back to article Can't decide how to vote? will tell you

As New Labour prepares itself for electoral meltdown in the Crewe and Nantwich by-election, here's a site that might, as Peter Snow would have put it, be "just a bit of fun". For all serious observers of the body politic, the main "Public Whip" site performs a useful service. It documents how individual MPs vote, together with …


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  1. Alex

    surely if they could just...

    ..profile my internet connection they could just harvest my vote phorme?

    then neighborhoods could watch pretty little graphs showing the political leanings of each block, hey!

    BLOCK WAR!!!

  2. Scott Silver badge

    Use it as a tool!

    I ran it and it seemed to identify my leanings as well. I would think of something like this as a useful tool but I would see a problem as if it caught on, people would just vote exactly as it "told" them to. If that became the case, it is not a good thing.

    That said, it is about as useful as having an open and unbiased press (if only), and a lot more democratic than people voting in a particular way because that is what they have always done because they see themselves as in a particular part of society.

    It would not be so good if I voted for the people I like and the BNP or National Front may get in. I would like one that would show me the best way to keep the ones I dislike the most out...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone but Gordon

    The old adage that "Politicians are like nappies, both should be changed regularly for the same reason." has been borne out by this and the last government. After too long in power they think they can do anything and bugger the voters.

    It doesn't matter who we get next, what matters is they don't last as long as this lot or the last lot did.

  4. Shabble

    March of the Liberals...

    No suprise, but it turns out I'm clearly a Liberal Democrat (though I often vote SNP as I live in Scotland).

    Worryingly, though, the site suggests that I'm actually closer to being Tory than New Labour! Mind you, I have been thinking for a while now that New Labour has combined the worst policies of Thatcher (universal privatisation, competition where it is unwelcome, lack of proper industry regulation, imperialistic military philosophy, tax regime that favours the rich etc) with the most opressive aspects of Socialism (Big Brother invasion of privacy, micromanagement of society, numerous unecessary laws and rules etc) and also adding in an (un)healthy dollop of anti-secularism and anti-science.

    Maybe Cameron wouldn't be, as many New Labour voting Blair apologists claim, "just as bad as Blair" (I need a shower - I feel dirty just thinking about voting Tory).

  5. Edward
    Thumb Down

    Too crude

    This tool will always be biased towards the parties least likely to get into power, because they'll tend towards popular opinion -- no matter how unworkable. And with no subtlety in the weighting of response to issues, it ignores the massive single issues that cause people to keep a party out of power at all costs.

    I'd like to see this exercise done by an experienced Internet polling organisation, like YouGov.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    rise of the centre

    I'm quite looking forward to the near future when, finally completely disenchanted, and led by the rise of a new political youth, the entire country rises and finally does the only sensible thing and votes with the middle ground and the lib dems.

  7. Peter W


    but misses out on a huge swathe of issues that matter. NHS services for instance? Schools and education? Taxes?

    Without more depth it's pretty useless - although it did tell me (not a surprise) that currently I'm more in tune with the lib dems than the other major parties.

  8. Jon

    Intersting idea

    Interesting idea, and I actually really like the concept.

    Though I think the topics could have covered more topics, but the principle is a good one

  9. Steve

    @rise of the centre

    You think the centre is represented by the libdems? :)

    These days NuLab and the Cameroons are so desperate to be all things to all people that they're the only parties fighting over the centre. Lib Dems are drifting leftwards. Maybe one day we'll get back to parties who define policies based on their beliefs, and work to persuade voters to support them, instead of parties that change their policies daily depending on what the latest poll suggests 'the centre' wants :( If they stopped treating votecounts like the price of a share in Britain PLC we'd all be better off.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    Most of them are unelectable. The party is irrelevant, most of the younger 'professional' politicians have the same views and ideas regardless of the party they belong to. They even socialise with each other.

    So it makes no real difference if it's Labour, Tory or Lib Dem as the outcome will be the same. You may get comfort from their published ideals matching your own but their actual ideals probably won't align. Unless you're the same kind of scum as they are!

    As for Lib Dems and 'middle ground', you might think that but my experience was always that the Lib Dems included the people who didn't fit the other parties. So their individual views on particular issues tended to be to the extreme ends of those represented by the other parties. It was only as a group they averaged towards the centre.

    Oh, and 'Public Whip'. Interesting idea. But if you need this to tell you which way the parties lean you obviously aren't paying much attention!

  11. Jay Zelos

    Popular Opinion

    "it ignores the massive single issues that cause people to keep a party out of power at all costs."

    Europe for example, although you have to wonder if it would be such a big issue if rags like the daily mail didn't exaggerate the issue of sovereignty and costs out of all proportion.

    Still, the thought that policies get anyone elected in Britain is silly anyway. There are too many mindless sheep who vote for a party by habit, matching social class, because a parent voted that way or some other idiotic reason.

  12. heystoopid

    But Still

    But still , when all said and done the average elected politician is no better then your average 419er shyster crook ! For they promise much , telling many lies in the process , do very little in return and always come back with more ways to empty your wallet with grand schemes that need more pots of gold to reach the rainbow and then give absolutely nothing back in return for what you spend on these wowsers and wankers to maintain their rich and opulent lifestyle at the feeding trough of self greed ahead of logic or the people's wishes !

    Little wonder people routinely fall for all these 419 scams because we see it in action every day at every level of elected government operating with impunity !

  13. Stephen

    Interesting from an outsiders perspective

    What I find especially interesting is that none of the issues there seemed to have anything to do with the old left/right ideological splits. All the issues that Labour voted strongly for seemed authoritarian, what I'd have traditionally associated with the Tories in the 80s.

    It makes our (slightly) Labor governement here in Oz seem rabidly left wing in comparison, though we do have the various State governments to carry the can on that sort of thing (also all nominally Labor).

  14. Daniel Wilkie


    Don't forget that the "Imperialistic Military Philosophy" is 'supported' by cutting back on their funding left right and centre - two different approaches that would kind of suggest themselves to be mutually exclusive...

    When are we going to get an El Reg party to vote for?

  15. John Band

    In power vs out-of-power

    "All the issues that Labour voted strongly for seemed authoritarian, what I'd have traditionally associated with the Tories in the 80s."

    Of course, the Tories were in power in the 1980s. On issues like freedom of information about ministers' decisions, limits of executive power, etc, there's no way that a Tory *government* would give them the same support as a Tory opposition...

  16. Marvin the Martian

    An old and very useful tool --- in multiparty countries.

    This type of voting advisory site is used since many years in Holland, for example. There's no current one online as there's no upcoming elections there I guess. There are party-choosers online (e.g. ).

    In Belgium just as much --- but with the added twist "do you want this country to persist?" as a question (e.g. ).

    The point is that in countries where coalition governments are the rule, it is worth voting as your personal politics are. In the UK and US, it's a simple strategic choice for the lesser of two evils, as in most UK borough or districts there's only two possible winners (and often only one highly likely). A tad undemocratic: the london mayoral elections brought out this zoo of unknown little parties, no point to vote for any of them, and similarly Ralph Nader made Bush II president.

  17. Andy Worth

    Re:Use it as a tool!

    "It would not be so good if I voted for the people I like and the BNP or National Front may get in. I would like one that would show me the best way to keep the ones I dislike the most out..."

    Well that's simple, look at the opinion polls and vote for the most popular other party, regardless of their policies. This would more or less guarantee them getting the majority of the vote if most undecided people did it.

    Although this sounds stupid when put like that, there's not much else you can do, other than trusting the popular vote to avoid the parties you don't like.

    I can see what you're saying, that you don't want your vote going to a non-leading party to mean that someone like the BNP could get in - but the only sensible thing you can do is to vote for the party you WANT to get in and hope that the majority agree with you.

  18. Daniel B.

    @Marvin the Martian

    True. Just like in Mexico, we have three main parties, and a zillion "small parties", of which some of them insist they are the TRUE LEFT, yeah right. If you add up all the votes those parties got in the 2006 "elections", it is large enough to have actually tipped the balance in those elections. Voting for them for president/governor is just a waste of time, though voting them for "diputado" or senator does help a bit.

    And that's here, where we don't have that funky "electoral college" system. In the US, it is simply stupid to vote anything other than Democrat, as even if the independent dudes do manage to have a considerable support on one state, it is basically stolen by whoever "wins" the EC votes. Oh, I know I should've said Democrat *or Republican*, but given Bush II's record, you'd have to be infinitely stupid to still vote Republican.

    The UK seems to have a similar problem, except there is no election-ruining EC system in place. :)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gordon's exactly what you deserve.

    What depresses me is that all its taken to push the great british public away from Bliar et al has been a muckup on tax and Gordon's alleged lack of personality.

    The illegal wars, massive inroads into the removal of civil liberties & placing a massive target on the country due to a pro-US foreign policy which can be summarised as "screw the middle east" seem to mean nothing. I'm half tempted to vote labour then emigrate. I think they're exactly what the majority of the British public deserve.

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