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First Past the Post Guarantees Instability

November 22, 2017

First Past the Post has always encouraged a two party system and ‘see-saw’ politics which makes the solution of long term problems such as the housing shortage virtually impossible; but now things are worse. It has long been realised that the Conservative Party is a coalition held together by self interest. Until recently they have managed to hold things together, but now the moderates and the Eurosceptic zealots are at war, a war which I do not believe will cease with Brexit (or its abandonment).

On the other side we have Labour which is split between the Corbynites on the one hand, campaigning on a platform thought of as socialist, but which many Tory voters would accept if promoted by Tories; and on the other hand the ‘moderates’ who remain in thrall to the false religion of neoliberalism – austerity, selfishness and guaranteed inequality. If Labour wins the next election the government will face many challenges trying to reverse failed policies and will probably last for one session only. The ensuing Tory government will have to appease the zealots. Thus we are likely to face an alternation between two dysfunctional governments. Firset Past the Post guarantees that party loyalty trumps effective government.

Under PR there would be formal coalitions, but at least the various parties and factions would have to listen to one another. The issue of our relationship with Europe is one that divides both Labour and Conservative. If the Single Transferable Vote system were adopted then it would be perfectly reasonable, without splitting the Labour vote, for both pro Europe and anti Europe candidates to stand in a constituency. Even if the CLP were to come down on one side, an independent Labour candidate could stand to represent the other side. In the same way both pragmatic Conservatives v. racist and xenophobic Conservatives could stand in the same constituency.

Ir is true that Germany is struggling to form a coalition at present but that is due to the rise of the AfD, and the inflexibilty of Merkel, see,  The rise of right wing populist parties seems to be a feature of politics in Europe just now. But we in Britain are doing no better. We have not had effective government since Cameron resigned and certainly not since the June election. It is First Past the Post that forces the Conservative party to be dysfunctional. Recognising that the formerly much respected Merkel has passed her sell by date is easier than making our broken system work.

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