The general election in the UK is only about a month away. There used to be two major parties and one minor party. There are now two major parties and three minor parties, not to mention the minnows. They all say that they are not going to do any deals with each other. Which is not surprising. By and large, they hate each other.
But if the Conservative party wants to stay in power, it might make sense for it to do a bit of a rethink. Here is the thing. All the predictions suggest that there is going to be a hung parliament. The Conservatives might just about get the largest share of the vote. And they might just get the largest number of seats. But not enough to form a majority. So a very likely scenario is that the Labour Party will get the support of the SNP, and will form a government. It will be uncomfortable, because the Labour Party used to win most of Scotland, and it looks like the vast majority of the Scotland vote has now defected to the SNP. Whilst in private the SNP’s Celtic elf Nicola Sturgeon might perhaps prefer the idea of a Conservative government in Westminster, she is never going to admit to that in public. And they are probably going to be in a position to make it a condition of their support for the Labour Party that there is yet another referendum for independence in Scotland.
It is an oddity of the election system in the UK that the SNP will probably win about 50 seats, even though they will probably only collect about 4% of the vote, a fraction of the likely 14% for UKIP, who will probably only win one or two seats. This is because, of course, the SNP following is all concentrated in one place, whereas the UKIP following is much more widespread.
So what could the Conservatives do about this? Well, although it may seem a bit radical, one possibility would be to cut a deal now with UKIP. They could identify a number of seats where the Conservatives would win, but only if their vote is not split with UKIP. UKIP could withdraw their candidate from those seats, so that the Conservatives would win them. In return, they could identify a number of seats where UKIP would win if the Conservative candidate were to withdraw, and this way UKIP would end up with a respectable number of seats in parliament, more reflective of their overall support in the country. In Australia, the Liberal Party and the National Party have been doing this sort of deal for years, with some considerable success.
Neither the Conservatives nor UKIP would pay any great penalty for such a deal, which would be win-win. The Conservatives would stay in power, and the only concession they would have to make to UKIP is to agree to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. The Conservatives have said that they going to do that anyway. All the deal would mean is that they would have to actually do what they say they’re going to do. UKIP would have precious little to lose also; they are presently on a track which leads to very little representation in Parliament, despite being easily the third biggest political party in terms of votes.
Will it happen? Probably not. The more likely scenario is that Labour will do a post-election deal with the SNP, that this time the SNP will win an independence for Scotland referendum, and once all the Socialists in Scotland are cut loose from the equation, the Conservatives will easily win the next general election with or without the support of UKIP. By which time the Labour/SNP government will have racked up an enormous amount more debt. Which the children will have to pay back. Hey ho.