Political

How authoritarian is your MP?

I had this guest post over on the Wardman Wire earlier in the week:

The liberal versus authoritarian spectrum is one that cuts across traditional party lines to a significant degree. For example, you’ll find principled and firm opponents of I.D. cards not just in the Liberal Democrats, but also in both the Labour and Conservative parties.

But because it cuts across party lines, the individual records of MPs in this respect often go largely unspoken at election time. Rather than it becoming an issue which attracts or puts off swing voters, it becomes an issue that gets sidelined as the focus is so strongly on party labels and differences.

In order to help combat that the Liberal Democrat Voice team launched Rank.LibDemVoice.org, a site which gives MPs a score out of 100 for their authoritarianism based on their voting record in Parliament.

The scoring system uses ten key votes over the last five years, including issues such as ID cards, control orders and freedom of speech. You simply pop in your postcode or the name of your MP and up comes their score, along with an explanation of the reasons for it.

The results page includes easy links for sharing an MP’s score via Twitter or Facebook, helping make the score not just an abstract academic exercise but one that helps set the opinion of MPs. There has been a promising level of sharing so far, but the real test will be how that builds up as general election polling day nears.

Any scoring system is also bound to generate some debate over which votes are included, but as the system is not set in stone for all time if you have a suggestion for a specific vote, go ahead and make your case…

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