Monday, April 19, 2010

The need for electoral reform in the UK

With the latest polling in the UK showing the Liberal Democrats in a tie with the Conservatives for the lead, there is a problem with how this will play out on election day.

The received wisdom in the UK is of a system of uniform swing between Labour and Conservative.   The Liberal Democrats do not factor into this.   The pundits are even saying that if Nick Clegg did manage to come first in popular vote, he would still not win many seats.  I think this analysis faulty and the Brits are looking at the sort of landscape shattering election that we regularly see in Canada.   Gordon Brown could be the UK Kim Campbell.

My hope is that the Liberal Democrats win and then introduce STV in the UK.   It has been their policy for decades to bring STV if they came to power or they supported a government.  In any case, it is highly unlikely that any party can win a majority.  

At the moment I would put the odds of a Conservative minority as the most likely result, but I would now place the odds of a Liberal Democratic minority within the realm of possible.   I suspect that Labour will fall further in support and the Liberal Democrats will rise.   I do not see Labour managing to come better than third in total seats in the election.

Since there is a lack of experience in minority parliaments in the UK, I suspect there will be another election within a year.   I make no predictions who will win at that point, but it could be Nick Clegg with a majority government in #10.   In any case, I fail to see any way forward that does not see some sort of electoral reform in the UK within the next several years.

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