Feb 2011

Dear internet, who should I vote for?

In these digital days, no election would be complete without an online application advising us how to vote. Just such an application has been launched over at Votomatic.ie. By posing a relatively small number of policy questions, the application compares your responses to the policies of the main parties and tells you which party comes closest to your views.


To be honest, it’s got a couple of serious flaws which mean voters should beware of taking the final answer too seriously. For a start, the Socialist Party / United Left Alliance is not represented in the outcome. Sinn Féin occupies the position furthest to the left, and because there are large numbers of people who will never vote Sinn Féin for non-policy reasons, the failure to include the socialist left in the outcome will result in those people getting Labour in second-place, despite them having very little socialism left in their veins.

The other major flaw — and it’s one shared by all of these “who should I vote for?” applications — is the limited number of questions asked. And this is further compounded (albeit unsurprisingly) by the high proportion of those few questions that deal with the debt crisis. Yes, it’s by far the biggest issue facing the country today, but given that four of the five parties listed in this survey have damn-near identical policies on the issue, it’s difficult to see why such a high number of questions should be devoted to it. The survey seems intent upon finding that tiny sliver of difference between the main party policies and trying to locate the respondent on one side or the other. Which is a total waste of time… if you think Ireland should renegotiate the disastrous IMF/EU deal with the “default option” firmly on the table… indeed with that as our starting position, then congratulations on your sanity… vote Sinn Féin / Socialist. On the other hand, if you think Ireland should enter those negotiations with the view that the stability of the European financial system is more important than the morality of this obscene debt transfer… then it makes sod all difference which of the other parties you vote for.

None of the mainstream parties (and sadly I include the Greens in this) seem willing to make it clear that the transfer of private gambling losses incurred by large financial institutions, both Irish and non-Irish (for that is what the bank debts are) is wrong. Therefore, we simply won’t be doing it. What we will do, is work with our European partners to ensure that the systemic instability produced by this crisis is minimised. We’ll do everything in our power to achieve this, but we draw a line at lumbering future generations with a massive debt generated by the reckless speculation of private capitalists.

Anyway, having taken the survey and bearing in mind the exclusion of the socialists, my outcome was unsurprising… You are a hardcore Sinn Féin supporter.

Posted in: Opinion