The UK After Election Reform

It seems increasingly likely that the UK general election is going to lead to a hung parliament. If that happens, the Liberal Democrats are going to be in a strong position to demand reform of the electoral system. And it’s interesting to look at the consequences of that. For example, even during their Thatcherite peak, the UK Conservative Party could only muster in the low-forties percent of the vote:


Thanks to first past the post voting, however, they were able to secure some large majorities. Of course you could say the same for Labour. But the difference is that the transformation of the Liberal Party in the Liberal Democrats pulled Britain’s third party to the left, while Tony Blair’s New Labour concept pulled Labour to the right. Consequently, in the present day the LibDems are clearly closer to Labour than to the Tories. On some issues they’re the further-left party and on others they’re the further right party, but the difference is more akin to the gap between “wine track” and “beer track” Democratic politicians than to a gaping ideological chasm. Which is to say that if electoral system reform happens, the UK would seem to be looking at a long series of Labour/LibDems coalitions unless the Conservatives suddenly start drawing a drastically higher share of the vote than they’ve gotten in many decades.