The decision to vote
A series of posts
A couple of tools have emerged in the run-up to the European elections. They aim to help people decide who they should vote for.
This is nothing new — nowadays every election comes with its own similar tools. They are the cousins of Political Compass and the like. While they may not be totally scientific, they are quite enlightening in their own way — and a bit of fun whatever. So I have taken both tests to see what they say.
This test doesn’t give you results for all the parties, but the big hitters are there. This has the advantage of also comparing your views with parties right across Europe, not just in Scotland or the UK. The Europe-wide results are interesting in themselves.
But first, here are my results for parties that I can actually vote for. The top party is the Liberal Democrats, which perhaps shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Ideologically, they are the only party I am closely aligned to, and I have always voted for them in the past. I am a 60.3% match. Not terribly high, but higher than the other parties.
Second is the Conservatives with a 58.3% match. The SNP are a 55.2% match, while Ukip edge ahead of the Greens to be my fourth-closest match. Labour slug it out with the BNP to be my least favourites.
If you exclude the importance I attach to issues, Labour actually rise up to 4th place. Perhaps this suggests that I agree with many Labour policies — just not ones that I think are important.
I have a much closer affinity with other political parties outside the UK. My strongest match, by quite a long way, is Sweden’s Pirate Party. This is a recently-formed party which rose up in protest at over-zealous copyright laws. Makes sense I guess.
One striking thing about the Europe-wide results is the fact that three Croatian parties appear in my top five matches! Is there something about Croatia’s politics that would make me swing that way ideologically? Are there just lots of similar parties in Croatia? The three are the Social Democratic Party of Croatia, the Croatian Social Liberal Party and the Croatian People’s Party — Liberal Democrats.
The other parties in the top ten are: Liberal Democracy of Slovenia, People’s Movement Against the EU (Denmark), Estonian Reform Party, Freedom Union — Democratic Union (Czech Republic), Humanist Party (Portugal), Liberal and Centre Union (Lithuania). To be fair, having had a glance at each of these parties, they seem to vary quite a lot, so I wouldn’t put too much faith in them.
Incidentally, the Liberal Democrats are only my 65th strongest match. So in theory, there are 64 other parties across Europe that I would rather vote for. Not very good, is it?
Vote Match gives me very different results. My strongest match is Libertas with a score of 51/54, which seems quite high. (I’ve taken the test three separate times now, and Libertas were the top result each time.) This is despite the fact that I chose Scotland as my region and Libertas aren’t standing in Scotland.
Joint second are the Greens and the SNP with 41. The Lib Dems, the Conservatives and Labour are all joint fourth with 39. Jury Team’s Alan Wallace has 33 and Ukip have 28.
The results page on Vote Match is very comprehensive, with a table of each party’s position on each of the 30 questions. Looking down the table, it does appear as though I agree with Libertas on a lot of issues, and all of the issues that I marked as important. On all the issues I marked as unimportant, I disagreed with Libertas. This has perhaps accentuated their score.
These results just don’t sit right with me though. The list seems wrong. It is especially odd to see the Greens so high up there. Perhaps this is where differences in policies for Holyrood or Westminster and Europe come into play. But I’m taking this result with a pinch of salt.
This isn’t related to the European Parliamentary election, but it is the granddaddy of online political tests, and I think it is a couple of years since I have taken it. So I thought I’d take another look. My result now is:
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
So I’m — just — on the libertarian right. But I am still more of an economic centrist, though firmly a social libertarian. This is more or less what I expected. A clear trend that I have noticed is a slow drift towards the libertarian right. The last time I took this quiz, two years ago, my economic score was 0.38 — closer to the centre, but still on the right. The social score was a slightly less libertarian -6.10.
I still haven’t decided whether or not I will vote. However, I think if I do vote, I know which party I will vote for. I’ll report this evening on my action / inaction.