, 12 tweets, 9 min read Read on Twitter
Have you heard of #Hotelling’s Law? In a two party system, it says that you get most votes by minimising the political distance between the parties. It’s worked well in the past, but it’s about to bring an end to both #Labour and the #Tory party. 1/n
Hotelling’s law worked really well for Tony #Blair. #Thatcher had moved the Tory party to the right, so #NewLabour had an opportunity to increase its vote share by also moving rightwards. 2/n
Politics had shifted. Both parties held broadly similar policies. Blair’s political stance, although to the left of Thatcher’s, was much further right than any Labour leader previously (or since). Labour was able to capture ground that the Tories had left unguarded. 3/n
This is why #Corbyn’s rise scared Labour strategists so much. His political position was considerably further to the left than the then-current battle lines. If Labour moved to the left, then that left more votes for the Tory party to pick up. 4/n
Remember, this is in First Past The Post (#FPTP), so only the main two parties matter. Broadly speaking, only votes cast for the top two candidates in any constituency count. 5/n
When #UKIP threatened Tory (and Labour) votes in 2014, #Cameron thought he could steal a march on them by offering a referendum. We know he didn’t expect to lose. 6/n
But #Leave won, and MPs (who had mostly been for #Remain) had to decide how to react. Many of them decided to switch, whether through lack of principles or through responding to their electorate is a separate question. #May switched to Leave. 7/n
#Brexit is an issue that doesn’t easily map to the traditional left-right split. Labour had a choice. In a two party system, and with the country split in two, HM Opposition decided also to switch, leaving Remainers without representation from either party. 8/n
If Labour had stayed a Remain party, then they ran the risk of losing Leave voters to UKIP or the Tories. By positioning themselves as less EU-sceptic than the Tories, they ought to maximise their votes. Hotelling again. 9/n
But then came #Farage, and the local and EU elections. In their millions, voters who had previously only ever voted for one party deserted their tribes. Both parties were squeezed. No-deal Leavers voted Brexit, and Remainers voted #TheGreenParty or #LibDem . 10/n
In a General Election, and there’s one coming soon, there is a very real chance of both main parties losing most of their support. The new government would likely need the support of the #Greens/#LibDems/#SNP. They will insist that the next election be under #PR. 11/n
That will be the end of the two party system. And without the pressure from the FPTP system to keep the Tories and Labour together, they will naturally disintegrate. New, smaller, parties will emerge from their ashes. /fin
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