Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

The Potency of Protest Votes

I cannot say for certain, but there is definitely a protest vote at work here too. I can only advise voters to be careful that their protest does not have unforeseen consequences.
Julian’s musings 21 February 2015 Anyone but UKIP.

Sometimes if protest votes (previously for Lib Dems, Greens or BNP) are ignored, voters might choose to give their protest vote to someone who scares those “elite parties” that seem to have an effective monopoly on ineffective government. The prospect of “unforeseen consequences” (particularly in the eyes those “elite parties”) just makes the protest look more potent.

You write letters – and are ignored
You march – and are ignored
You riot – and things start to change

You “protest” vote Lib Dem – and are ignored
You “protest” vote BNP – and are ignored
You “protest” vote UKIP – even the threat of doing so makes the Tories change and Labour “trim”!

If you don’t support the elites, your options are fairly restricted. The two main ones are not engaging in the process and not voting, or holding your nose and voting for something unsavoury. After all if you don’t support the elites – you probably view them as rather unsavoury already.

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