|Layout slightly modified; page accessed 04 August 2014|
You'll see from the above that despite polling nearly twice as many voting intentions as either the LibDems or "minority" parties, and nearly five times that of the "nationalists", UKIP stands to get no seat whatever. But if votes translated into seats in an exactly proportional way, then on this showing UKIP would be on course for 88 Parliamentary seats out of the total of 650.
Instead, the boundary system and unevenness of political support result in a heavy bias towards the two major parties and against all others. This is how the above prediction looks in terms of votes to seats gained:
EC's analysis of UKIP's chances suggest that the party needs to poll 16% of the national vote to get a single seat, and wouldn't get a fair ratio of votes to seats until it got somewhere around 30%.
Even then, because of the first-past-the-post arrangement, if UKIP gained votes solely at the expense of the Conservatives, the net effect (up to about a 24% vote for UKIP) would be to increase Labour's majority:
This certainly looks like an incentive for Cameron's Chameleons to talk to UKIP, or at least temporarily take on some of the latter's coloration in the hope that you can fool enough people for long enough.
In any case, DC can look forward to a wealth-multiplying post-Parliamentary life of directorships, consultancies and highly-paid dinner talks, just like his hero Blair, for whom he led the Opposition applause* in Parliament when the latter abandoned his constituents to do something more lucrative (and above all, attention-getting):
So really, why should Cameron care anyway? And as the saying goes, he who cares least has all the power.
Where does this power come from? Last week's Spectator leader drew a really thought-provoking contrast between the UN and the EC:
"There is a subtle but enormous difference between the European Convention on Human Rights, on which the Strasbourg court bases its decisions, and on the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The latter states:
The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage.
The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the choice of the legislature.In other words, the European Convention respects the right to free and fair elections but does not demand that those elected respect the wishes of those who elected them, nor that a country’s legislature should be in ultimate charge."
How will you vote in the General Opinion Poll of 2015?
But maybe, even after the debacle of the 2011 Alternative Vote referendum, electoral reform is still possible, particularly in the event that Scotland decides to vote this autumn for secession from the Union. Already the Scottish Parliament has a much fairer system; perhaps the Scots will once again show us the way.
* I should like to know the names of those few who sat on their hands - they would be part of my first Cabinet if I were "in power".
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