uKippered – need an Alternative?

So a Tory campaign group lead by Michael Fabricant is recommending an electoral pact with UKIP (BBC News 26 November 2012)

He says an electoral pact with UKIP – in which the Conservatives would promise a referendum after 2015 and in return UKIP would not stand against Tory candidates – could help the Conservatives win an extra 20-40 seats at the next election.

This is surely nearly the ultimate in cynicism.  He is recommending that the Conservatives prostitute themselves to UKIP in exchange for extra seats.  Who wins seats should be up to the electorate.

Either the Conservatives believe in an in/out referendum or they don’t.  If they do they should hold such a referendum and lance the boil.  Either:

  • The electorate votes for us to leave the EU and we go out into the world like Norway (paying dues to the EU but having no influence) – in which case UKIP’s fox is shot.
  • The electorate votes for us to stay in the EU in which case we hope that the Conservatives can then start to take a constructive role in the EU – in which case UKIP will be the voice in the wilderness.

If they don’t believe in an in/out referendum they should not offer an electoral pact to a party that does believe in such a referendum.  European policy should not be subserviant to electoral considerations.

Of course there was an “Alternative” way to address the “UKIP problem” – which is essentially the Conservatives fearing that their vote will be split by UKIP candidates.  It must surely be undesirable when candidates are elected (in single seat constituencies) without majority support.  The Alternative Vote allows supporters of parties (including UKIP) to say “if my candidate does not stand a chance of winning, please transfer my vote to …”.  This changes the nature of protest voters. If it is a minority protest, they can make their protest vote without splitting the vote of a party that they would otherwise support.  If, however, they are a potential majority protest vote they might just win so “protest voters” have to responsibly think who they vote for – because the protest candidate might win.

But of course the Tories said that adopting the Alternative Vote would mean the end of democracy as we know it.  Not adopting it might prove the end of the current Tory-led administration at the next election.

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  • Robert  On 26 November 2012 at 7:45 pm

    What about proportional representation. It’s fairer and people actually understand it.

  • enfranchiseme2  On 26 November 2012 at 9:51 pm

    I vastly prefer STV – it is proportional, keeps power away from the selection committees and, with multi-member constituencies, ensures that all significant opinions are represented.

    AV is STV with single-member constituencies – and consequently misses the target for me. It would however solve the Tories’ “UKIP” problem.

    STV would also mean that the Tories could occasionally win in Northern/Urban areas – which has to be better for their outlook on national politics (they might even be more engaged in Scotland – surely something a Unionist party should want to do). It would also mean that UKIP might also get elected occasionally and have to take a real part in national politics.

    Similar considerations apply to the other parties – but this post originated from the current mating dance between some Tories and some UKIPpers.

    I don’t blanketly support “Proportional Representation” due to the strangle-hold that the parties have in some PR systems such as list systems (e.g. GB Euro-elections) – where in effect your vote is delegating your choice to a selection committee.

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