How the Cons could have avoided being ukippered

BBC News Website 29 September 2013 David Cameron wants leader debates before campaign begins:

Foreign Secretary William Hague has meanwhile ruled out an electoral pact with UKIP, after a BBC poll suggested nearly 25% of Conservative councillors were in favour of such a deal.

Some Conservative backbenchers have suggested a deal with UKIP is necessary to avoid splitting the right-wing vote and allowing Labour leader Ed Miliband into Number 10.

But Mr Hague said the Conservatives “don’t make pacts with other parties” and instead warned wavering Tory supporters they risked letting Labour into power.

Now this is a blog mainly about electoral reform, do I need to make the obvious point about how First Past The Post is the only system that can split votes?

Presumably the Conservatives prefer the idea of Miliband in Downing Street to having to do an uncomfortable (for some of them) arrangement with UKIP.  Given how similar the right wing of the Tories seem to UKIP this is in some ways surprising. I could say it is also a relief, but I doubt that UKIP could demand an EU exit without a referendum and I suspect any referendum campaign would gives us the interesting sight of a very split Conservative party (any UKIP arrangement would flush out the euro-phobes in the Tory party, and possibly force the rest to stand up and be counted.)

A pact in a First Past the Post system often leads to a closer arrangement and given that, if the Conservatives win the next election, there will be a Euro-referendum – which will shoot UKIP’s major fox, there is a possible benefit to the Tories of giving UKIPpers a way (back) into the Tory party.

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