In 18 days UKIP will make history, but will it make a difference?

Nigel Farage at CPAC

UKIP are on course for at least 10% of the vote, but will likely end up with a just a handful of seats. Our Westminster electoral system is broken.

One of YouGov's latest polls puts the party on 14%, five points ahead of the Liberal Democrats. If the polls are to be trusted UKIP looks set to become Britain's third most popular party come 7th May, but the Lib Dems and the SNP will likely have more seats.

Under a fair electoral system, one which would not discriminate against the smaller parties, UKIP would be on course to be key players in post-election negotiations. And whilst they still might have a role in such a close election, that is by no means certain.

A change to a more proportional system as a direct consequence of  the 2015 election looks unlikely. If the Liberal Democrats are involved in a coalition there might be a chance for STV in council elections, but with the public rejecting AV only four years ago, a change looks unlikely.

SEE ALSO: Interviewing UKIP's Andrew Michael: Gogglebox and Politics

Then again the rise in UKIP supporters, unhappy with the May 2015 results due to their lack of proportionality, could generate a new demand for a fairer electoral system.

Indeed, UKIP’s 2015 manifesto outlines their support for a fairer system, one of the few things the party has in common with Nick Clegg’s. UKIP have pledged to:

“Introduce a new proportional voting system that truly reflects the number of votes cast.”

Furthermore, in a ‘Mini Election’ interview with the Spectator’s Sebastian Payne, Nigel Farage recently said that he personally backed the AV+ system as proposed by Roy Jenkins.

Regarding the Jenkins Commission Farage said that:

“They concluded that the AV-plus system kept the benefit that the man or woman continues to represent Guildford, and people know who the MP is, plus you have a second ballot paper whereby if you’re a high Tory living in Sheffield it’s still worth, on a raining Thursday evening, going down because at least your vote will count for something.”

SEE ALSO: Three in four voters want an EU referendum, suggests survey

Whatever one thinks of UKIP, it seems backwards and undemocratic that in this day an age - a day and age in which the two main parties are losing support every single election - that a party that could get one in ten votes could get just one in a hundred seats, or less.

Proportional representation is not UKIP’s biggest priority, but if the party does well in the electoral arena but not the parliamentary one then UKIP could end up refuelling the demand for a change.


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