own you can’t stop people being misled by people who benefit from people being misled any more than I can. (But you could share this post.)

Neither The Labour Party nor The Conservative & Unionist Party are interested in any form of voting system reform. If you vote for either of them you are supporting and entrenching the problematic First Past The Post voting system. It makes no sense at all to vote tactically to benefit either of them.

The deposit system was brought in to deter candidates who were not serious. What The Green Party stands for should not cost us so much, but while it still does, we need all the votes we can get.

In conclusion
    1. Vote Green on Thursday
    2. Donate to us to keep us standing and communicating
    3. Thank you for reading so far. Here is a window poster you can download.
Select and download your own Vote Green window poster



To people voting in the 2019 European Election

Fiona Radic in Norwich on the St Julian Bridge in the city centre

“I am thrilled to be standing in May 2019 for election in an unexpected European election with a simply outstanding team of candidates, any of whom would make a wonderful Member of the European Parliament.

We want to offer people across the East region the opportunity to

  • confront and tackle climate chaos
  • protect the beautiful land we walk on and depend upon for our sustenance
  • localise our economies & reduce our supply chains and our food and commuting mileages
  • reform government (yes: European as well). Democratic deficiencies open up cracks and we have crises of trust. So while people feel that they are being exposed to economic, climatic and political threats, voters are furious that their wishes as expressed at the ballot box are disregarded when they can see that politicians have no choice but to work together and across party lines.”

Fiona Radic stood for parliament in 2010 and celebrated a decade of campaigning with the Green Party by standing again in 2017’s snap election. She helped manage the successful Green Mayor Campaign in which Julie Howell kept her deposit, polling over 9% of first preference votes in Peterborough and proving strong core support in a city with strong environmental ambition. Julie Howell was subsequently elected to the city council in 2018 as Peterborough’s first Green city councillor.

Fiona campaigned to remain in the EU during the referendum and previously stood for election in East Region to the European Parliament in 2014. 

“My family is international in its connections and outlook. The EU referendum was divisive and profoundly destructive. It caused alarm and dismay at a time of unprecedented international economic stress and political upheaval. I stand firmly with those whose rights and relationships – personal and business – are being overlooked by the state. People are not bargaining chips. It isn’t acceptable for politicians to play to the gallery by discarding peoples’ hard won rights. It is one thing for the state to assert its right to govern itself (even if that right was never endangered). It is entirely another to put our current economic system at risk, and to threaten family life. And not just family life. Businesses are also being rocked by incompetent and self interested styles of government. If we are to leave the EU, let us be sure to make that a sensible and constructive process and make full use of Green Party thinking on local decision making and empowerment. But I am now absolutely sure that the decision about leaving the EU was founded on shoddy information and that those in power will have to give voters a sensible and fully informed choice. Of course voters will be cross: they are entitled to be furious. But fake news, anger and fear are not sound bases for complicated and difficult decisions and those who whipped it up should be ashamed of themselves and I hope that in this extraordinary European election which nobody thought would happen, that voters will hold them accountable by casting their vote for the Green Party.”

Fiona has campaigned on the NHS, on transport, planning and infrastructure, on nuclear power and Trident, air quality, green spaces, social justice and equality, maternity services and housing. Fiona has worked in universities, in companies massive and tiny in the financial and telecoms sectors and also as an unpaid activist and volunteer.

Photos for use by press (high resolution)  password available to press:  Contact me

Contact our Press Officer  link in preparation

You can read more about the list of candidates and how to support our campaign here

Contact the Green European Parliament candidate list.  link in preparation

Let’s Elect Catherine!


I am delighted to introduce Catherine:

Eastern Green Party Crowdfunder from Daniel on Vimeo.

The Green Party is the East of England’s Remain Party and the UK’s biggest pro-European party in the European Parliament.

We have launched our campaign to mobilise one of the strongest pro-European movements anywhere on the continent. Our campaign is proudly standing up for free movement, for gold standard climate action and for the rights of all Europeans. Now is the time to decide what kind of Britain we want to have and what our values are.

We are asking you to #JoinOurCrowd of backers.

If we can grow our fundraising crowd big enough we will raise enough to leaflet every home in the region (yes: that is millions!), and we will be able also to fund a social media campaign to ensure that everybody can see what we are standing for in this election. By all means give us a big donation. Or if you can’t do that, give us a small donation: whatever you can afford. But please whatever you can or can’t do in the way of money, please give us a share. Sharing will take this post to people not in my social media network already and if they also share to people we’ve never reached before. Please share this with people you think might be delighted to support our hard working team to win our first seat in Eastern. So important for our region to bring European Green cooperation, constructiveness and creativity into our part of the world.

Join us: help us: we can make this happen.
  • If 150 people gave just £350 we’d hit our target.
  • If just 70 people gave us £500 we’d hit our target.
  • If 35 people gave us £1,000 we’d hit our target.

Go here to find out how the Crowdfunder is doing:


And for more about our candidates in Eastern Region and our campaign:


My response to Charles Swift OBE’s counsel of despair

This is the speech I delivered to residents and activists at Park Ward Hustings on 15th April in the run up to the local elections on May 3rd – this is the uncut version

We live in Park Ward so we live in the heart of Peterborough

I am delighted to be standing again in Park Ward this year. I live in the middle of the ward and this is Peterborough’s heart. So many things begin here, so many children come here to school and then to college and the whole ward is wrapped around Central Park, laid out by the Peterborough Land Company as a gated garden, though when that private initiative collapsed quickly converted by the then local authority into a breathing space for the free use of residents of what was then a bustling, industrious and densely populated area. Also, the ward (which almost exactly follows the All Saints parochial parish council boundary) is heart shaped.

How Park Ward seemed thirty years ago

When we moved here, I didn’t know much about this area at all. Two things impressed me. I’d never seen people so down at heel: one day I walked along behind an elderly couple who were both wearing shoes with no heels left at all and worn out soles. I’d never seen anything like it.

The other very remarkable thing was the cleanliness of the homes and streets. Despite having some very very deprived streets, this ward was clean and tidy as a pin. I’d come from a much bigger city and felt I was somewhere green, clean and very proud of itself. When I first went doorknocking over ten years ago, people wanted to invite me into their yards and show me how they were managing their recycling. Peterborough had big green recycling boxes then and people would wash their plastics before putting them safely under heavier items, so that recycled waste did not blow around.

This area was full of beautiful front gardens: cars were parked on drives and on the street, not all over the garden. Back gardens, park gardens and allotment gardens were tended with skill, time and patience. There was time for our gardens then. You can still find some magical gardens here, but so many have been paved and converted into car storage spaces. With the loss of jobs with decent terms and conditions has come a loss of leisure time.

How the rot set in

Now I know that what I was seeing was the achievement of the Peterborough Development Corporation (PDC ) and Peterborough City Council (PCC) was a local authority which was still funded to run services fairly well. But although I couldn’t see it, rot had already set in. The PDC was already not able to leave a funding legacy to enable the city council to look after the landscape it created. The Conservatives preventing local councils from building council homes and Labour doing nothing despite three terms in government to put it right. Deregulation creating economic turbulence, financial crashes, disappearing investment markets and pensions. All that fuelled a new generation of private slum landlord, the worst of them using property primarily as a personal financial investment and not seeing a rented home as first and foremost a social good. Housing became a source of extreme insecurity and vulnerability as decent jobs with proper pensions became a thing of the past.

The big squeeze on local authority funding puts the city council itself at risk

Charles Swift OBE today eloquently describes the pickle the council is in and councillors themselves are finally waking up and realising that they need to fight for the city, and for local government itself. We’ve seen Northamptonshire County Council collapse and Peterborough may not be so far behind.

Julie Howell, the Green Party’s mayoral candidate for the Combined Authority of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough (which includes Huntingdonshire) went to the Treasury in the snow to protest the underfunding of Peterborough.

Loyalty to party has made local councillors insufficiently critical of national governments and blinded them to the risks posed by councils which cannot afford to do what they want to do, even what they have to do. At the moment in Peterborough, our Westminster government is not our friend. It is less accountable to us than the EU and it is less aware of and less articulate about our problems. At last our local councillors have woken up to the shabby disproportionate underfunding of this city.

Fit for purpose waste management

As a Green I want to bring back the neighbourhood as a place people can feel comfortable in and proud of. This is our home and nobody enjoys the neglect our area currently suffers. Fly tip and domestic waste flying around in the wind is not a necessary or inevitable part of living here. We urgently need to get the place feeling like home again. We need a waste strategy which works for every single resident, whether they have physical strength and a car or not.

Bring back gardening

I’d like Park Ward to develop its own gardens project to bring horticulture back into our lives and to feature and promote the beautiful gardens we still have and encourage people to create more. This could be set up to support mental, social and physical wellbeing and I am absolutely delighted that initiatives like this are underway in Peterborough and they can  and I hope they will help people regain a sense of ownership and responsibility for the areas they live in.

Lower limits and speed enforcement

We need to address traffic and speed in the ward. Last time I asked 70 – 80% of people living on Dogsthorpe Road and Park Road wanted speeds reduced to 20mph to give us roads fit for children to walk and cycle to school on. That is why a few of us in Park Ward set up 20’s Plenty for Peterborough. These roads are currently treated as feeders to trunk routes and this has been disastrous for the area and has encouraged very high speeds and extremely dangerous driving.

The council is currently kicking 20’s Plenty campaigns in Peterborough into the long grass: the latest of these is a huge campaign in Werrington which is currently stalled at the council.

Park Ward could use a big public meeting to tackle speeding in the wake of a series of incidents on Park Road, and continuing problems on nearly every road.

Cycle training for all

We need much higher standards of cycling training to improve cylist behaviour and safety. We should expect good behaviour between people, whatever they are riding or driving. I utterly deplore the council’s current obsessive focus on people who bike down Bridge Street while simultaneously doing absolutely nothing about declining standards of driving on the road. We need traffic enforcement, simply because there will always be some drivers who respond to nothing else.

All vehicles everywhere: not just a Bridge Street Bike Ban

I observe cars with odd headlights missing, driving on pavements, ignoring signage prohibiting private cars on Westgate, ignoring give way signs and shoving out into traffic regardless, double parking outside schools, parking on pavements, parking close to corners, reversing out from a side street into a bigger road, driving with one hand on the wheel while eating, talking on a mobile phone or smoking or even all three. Not buckling your children up. Children standing in the footwell instead of being seated. Children sitting on adult’s laps. These things can and do kill. Why won’t the council tackle them? I’ve been told that traffic enforcement officers are now deployed over three counties: that means our police officers may not even be working at all within the whole of Cambridgeshire. Meanwhile PES staff catch and fine people on bicycles. It is shameful. If you come into Peterborough from somewhere else you are likely to be shocked and appalled by the driving standards you encounter here. This is a new phenomenon and everybody knows it doesn’t have to be like this.

Safer streets

I’d like initiatives to get children walking and bicycling to school and this has to start with changing parents’ perception of the hazards presented by our roads. Parents are right to worry: our roads are not safe. It would not be difficult or expensive to make them much safer.

Bringing democracy back

I’d like our public gallery back in the council chamber. This has been closed since Conservative councillor Andy Coles was publicly shamed by demonstrators dropping a banner alleging human rights abuses. He is still a councillor, and since then two more women have come forward and made accusations about his behaviour while he worked as an undercover policeman.

That an ex spycop could be elevated to the unelected position of Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Cambridgeshire (which includes Huntingdonshire) and Peterborough – a position which is set up to keep the police accountable to the people indicates how rotten things are in our county and what a parlous state local politics is in. He did resign from that position instantly, by the way, just not from his city councillor role.

I will never bring you a counsel of despair

I do not despair, though, like Charles Swift does. Apparently not alone he foresees the end of Peterborough City Council.

In the Greens we’ve never deluded ourselves that the systems of government which we have in place were fit for the tasks that lie ahead, especially if those include tackling the biggest single emergency which faces us: that of climate change.

We support grass roots movements which get on with it anyway, like Transition, for example. These initiatives do not rely on our corrupt electoral system to produce the necessary decisions. They just get on with it, and with politics as it is at the moment, that is the only attitude to have.

We’ve always deplored the slanging match of two party politcs. We like Open Space formats, for example, which create a circle and enable smaller but often much more important voices to be heard. We like proportional representation (rather than First Past the Post).

The Greens trust the people. This cannot be overstated. And because this is how we work, we have practical ideas which we ask you to consider and take away.

We are proposing to the people of the city that we parish Peterborough

To you: that we parish Park Ward, possibly creating three civil parishes within the current ward boundary.

To establish civil parishes across the area of the city which presently has none could help us all. I don’t think city councillors can cope with the level of need presented by escalating poverty and complex deprivation. A councillor doing a good job in this ward is having to work absolutely flat out tackling issues many of which could be better handled at a more local level. City councillors are struggling to raise their eyes above fly tip, potholes and dog mess. This is not the way to run a city the size of Peterborough. They’re not looking at housing or homelessness and when they try they find their hands are tied. They are not coping, and this has been engineered by successive decisions at a national level. As inequality increases under government after government, civil parishes could come to the rescue: they can tackle a great many of the things which currently burden our ward councillors and they could help us to get a working and accountable democracy back. If the city council does crash and burn, a civil parish (or three) could take up quite a few of its key functions and would be highly and very locally accountable to us.

A competent parish council (this takes a year or two to achieve!) has available to it remedies and approaches available to it in the Localism Act as well as older powers already vested in parish councils. 


Garden projects near Park Ward – where to start?

Please like on facebook: Creating Sustainable Places    facebook.com/SustainablePECT

The Green Backyard  facebook.com/thegreenbackyard

Olive Branch Community Garden    facebook.com/groups/olivebranchcommunitygarden

Is this Peterborough’s only hustings? 

Local Elections 2018 Hustings in Peterborough

Mon 26 Mar 2018 14:00 – 16:00 Peterborough Pensioners Association Hustings, Centre 68, (behind Westgate Church), Westgate, Peterborough

Sun 15 Apr 2018 19:30 – 21:30 Park Ward Local Election Hustings, All Saints Church Hall, corner of All Saints Road & Park Road, Peterborough

Wed 25 Apr 2018 19:00 – 20:30 Fletton & Stanground Hustings, The Heron

MON   30 Apr 2018 14:00 – 16:00   

Peterborough Pensioners Association Hustings

Centre 68, (behind Westgate Church), Westgate, Peterborough

Cllr FITZGERALD, PEACH & ALLEN claim: Neighbourhood Councils are just as good

No: they’re not, though this is what several city councillors claim. They don’t have the same obligations to meet in public and to publish their minutes, so they are not as accountable. They also don’t have anything like the same powers as a proper PC. 

and that It is expensive to pay a parish clerk

True, though split across every council tax payer who contributes a precept to help run the parish council, this might be very good value for money. With a good parish council and a good professional clerk, you can for example employ people who could supply nursing, policing or waste management services. You can build things, you can maintain things. And you can do that with very tight scrutiny, because locals are entitled to sit in on meetings.

Parish councillors are not paid. And a parish council can avoid many of the overheads which a city council can’t. Parish councils can work with, across and without party politics: they require local activists to work constructively together.