Election debate? It's our not-fit-for purpose electoral system, stupid

That UKIP is now just as opportunistic a member of the Westminster village as the rest of them, is only part of it. Cameron is right to refuse electoral debates without the Greens, but the real issue is that our political and electoral system is broken

by Westminster shrink on 14 January 2015 12:54

David Cameron is both right and wrong about his refusal so far to participate in election debates without the Greens, but it's the whole Westminster Village, including the largely lost-in-space press corps, that really needs to be taken to task over this.

Cameron is right that it would be a travesty of democratic principles to hold election debates including Conservative, Labour, Lib-Dem and UKIP but without the Greens. The Greens are not a sectarian party, but one that fights the fight for the whole country's political interests.

They're polling ahead of the Lib-Dems. They should be present. QED.

Obviously, Cameron is only making such play out of this because he knows that while UKIP will cut into his vote, the Greens will cut into Labour's. He wants a level playing field, and who could blame him?

But the bigger issue, and where Cameron and everyone else is wrong and/or missing the point, is that this whole fiasco has arisen because our hopelessly outdated electoral system is no longer fit for purpose.

First-past-the-post can no longer confer genuine political legitimacy. Vast sections of political society are excluded by it.

If, as we should, we had a proportional representation system -- perhaps along German lines with a five percent threshold required for parliamentary representation -- you'd be able to cast your vote this May for the party you actually support.

Right now, we're stuck with the vaguery and idiocy of tactical voting. And while UKIP is likely to come a massive cropper in May precisely because of first-past-the-post, rather than making electoral reform the centre-piece of their campaigning, they're now engaged in shabby machinations to exclude the Greens from the election debate.

They're in real danger of being hoist with their own petard on a number of fronts, not least because one possible outcome could be that Cameron ends up just going head-to-head with Miliband, not giving Farage a look-in.

In the end, it's probably still likely that a more wide-ranging election debate including the Greens does in fact take place.

Be that as it may, it still doesn't address the central problem, which is that our political system is broken.

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