Love this pic.twitter.com/A0lylpFIRJ
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) February 19, 2018
How Brussels created the electoral system for UKIP to prosper
One of the ongoing political developments that has amused many since the referendum has been the UKIP leadership and the problems the party has in ensuring that whoever is gets the job lasts the course.
An of the success of UKIP over the years is that it owes so much to Brussels for seeking to impose similar voting systems for MEPs across the whole EU. If that had not happened then it is hard to see how it could have emerged as an electoral force rather than a fringe pressure group.
For the 1999 MEP elections the EU resolved that all countries should elect their MEPs using a form of proportional representation. What played a key part, and probably crucial, in the UK was the decision of the Labour government ahead of the 1999 elections to have it operated on the basis of the closed party list.
This meant that voters simply chose a party and not individual candidates to be the Euro MPs and reduces the needs for individual MEPs to build up a presence with voters. Amongst most other EU countries the PR system operates but an open list exists and voters choose the order in which candidates by name they want to represent them.
It was that 1999 election that first saw UKIP MEP going to Brussels and in each succeeding euro elections the party increased it’s representation significantly to 2014 when it topped the poll in the UK.
If all goes to plan UKIP will lose all its MEPs on March 29th next year and its only elected politicians will be a few remaining local councillors and members of the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies, elected by the regional list, whose terms end in 2021.
Unless UKIP can miraculously find a way of winning first past the post elections it will be electorally dead.