The next three weeks could be crucial for Euroscepticism. The polls make consisently clear by a huge margin that there is not going to be the UKIP breakthrough that some crave. The new House of Commons composition is still unclear, but no serious commentator or pollster thinks there will be a single UKIP MP, let alone a majority UKIP government able to take us out of the EU as they promise.
Instead there is a possibility now that once again a largely Eurosceptic country could end up with a Commons with a majority of federalist MPs, if Labour, the Lib Dems and the Nationalists prevent the Conservatives having a majority.
Worse still, given Labour’s desperate plight in the polls, they may now be ready to do a deal on a different voting system with the Lib dems, to keep the Conservatives out of government and to change the shape of all future elections. If the Lib Dems go along with the Alternative Vote system Labour has proposed, not itself a system of Proportional Representation, we could end up with even more skewed Parliaments in future where Conservative representation was even smaller than the First Past the Post system has delivered in the last three lop sided Parliaments.
The Alternative Vote system has two advantages for Labour. It would be likely to give them even more seats than the present system, and it prevents minor parties from getting representation, as it reallocates the second preference votes of those voting for minor parties in each seat to the main party candidiates to work out who has won. To the Lib Dems it could be the best fig leaf they can grasp in order to get a few Ministerial jobs for themselves after an absence from government of ninety years.
Any such deal would be allied to further transfers of power to Brussels, as the Lib Dems have always favoured. Expect enthusiasm from such a regime for common security and defence policy, for consolidation of common citizenship and borders, and a common criminal justice policy, whilst they ready themselves for eventual Euro membership.
Systems of proportional representation shift the power to change governments from the electorate to the politicians. They mean parties campaign on manifestos they have to amend or surrender when it’s time to construct a coalition government. It helps the political class at the expense of the electors. Is that what we really want?
As a Eurosceptic who wants self government for the UK under a UK democratic system, I think the only course of action is to vote Conservative to secure a Conservative majority. At least the Conservatives have promised to start to get powers back, to stop the passage of any more powers to the EU, and to reassert Parliamentary sovereignty through legislation. It is not all some Eurosceptics want, but a change of direction and intent would be so welcome after the federalist drive of the last 13 years.
Promoted by Christine Hill on behalf of John Redwood, both at 30 Rose Street Wokingham RG40 1XU