Vote for Policies – Make your Voice Heard

It’s not often that you come across something on the Internet that gives you a real lift.

But just last week, I came across a website called Vote for Policies. This is very interesting.

It takes as its starting point the manifestos of 6 political parties which fought the 2010 General Election. And they composed policy sets for each party for one of 9 policy areas:

  1. Crime
  2. Democracy
  3. Economy
  4. Education
  5. Environment
  6. Europe
  7. Health/NHS
  8. Immigration
  9. Welfare

And then they designed a methodology through which anyone willing to input their postcode can choose which set of policies for each of the policy areas (or a minimum of 4 if you don’t want to do all of them) most closely resembles your views.

Why do they need the postcode? So they can show the results both across the whole survey and for your area only.

Why do you have to choose a package of policies as represented in the party manifestos? Because that’s how elections work. You chose parties or candidates that represent parties; you don’t pick and chose the policies you like and the policies you don’t.

So if there are parts of the policy – say on education – of one party which you don’t like but most of them you do, that’s going to be the one you are likely to go for.

The one bit of information you don’t get is which party is behind which set of policies. For some of them, you can guess. If it says, for example, we think we should leave the EU, then you can guess that that’s not the LibDems.

But the point of the survey is that you chose the contents and not the label. It is supposed to give you an idea of which party you would chose if you voted for the policies you think are right rather than for the party whose candidate or leader you like or the party that you think will win in your constituency, or the party that might have a chance of winning against the incumbent if enough people voted for them.

So you are not voting for the lesser of several evils but for what you actually want.

And once you have done the survey, you get your personal results. Which party to do agree with most? For each party whose policies you have chosen at least one package from, you get a percentage match.

So far, just under 360 000 people have taken the survey; that’s quite a small sample and it’s not statistically valid because it is self-selected; these are people who are interested in policies and in making a difference at the ballot box; they are not the random samples which the opinion polls survey who are supposed to reflect the broader public. That is a caveat. Don’t’ read the result for those who have taken the survey as an indicator for the outcome of the next general election.

But the results are still very interesting.

 

Policy Area: Crime

Party

Percent

Green Party

30.3

Labour

18.5

BNP

15.8

Conservatives

14.0

UKIP

12.0

LibDem

9.5

 

Policy Area: Democracy

Party

Percent

LibDem

31.6

Green Party

24.3

Labour

17.8

Conservatives

11.1

UKIP

7.9

BNP

7.4

 

Policy Area: Economy

Party

Percent

LibDem

26.6

Green Party

20.9

Labour

17.8

UKIP

14.1

Conservatives

11.3

BNP

9.3

 

Policy Area: Education

Party

Percent

Green Party

35.6

Conservatives

18.4

LibDem

16.1

Labour

11.1

UKIP

10.6

BNP

8.1

 

Policy Area: Environment

Party

Percent

Green Party

29.0

Labour

21.6

Conservatives

15.9

LibDem

15.9

UKIP

10.8

BNP

6.8

 

Policy Area: Europe

Party

Percent

Conservatives

21.6

Labour

20.6

LibDem

19.2

Green Party

18.1

UKIP

14.9

BNP

5.5

 

Policy Area: Health/NHS

Party

Percent

Green Party

24.2

Labour

23.1

BNP

15.1

Conservatives

14.5

UKIP

13.5

LibDem

9.7

 

Policy Area: Immigration

Party

Percent

Labour

25.4

LibDem

19.1

Green Party

17.9

Conservatives

16.6

UKIP

11.5

BNP

9.6

 

Policy Area: Welfare

Party

Percent

Labour

28.3

Green Party

18.8

UKIP

14.8

BNP

13.8

Conservatives

13.5

LibDem

10.9

These results should give all the parties something to think about. It should certainly give them cause for thinking more about working together on policies that reflect the views and the concerns of citizens and less about slagging each other off in the House of Commons or in the media.

And it should give all of us an incentive to do this survey – it took me about 25 minutes because you have to actually read the policies that are put forward and weigh them up against each other; but it is 25 minutes well spent.

If many more people complete the survey then the results might actually register in the minds of the politicians that will be drafting the manifestos for the next general election.

It is one way in which we can make our voices heard.

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About martinaweitsch

I'm interested in politics and rational political debate which isn't afraid of the facts or the complexities and contradictions inherent in most important issues.
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One Response to Vote for Policies – Make your Voice Heard

  1. Pingback: Vote for Policies Take 2 | rationaldebate

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