Before the election, do your homework
Posted by Martin Poulter on 3 May 2010
There will always be people who base their vote on which candidate has the shiniest teeth, or on how their newspaper tells them to. I hope you, fellow voter, are less superficial. Probably the least superficial thing you could do in advance of Thursday’s UK General Election is this:
Go to Public Whip and see how each party’s MPs vote on the issues that matter to you. Manifesto promises are easily broken, and presidential-style debates are irrelevant when we’re electing not a president but a legislative body. The voting record shows what the parties really work for, and Public Whip’s hard work makes it visible at a glance.
Some votes to take a look at:
- Declaration of war in Iraq (majority for)
- Indefinite detention of terror suspects (majority against)
- Removing hereditary peers from the House of Lords (majority for)
- Taking urgent action on climate change (majority against)
- Introduction of Identity Cards (majority for)
- Racial and Religious Hatred bill (before it was watered down by the Lords) (majority for)
- Digital Economy bill (majority for)
- Repeal of Section 28 (majority for – i.e. the majority were okay for local authorities to say that homosexuality is acceptable)
- MPs’ allowances (majority rejected a bunch of recommendations which would have cut back their benefits, e.g. claiming furniture on expenses)
- Ban on hunting mammals with dogs (majority for)
- Replacing the Trident nuclear missile system (majority for)
My personal reaction is that, of the three main parties
- one almost always votes the way I would if I were an MP,
- another seems to be disastrously old-fashioned and authoritarian
- the third is very divided, with a lot of rebels who I agree with more often than the rest of the party, but again, they’ve backed some disastrous decisions.
If you want to look at the voting record of a particular MP, go instead to TheyWorkForYou.