Reasons why the Conservatives will never support PR…..
Dazamando finds it odd that the Conservatives do not support proportional representation because ‘it seems most tactical voting is directed against the Conservatives. Firstly, if you accept that point then you have to remember that PR will actually broaden the range of anti-Conservative options because it will make other smaller parties more viable.
However, there are also other strong practical as well as ideological reasons why the Conservatives will never support PR. If your a Conservative this graph over at Socialist Economic Bulletin makes for grim reading:
Taking Tory victories after the immediate post-World War II period the Conservative percentage of the vote was 49.6% in 1955, 49.4% in 1959, 46.4%, in 1970, 43.9% in 1979, 42.4%, in 1983, 42.2% in 1987, and 41.9% in 1992.
It has to be considered that ‘tactical voting against the Conservatives’ could well clearly be taking its toll on the Conservative vote share but the article also cites a declining social base. It concludes;
The Tory Party is not ‘the wave of the future,’ it is a historically declining party. In particular it is extremely difficult for the Tory Party to raise its support.
Of course the source is a little biased but it gives us a clue as to why the Conservatives will never support any change to the electoral system. It simply is not in the Conservatives interests and that explains also why it was never considered even when superficially it looked as though it could be in 1997. The above tale of decline of the Conservative shows that the unspoken fear that it would result in a permanent majority for the centre-left is well-founded.
Also, now they would face a threat from the right in the form of UKIP. Contrast this position with that of Labour if it suffers an electoral humbling and it becomes quite easy to see why Gordon Brown and David Cameron adopt the positions they do. Looking at it this way a coalition with the Conservatives may well seem sensible but it is in fact political madness.