When we moved to Cumbria in the middle of 2015 there had just been a general election. I had noted at the time that living in England and having voted and supported the SNP was an odd mix, especially when they directly affected things that I might have been in favour of. This was to be last general election for five years we were constantly told, thanks to a bit of legislation.
In the truth of the matter it comes as no surprise that I hadn't really considered who I'd vote for if there was another one anytime soon. In the three elections since I have been of voting age (2005, aged 19, 2010 aged 24, and 2015 aged 29) I had voted in order Labour, Liberal Democrat, and then the SNP. My evolution of my voting intentions followed directly the maturation of my own personal politics, and in 2014 and then 2015 I supported the SNP. Laterly, I also still supported them in 2016 but didn't get to vote, because I lived in England. Interestingly, in 2011 I didn't vote - living in Texas - and in early 2012 I vote Green Party in the council elections.
So how the hell am I supposed to vote now, in England? I had only recently started looking into the election stuff for the May 4th stuff that is coming up, and now I have to totally sift my thought process away from the usual Westminster thoughts of Scotland and now, as part of the part of country that decides the next UK Prime Minister (that's because England gets more votes than Scotland, obviously) and Scotland has very rarely voted for the Tory governments that they have had.
The truth is I don't really know in all honesty. I have to dissaociate the Labour of England apart from the haphazard bullshittery of the Scottish Labour party, who are more inept than actually dangerous. It goes without saying there is no way I am voting Tory - you know, the Union suporting, Brexit wreaking, lying upperclass shysters that they are. I could vote Green, if there is a candidate. But the truth is that, for the first time, tactical voting has to be considered. If you think about the UK system, it is winner takes all, first past the post, and that means that if I want to stop the Tories I need to pick the next party that will probably get the most votes, and that's absolutely Labour, as the sitting MP is Labour.
This is a problem as there are lots of things about Labour I realy don't agree with. In fact, a lot. So what to do then? Vote to "Stop the Tories" or vote for the party I might agree with the most (which is possibly the Labour party, but also many others). It's a connundrum I never thought about before - knowing that your vote in Scotland is very unlikely to selecting the next Prime Minister (and, unlike many people would have you believe, not stopping someone rom winning, with the old truth that Labour need Scotland to win and that it cost them the election last time being untrue) it frees you a bit to truly choose who you might think does the best locally.
I really have to think about it.
As a side note, it is hard to understand why someone like Jeremy Corbyn voted for the early election - he could have said No, and then let May sweat it out or self-immolate in the Commons. Instead he voted to let them off the hook, for fear of looking like he was running from an election. The point of the law that the Tories enacted themselves was to stop this kind of stuff outright anyway. It's madness.
And as an another side note, it is impressive to see the media spinning up the narrative that any number of seats less than the current SNP total of 54 (56 won in 2015) will not only be a "lost election", but a setback in the terms of the IndyRef 2 they've already voted in the Scottish Parliament. I'm looking to see how that goes, but it already seems like the Tories will "win" with 18% of the seats that the SNP currently have. Watch that carefully.