I’ll be going into the village later today to cast my vote in the UK election—yes, even colonials like myself are allowed to spit in the slurry pit every five years or so,
I’m still deciding which candidate to vote for, so I thought I’d trawl the web to find out what my politics really are and which party they most closely match.
First, I visited The Political Compass, which is a fairly serious attempt to move beyond the prevailing one-dimension “left-right” view of politics that is so ludicrously out-of-touch as to be meaningless.
The Political Compass uses left-right to cover economic politics and authoritarian-libertarian to social politics, then plots individual or party positions on these on a scale.
When the various parties contesting the 2010 UK election are plotted on the scale, the results are much more telling than the simple “left-right” scale so heavily over-used by the media and politicians.
Almost all the political parties lean heavily towards the authoritarian when it comes to social issues, while all the major parties lean heavily to the right on economics.
Even more telling, the Political Compass shows there is very little real difference between Labour and the Tories—both are socially authoritarian and both favour the “free” market.
Only the SDLP, the Greens and the Liberal Democrats are libertarian on social issues—with the Lib-Dems well to the right economically and the other two being to the left.
So, where does that leave me?
I did the Political Compass’s test and came up with a rather interesting result.
I’m one point up from absolute libertarian and one point in from absolute left economics.
In other words, I’m about where anarcho-syndicalists1 would be!
Hmm. Time to look somewhere else.
My next port of call was Vote Match, where you can pick from a selection of personal views and priorities, then see how they match the parties standing in your part of the UK.
Vote Match asks that you rule out parties that you’d never vote for, but I decided to leave in all parties first time around.
I found myself with an equal split between the British National Party and the Liberal Democrats, with the Greens only a couple of percent behind.
It sounds strange at first glance, but after reviewing my answers and considering the philosophies of the parties, I could see why Vote Match returned that outcome.
The BNP is actually to the left economically, the Lib Dems lean heavily towards libertarian socially, and the Greens are a bit of both. My answers favouring those options took me in those directions.
Countering that, I have no time for authoritarian bigotry or unchecked consumer capitalism so my answers rejecting those pushed me the opposite way.
In other words, Vote Match was putting me in the same position as The Political Compass—a red-and-black-flag waving anarcho-syndicalist.
With no anarchist movement to vote for, I needed something simpler that could show me a path to one single party that actually has candidates in the election.
And I found it.
Try In the Dark’s How to Vote: A Helpful Flowchart for yourself. It’s by far the best guide on who to vote for in 2010.
Oh, and who will I be voting for? If you check the flow chart, it should be obvious…
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Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 3
ARTHUR: How do you do, good lady. I am Arthur, King of the Britons. Whose castle is that? WOMAN: King of the who? ARTHUR: The Britons. WOMAN: Who are the Britons? ARTHUR: Well, we all are. we're all Britons and I am your king. WOMAN: I didn't know we had a king. I thought we were an autonomous collective. DENNIS: You're fooling yourself. We're living in a dictatorship. A self-perpetuating autocracy in which the working classes-- WOMAN: Oh there you go, bringing class into it again. DENNIS: That's what it's all about if only people would-- ARTHUR: Please, please good people. I am in haste. Who lives in that castle? WOMAN: No one live there. ARTHUR: Then who is your lord? WOMAN: We don't have a lord. ARTHUR: What? DENNIS: I told you. We're an anarcho-syndicalist commune. We take it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week. ARTHUR: Yes. DENNIS: But all the decision of that officer have to be ratified at a special biweekly meeting. ARTHUR: Yes, I see. DENNIS: By a simple majority in the case of purely internal affairs,-- ARTHUR: Be quiet! DENNIS: --but by a two-thirds majority in the case of more-- ARTHUR: Be quiet! I order you to be quiet! WOMAN: Order, eh -- who does he think he is? ARTHUR: I am your king! WOMAN: Well, I didn't vote for you. ARTHUR: You don't vote for kings. WOMAN: Well, 'ow did you become king then? ARTHUR: The Lady of the Lake, [angels sing] her arm clad in the purest shimmering samite, held aloft Excalibur from the bosom of the water signifying by Divine Providence that I, Arthur, was to carry Excalibur. [singing stops] That is why I am your king! DENNIS: Listen -- strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. ARTHUR: Be quiet! DENNIS: Well you can't expect to wield supreme executive power just 'cause some watery tart threw a sword at you! ARTHUR: Shut up! DENNIS: I mean, if I went around sayin' I was an empereror just because some moistened bint had lobbed a scimitar at me they'd put me away! ARTHUR: Shut up! Will you shut up! DENNIS: Ah, now we see the violence inherent in the system. ARTHUR: Shut up! DENNIS: Oh! Come and see the violence inherent in the system! HELP! HELP! I'm being repressed! ARTHUR: Bloody peasant! DENNIS: Oh, what a give away. Did you here that, did you here that, eh? That's what I'm on about -- did you see him repressing me, you saw it didn't you?