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Over at http://votomatic.ie/ you can test your views against those of the Irish political parties and see who you would vote for. Not being up on most of the current economic jargon I could not give clear answers in many cases, but none the less was astonished to find it rating me as a hard-line Green Party supporter (my complete ratings: Green +10, Labour +5, FF +4, SF -1, FG -3). However attractive their policies may be, the Green Party have completely failed the crucial test of their ability to actually implement them in their four years in government, and therefore their former voters will be looking to support parties which may have less satisfactory policies but may also turn out not to be completely spineless and ineffective; the Greens will deservedly be flushed down the toilet of history by the voters next week (and FF are heading for a colossal kicking too).

As I've said before, I would be voting Labour if I had a vote, based on their more convincing story on constitutional reform, but I am surprised that the system ranked me as fully 8 points more compatible with them than Fine Gael (my formative years were in Garret v Charlie days, when it was pretty clear who was good and who evil). My biggest difference with FG oddly was on transport, where I gave two answers (pro building Metro North, against bus privatisation, not that I feel very strongly on either) that aligned me strongly against them and with all the other parties. On the two issues I actually care most about, my support for Ireland participating in future EU defence initiatives is cancelled out by my support for Turkey's EU membership in terms of agreement with FG, and together the two questions leave me positively aligned with only FF and Labour (and that only mildly).

For a laugh I went back and filled out the EU Profiler survey from 2009, which puts me much closer to Labour than to any of the others, which feels like a more accurate representation of my views, even though the questions (and policy positions) are almost two years old. So I must say I end up thinking that votomatic.ie has missed a few things, in particular the possibility of marking some issues as more and other as less important to the voter's own strength of feeling.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 19th, 2011 12:08 pm (UTC)
I got the Greens in second. I think it's because, for a lot of the economic questions I give decidedly old UK Labour answers, mixed with pro-public transport answers.
Feb. 19th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
I don't have anything like your detailed knowledge of Irish politics, but I was struck by your reaction to being rated as a hard-line Green. I've taken several such online surveys over the years, and the European ones--whether built around the politics of a single country or simple EU-wide in their scope--always seem to tell me I should vote for some Green party or another. There are a few countries in which I can imagine doing so, because the local Greens have actually gotten their act together, but in most countries I suspect that my position would be much like yours.

I realize your reaction is based on very specific recent Irish history and mine is based on not much more than the impressions built up over many years of following the news, but I'm kind of struck by the parallel. I think I probably read to these surveys as a big Green supporter because I think that climate change is a big deal and because when given the opportunity to rank which subjects are important to me, I frequently put a large emphasis on issues like public transit and sustainable urban development. But every time I deal with self-described Greens I find myself put off by a whole constellation of moralizing attitudes that seem to travel alongside the stuff I agree with. I'd like a pro-science, pro-sustainability political movement whose position is that we have to deal with climate change and put our technological civilization on a more sustainable basis so that we can go ahead and be, as individuals, every bit as crappy as we are. Too many actual existing Greens seem to believe, as an unquestioned article of faith, that success can't and won't happen without large numbers of people successfully becoming more individually virtuous. I think that such an outlook isn't politics, it's millenarianism--not a plan, but a dream.
Feb. 19th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC)
Like yourself, I suspect I'm a bit too libertarian to be a comfortable fit for the Greens in general; I agree that there is too much of a sense of trying to legislate against sin.

However, unlike in the US, the more 'sensible' position on climate change which you describe is basically now mainstream for almost all European political parties (the British Tories, being closest to the US parties, have the most visible climate sceptics but even there they are a minority), and (though this may be my Brussels perspective) sustainable economic development is now hardwired into the general EU approach (see Article 3.3 of the Treaty).

In fairness to the principles of the Green movement, the Irish Greens' failure is much more a moral and human failing from the party's leaders than any particular problem with their ideology. The Green Party's unique selling points in the 2007 election were stopping a natural gas refinery being built in Mayo, rerouting a planned motorway in Meath, and stopping your air force from using Shannon airport. Any or all of these could have been implemented, not without cost of course, once they had got into government. But they delivered on precisely none of them (indeed, one of their ministers ended up supervising the construction of the refinery which he had pledged to prevent). They lost the moral high ground by failing to deliver, and their reason for eventually withdrawing from the government was on a point of political strategy rather than high principle. Essentially, they were put in a position to turn their words into actions, and failed to do so, and at that rate even those who agree with every word of their electoral programme will have difficulty in voting for them again.
Feb. 19th, 2011 03:25 pm (UTC)
Interesting details -- thanks.

I don't object in principle to "legislating against sin" -- people have opinions about what (if anything) "sin" is, and of what is and isn't a sin, and those opinions make up part of their view of what the law should and shouldn't address. My actual objection is to political programmes that include as a necessary step the assumption that at some stage lots of people will become better and more responsible through the sheer force of their wills. It's the political equivalent of the Underpants Gnomes' business plan. It doesn't require a libertarian outlook to notice this.

The common Green expression of this seems to be the idea that we must try to convince people to perform small acts of environmentally-virtuous voluntary self-denial, and that somehow this will save the planet. Of course not enough people will, and it wouldn't be enough even if they did. If the planet is to be saved, it's going to come from large-scale rearrangements, not from enough people reusing their brown paper bags.
Feb. 19th, 2011 01:36 pm (UTC)
I had a look at it last night and I got in the overall: +2 for FF, Lab & Green with -4 SF & -12FG. So I'm wishy washy in what I do want however I know what I don't want.
Feb. 19th, 2011 03:58 pm (UTC)
I'll be voting Green again in spite of the fact that I agree with your indictment of their performance :(

Throughout the course of the last government, I kept telling myself: "compromise in coalition is inevitable, but if they can only achieve a, b and c, it will have been worth it..."

In the end, they achieved nothing very important.
Feb. 19th, 2011 10:19 pm (UTC)
I got Sinn Fein. I realise they've moved on as a party, but I still couldn't bring myself to vote for them. I suspect I got them because I'm a pretty lefty Green and the Irish Green Party isn't as left as the Scottish (or me). Glad I'm not voting next week, though I'd probably vote Labour as the best of the parties I could tolerate.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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