06 April 2008

Some Stats From VoteMatch.

You might be wondering why another post about London, as I live in Brighton. Well London is only a short journey from here, I go there quite often, Ken Livingstone is a bit of a hero of mine and I think what happens to our capital city is of the utmost importance to all of us in the UK. So thats that answered!

LondonVoteMatch is drawing positive attention from across the political spectrum, which I think shows it has a reasonable balance.

Of the 25 questions, I wonder why the...
Low Emissions Zone, Cycle Super Highways and the proposed retro-fitting of all public buildings don't get a specific mention, as these seem quite big issues and there would be a clear divide between the candidates (especially Boris and Ken).

Some right wingers have hinted they wanted a question like 'Is Ken Livingstone wasting our money?' to be included, (which rather ignores the fact that this site is supposed to be about issues not personalities and certainly not right-wing unfounded accusations in the Evening Standard. I could equally argue that there is no question about Boris Johnson's competence for the job. And anyway financial prudence is covered by the council tax, Olympics and bendy bus questions, amongst others).

Obviously some of the issues are more complex than yes and no answers and maybe this could mean some of the responses given are misleading. Also some of the questions do seem to be cumbersomely worded with weird use of negatives etc, which could fool a few people into giving answers they didn't mean (I am sure there is a reason for this - maybe the candidates all had an input on the wording and choice of issues).

But what is useful about the site is that all the candidates have given specific answers to all the questions, either 'agree', 'disagree' or 'neither'.

This allows us a direct way to compare candidate objectives and their similarities to each other by pairing their answers off. So starting off with the answers of Richard Barnbrook (BNP) compared to everyone else.

Richard Barnbrook (BNP)

1. Gerrard Batten (UKIP) 16/25
2. Winston Mckenzie (IND) 15/25
3. Boris Johnson (TORY) 14/25
4. Matt O'Connor (ENG DEM) 12/25
5. Alan Craig (CHRIST) 12/25
6. Lindsay German (LEFT) 11/25
7. Brian Paddick (LIB DEM) 9/25
8. Sian Berry (GREEN) 4/25
9. Ken Livingstone (LAB) 3/25

Now for Boris;

Boris Johnson (TORY)

1. Alan Craig (CHRIST) 15/25
2. Richard Barnbrook (BNP) 14/25
3. Lindsay German (LEFT) 14/25
4. Winston Mckenzie (IND) 14/25
5. Brian Paddick (LIB DEM) 12/25
6. Matt O'Connor (ENG DEMS) 12/25
7. Gerrard Batten (UKIP) 12/25
8. Sian Berry (GREEN) 11/25
9. Ken Livingstone (LAB) 9/25

I think this nails the Tory lie that the BNP are a left-wing party. UKIP and the Tories are the closest to them (and it is no surprise that the Independent and Christian candidates are right-wing - they usually are).

Considering Boris sat on the fence by putting 'neither' for 5 of his answers, he only actually disagreed with the BNP on 6 questions (see 'ditherers' below). No wonder the BNP ask their supporters to back Boris! So onto the Lib Dems;

Brian Paddick (LIB DEM)

1. Ken Livingstone (LAB) 16/25
2. Lindsay German (LEFT) 14/25
3. Gerrard Batten (UKIP) 13/25
4. Boris Johnson (TORY) 12/25
5. Winston Mckenzie (IND) 12/25
6. Alan Craig (CHRIST) 12/25
7. Matt O'Connor (ENG DEMS) 11/25
8. Sian Berry (GREEN) 10/25
9. Richard Barnbrook (BNP) 9/25

Clearly Lib Dems who want Brian Paddick's policies should put Ken as their second preference. Sian of the Greens has come out for Ken and is horrified by the prospect of Boris, but who is closest in policy?

Sian Berry (GREEN)

1. Lindsay German (LEFT) 16/25
2. Ken Livingstone (LAB) 15/25
3. Boris Johnson (TORY) 11/25
4. Alan Craig (CHRIST) 11/25
5. Brian Paddick (LIB DEM) 10/25
6. Matt O'Connor (ENG DEMS) 9/25
7. Winston Mckenzie (IND) 8/25
8. Gerrard Batten (UKIP) 6/25
9. Richard Barnbrook (BNP) 4/25

Since Lindsay German has got no chance of being in the top two, Greens would waste their second preference by voting for her. Therefore it does make sense to put a second preference for Ken, as Sian suggests.

Boris's third place has little to do with his environmental policies and much to do with the fact that Sian and Boris are the biggest 'ditherers' - putting 'neither' the most, see below where I entered 'neither' for every answer.


1. Matt O'Connor (ENG DEMS) 6/25
2. Sian Berry (GREENS) 6/25
3. Boris Johnson (TORY) 5/25
4. Alan Craig (CHRIST) 4/25
5. Gerrard Batten (UKIP) 2/25
6. Richard Barnbrook (BNP) 1/25
7. Lindsay German (LEFT) 1/25
8. Ken Livingstone (LAB) 1/25
9 Brian Paddick (LIB DEM) 1/25
10. Winston Mckenzie (IND) 0/25

Of course there can be legitimate reasons for putting 'neither'. Maybe you feel the subject is too complex for simple yes or no answers, maybe you consider it outside your remit or have no opinion either way so would prefer the status quo.

However there could be more sinister reasons. Maybe you need to obscure your real opinion because it would be unpopular, maybe you are ignorant of an issue that is of real importance to people, maybe you just can't make up your mind!

If we look at the issues Boris declined to answer; council tax, London airport capacity, unemployment, cannabis possession - these are some of the biggest issues Londoners have highlighted. In contrast, the one 'neither' Ken gave to 'closing the London airport' is low on voters list of priorities. This tends to suggest that, like the many hustings and broadcast debates Boris is dodging, he is trying to obscure his views and con the public, just like his extra-marital affairs, sackings for lying, racist language, u-turns on climate change and on his drugs use and the inaccurate misleading statistics he keeps quoting and especially his agreeing to have a journalist beaten up - this all suggests he is a nasty charlatan and not a 'nice harmless guy' that Lynton Crosby and the Tory propaganda machine would have us believe. They even have the cheek to try and spin that the guy is being picked on, because people keep quoting 'his own writings'. People will believe anything if they believe that is dirty tricks - especially with the nasty smears they are printing about Livingstone. Lets hope people see through this Tory charade.


  1. Problem is that your methodology assumes that the issues listed are a fair sample of all the issues in the election. That isn't the case. The way that votematch works is that it asks questiosn designed to separate voters out. A more balanced list of questions would include, for example, do you think 50k affordable homes need building over the next three years? would you keep the central congestion zone? etc. On those Boris and Ken agree and other parties don't. The number of voters who think interracial marriage is a big issue is very small, but very useful for identifying BNP supporters.

  2. "Problem is that your methodology assumes that the issues listed are a fair sample of all the issues in the election. That isn't the case." (Anonymous)

    -- Read Peter Facey of Unlock Democracy on how they structured the questions for Votematch. He says "Candidates and parties will be asked to provide their own answers based on their own published policy." I know that Facey has no party axe to grind (he used to work at the Electoral Reform Society).

  3. "The number of voters who think interracial marriage is a big issue is very small, but very useful for identifying BNP supporters."

    It will also help identify Muslim, Hindu and Sikh voters...

  4. I think inter-racial marriage is a big issue - there should be a lot more of it!

    Neil, what's happened to 'recent comments' widget, and why the Big Brother staring eyes at the top? You seem to be changing layouts every other day!

  5. Oh ... you've shifted it to the left hand side bar. Please stop the eternal tinkering!

  6. Mark, the big brother eyes are just my little joke - I know I am a bit of a claudio ranieri when it comes to playing around with the layout. I wanted to keep comments on the top page, but also wanted to include the stopboris logo while the myor election is on. It will all revert back once we hit May 1st and Ken is elected.

  7. Will the comments revert when Ken loses!?!

  8. snafu: I think Ken will do it. There is talk of a 50%+ turnout - unheard of in local elections. This will help Ken and help keep the BNP out as well. But to answer your question, yes it will revert back if Ken loses. I am going to post soon on the dire consequences of a Mayor Boris and the extra deaths that will involve.

  9. Inter-racial marriages? There are really three issues here:

    1. Black skin marrying white skin. This seems to concern racists quite a lot, but nobody else.

    2. Different cultures marrying. People tend to see their cultural heritage as under threat if their children "marry out". Most families will get over it.

    3. Inter-faith marriages. If different faiths are deeply and sincerely help by the spouses, I'm surprised this ever works. If you treat religion as a cultural thing, you fall under option 2.