Who should I vote for?

Friday 1st May 2015

I decided to run a competition to find out who I should vote for in the general election. Did you know that we're having an election next week? Maybe you hadn't noticed.

I can't remember who I voted for last time, it was either the Greens or the yellows. One thing I do know is that I've never voted for the winning party nor had my choice of MP elected.

 

Choosing a colour

First I took a number of tests to see who I should vote for.

The fascinating Political Compass has a very thorough test that plots your politics on a grid (see image), and put me nearest to the Greens but miles away from all the other parties.

I went through the extremely complex Vote For Policies website, which gave me a 50/50 split between Green and Labour.

I took the poll at Votematch and I scored 82% for the Greens, 73% for Labour and 66% for the Lib Dems.

I also took the quick I Side With poll, which gave me 97% Plaid Cymru (?!) 95% Green, 94% Lib Dem and 92% Labour.

Finally, just to make sure, I took the very quick Tickbox poll, which told that I should be voting Green.

So far, so good - it looks like I should vote Green.

However they're almost certainly not going to win here (in 2010 they got 1.7% of the vote) so is there any point voting for them?

So I thought I'd put all the candidates to the test and score them.

 

Our candidates

Here in the constituency of South East Cornwall we've got six candidates, with William Hill's odds in brackets:

 

My questions

I thought it would be interesting to see where they stand on issues that are important to me, so I emailed all of them with three questions covering, local, national and global issues.

I did this before the 2010 election with three different questions that were open-ended. I got a very poor response so these questions are much quicker with simple yes/no answers.

Hi [first name],

I live in Lostwithiel, in South East Cornwall where I believe you're standing in the general election in May.

I haven't decided who to vote for yet, so if you've got a few minutes I'd appreciate your thoughts on the following questions:

  1. Do you support plans to build the UK's first spaceport in Cornwall?
  2. Do you support Dignity in Dying's campaign to legalise assisted dying in the next parliament?
  3. Do you think we're doing enough to tackle climate change around the world?

If you'd rather speak to me, call [my number] any time.

Best wishes,

Mat.

I'm going to score them on: how quickly they respond (3 points for the first to reply, decreasing by one each time); the way in which they respond (4pts for a long call, 3 pts for a short call, 2pts for a long email, 1pt for a short email, 0 if they don't reply), and how much their responses correspond with my views (0, 1 or 2pts per question).

 

Andrew Long - Mebyon Kernow

Andrew replied within quarter of an hour of me emailing him, and gave detailed, well-reasoned responses to my questions:

  1. He's in favour of the spaceport, as well as continued development of the AeroHub at Newquay Airport.

  2. He's in favour of assisted dying provided the proper safeguards are in place. He pointed out that this is his personal view, as Mebyon Kernow doesn't have a party policy on the issue.

  3. He doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change, he thinks the government should be encouraging wave energy and geo-thermal as well as existing renewables, and he believes that we need to protect our land for the production of food.

So 3pts for replying first, 2pts for a long email, and 6pts for his answers to my questions.

Total: 11 points

 

Phil Hutty - Liberal Democrats

Phil called me within an hour and a half of receiving my email, and we had a very interesting fifteen minute conversation. He's very bright, enthusiastic and passionate about Cornwall. I'll paraphrase his answers:

  1. We didn't talk much about the space port as he didn't know too much about it, but more generally about the Cornish economy. He'd like to make Cornwall more appealing for business by dualling the A38, adding a second railway line into the county and cancelling the Tamar Bridge toll.

  2. He was in favour of assisted dying, providing the right safeguards are in place.

  3. He thought we should do more to tackle climate change. He mentioned some interesting new technologies that can replace fossil fuel-generated power, and said that he sees wind and solar farms as an interim step for power generation until better technologies come along. He said that he was in favour of building new nuclear power stations if they're needed, to reduce our CO2 output.

So Phil scores 2pts for replying second, 4pts for a long call, and 6pts for giving answers that agree with my opinions.

Total: 12 points

 

Declan Lloyd - Labour Party

Declan responded in a couple of hours with a short email. To paraphrase his answers:

  1. He thinks Cornwall is the best place for a spaceport and will bring quality employment

  2. He agrees with people having the right to die with at their own time, with the correct oversight.

  3. He thinks we're not doing enough to tackle climate change, and opposes mining for shale gas.

So Declan scores 1pt for replying third, 1pt for a short email, and 6pts for giving answers that agree with my opinions.

Total: 8 points

 

Bradley Monk - UKIP

Bradley responded within about four hours. He sent a long email with detailed replies to my questions. To summarise his reply:

  1. He fully supports a Cornish spaceport and the highly paid jobs it will bring to the county

  2. He fully supports assisted suicide, having been personally affected by the issue

  3. While he's skeptical about the human involvement in climate change, he agrees that we need a wider mix of energy generation, but doesn't think wind and solar are the sole answer.

If I'm being honest I was surprised at how eloquent and well-reasoned Bradley's answers were, and I was expecting his answers to include references to the EU and immigration, which they did not.

So Bradley scores 2pts for a long email, and 4pts for giving two answers that agree with my opinions.

Total: 6 points

 

Martin Corney - Green Party

Martin sent me an email reply within a week, here's a summary:

  1. He supports the spaceport because he loves technology and sees it as part of a Green world.

  2. He is against assisted dying because of the risk to the vulnerable.

  3. As you'd expect, he doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change and believes that fossil fuels should stay in the ground.

So Martin scores 2pts for a long email, and 4 pts for his answers to my questions.

Total: 6 points

 

George Trubody - Independent

George replied with a long-ish email after week or so (after I chased him), his replies were:

  1. He would welcome the investment and jobs that it a spaceport would bring. He made the point that Newquay Airport is owned by Cornwall Council who have always struggled to make it profit, so any new business would help.

  2. He didn't know enough about assisted dying to comment.

  3. He doesn't think we're doing enough to tackle climate change.

So George scores 2pts for a long email, and 4 pts for his answers to my questions.

Total: 6 points

 

 

Sheryll Murray - Conservative Party

Unfortunately Sheryll didn't reply to me, so I'm unable to give her a score. This is a shame, because everyone says she's a nice person and a good MP, and because I really wanted to back the winner for once.

 

 

 

Conclusion

I've learned that I'm a natural Green voter, but this year I'm voting for Phil Hutty, our Lib Dem candidate.

Sadly too late for this election I discovered that it only costs £500 to stand as a candidate in a general election, so I've added it to my i-Spy Book Of Life for the next election in 2020!

I hope I can count on your vote.

 

Comments

Recent posts

Five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall

Five things I'm going to miss about Cornwall

In ten days we're leaving the UK for new adventures in Spain...

Read more

Owning less stuff

Owning less stuff

We're off to Spain for new adventures in a couple of weeks, and we've spent the last three months sorting our possessions into the four S's: ship, store, sell or skip...

Read more

What's this about?

Hi I'm Mat and I'm addicted to new hobbies. I used to think this was a bad thing but now I'm embracing it.

Writing them all up in this blog encourages me to finish projects, and helps me keep track of which ones I've tried.

Also in Inside my brain...

Language learning

Language learning

In preparation for new adventures in Spain I've been brushing up on my Spanish and discovered how much language learning has changed since the last time I did it...



Also in Inside my brain...

Learning curve dip

Learning curve dip

I've had two recent experiences of learning new skills and they're both doing my head in...