I came across one of those voting advice type webshites earlier today, and it’s left me feeling throughly depressed. Vote Match 2010 is pretty easy to use, starting with a simple ‘select country to begin’ and then presenting 30 questions along the lines of ‘do you support such and such’ with the options of agree, disagree, open minded and skip. Okay, fair enough, but Jesus it’s shallow. Question 1 – ‘New prisons need to be built to ease over crowding’. Well, that rather depends, doesn’t it? If nothing is done about the massive number of newly created crimes along with plenty of other activities that could be legalised (why the fuck are we still locking people up for a bit of puff?) then probably you do need to build more prisons, but if you’re going to reduce the number of crimes then you immediately take the pressure off the prison system, right? So I chose ‘disagree’ in the expectation of getting a question about drug legalisation or repeal of some or all of NuLab’s nu-laws. Unfortunately there wasn’t one so I had to go back and skip it. Similarly number 5, ‘The Bank of England should have overall responsibility for financial regulation’, presupposes that there’s a need for financial regulation beyond theft and fraud laws. Simply disagreeing could mean that I’m happy to leave it with the FSA, which I’m not. Same with 16, ‘The cost of NHS administration should be cut by one third’. What if I think it should be 50%? What if I think the NHS should be abolished and broken up into a mix of private and local authority hospitals? I’d be disagreeing with the statement but not in a way that supports the status quo. No. 22 ‘ The number of MPs should be reduced by 10%’ – again, if you think it should be reduced by much more than 10% you’re disagreeing, but simply saying disagree is probably going to be taken as being happy with the current numbers. There are a few more along those lines but that’s not as depressing as what came next. At the end of the 30 questions I was presented with a list of issues and asked to highlight the ones that matter most to me, followed by the ones that matter least.
- Crime and justice
- Defence and foriegn affairs
- Employment and equal opps
- Immigration and asylum
- Parliamentary reform
- Pensions and retirement
- Soverignty and devolution
And since the most important issues for me are personal freedom and individual liberties, the ever increasing surveillance state, the also increasing influence of the nanny state and the gradual infantilisation of the population where the cunting fuck does that leave me? ‘Parliamentary reform’ and ‘Crime and justice’ are connected to those things that most concern me but it’s pretty tenuous. The reality is that what’s most important to me isn’t there. Votematch clearly isn’t catering for any libertarians, which is confirmed by the final screen where you select the parties with which you want your views compared. The choices are Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, Greens and BNP, and it recommends that you don’t select any party that you would never consider voting for. Since all six have at least one deal breaker as far as I’m concerned I tried to select none and was informed that I had to choose three.
Well fuck it, in for a penny, so I selected the lot. I wasn’t too surprised that UKIP came out top for me, but the second place is hilariously inappropriate. The BNP? Really? I’d said let asylum seekers work, don’t make them have ID cards, and don’t deport people convicted of serious crimes (not really my views but the test is so superficial it was the least inaccurate option) and that makes the BNP marginally voteworthy for me? Behave.
Okay, I understand that such a quick and simple online quiz can’t possibly be expected to cater for all the complexities and the presence of independents and very new ‘micro’ parties like LPUK, and in fairness they do say that it’s not supposed to tell you who you should vote for as to get you thinking. But my real beef is that it doesn’t seem designed to get anyone thinking about individual liberty who isn’t already doing so. Perhaps too few people still give a shit about it to make it worth including in online politics quizzes, which is probably also why it’s becoming a rare commodity in Britain. And that’s why Votematch left me feeling depressed.