Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Farage, electoral reform and the half-wit factor

There has, apparently, been outrage that the political wing of White Van Man could be significantly under-represented in the House of Commons even were they to repeat their shire county performance in 2015.  Leaving aside that the UKIP surge was driven by the semi-feral scions of the Tory backwoods objecting to anything from gay marriage to the reality that no government will reintroduce the forelock, and that the Scots, Welsh and those evolved enough to live in major cities or unitary authorities did not have a say, this is remarkable.  Even the Sun, hardly a bastion of progress, suddenly takes notice when its frothing mouthpiece might not be as large as its popular support might suggest.

For anyone who has followed electoral reform for the last thirty years (and more) this is sweet revenge. In the 1980s the existence of a three- or four-party system favoured the right, and there was much denial that there might ever be a situation where the Tories were shafted by the status quo.  Suddenly this appears to be a much more likely outcome, given added piquancy by the fact that the deniers will be the articulators of the prole-deadening delusions beloved of the Murdoch press and Paul "Profanity" Dacre's excuse for a newspaper.

Farage does very well at the loveable, quotable eccentric act; a kind of debased Boris Johnson with an even nastier undercurrent.  As an aside, I am pleased to note that the egregiously hypocritical Allister Heath (editor of City AM and mouthpiece for the cretinous cant emanating from the Taxpayer's Tory Alliance) is not happy that UKIP have dropped their support for a flat tax.  Birds of this feather falling out can only be good news.

To give Farrago his due, though, he did support AV.  This is about the only positive thing that anyone has been able to say about him without nose-lengthening, but does recognise the self-interest and the reality that breaking a two-party mould requires a democratic system.  As it stands, however, the 2015 election may well result in UKIP's share of the vote being higher than the Liberals', yet with a significantly smaller share of seats.  Being stung by the very traditionalist values that he apostrophises, as opposed to the number of delusional far-right nutters who will not be able to be sifted out, is hilarious.

However, Cameron will regret not even making a move towards some form of preferential voting.  After forty years of distorted results in a three-party GB-wide system (and often four or five parties in the Celtic nations) the four-party process will look even more random and unrepresentative.  A party which pledges to introduce the kind of system that has made Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales governable may well benefit, especially if the consequences of distorted electoral chicanery are to deny a representative outcome.  Idiots will ignore this, but the reality is that the Tories are close to immolating themselves in a septic tank of their own making.  Sympathy will be hard to find.

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