Saturday, October 25, 2008

Political Compass

Whooee! Well friends an' foes, the folks over to StageLeft are talkin' about the Political Compass and how we oughta be doin' a better job of labelin' various people, parties and positions on more than just the right to left, linear definitions. I've been a proponent of the Political Compass method for a few years and I just re-tested myself. I'm a little more of a Lick than I was a few years back.

I found it interesting that my party of choice is well to the Upper Right of my own position. I ain't the only one to find a similar distance and trajectory from one's own position to that of one's chosen party.

I'd be interested in a round-up of bloggers' positions and a comparison of those positions to the positions of the party they generally support, if any.



Chrystal Ocean said...

Here's where I sit:

Economic Left/Right: -7.25
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.18

Am one square below you on the SL/A scale.

We're stuck out there in a southwest wilderness, aren't we?

And our choices look to be even worse in BC. The NDP are like the federal Libs, the Libs like the federal Cons and the BC Greens, well, I don't know where they are. (They really, really need to keep their website up to date!)

Anonymous said...

I'm even more of a leftie now than I was a few years ago:

Economic Left/Right: -8.12
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.08

I am not much consoled by the fact that the NDP are the closest party to my position. I support them, but they remain too centrist for my true tastes.

Still, it makes me wish that every voter had to take this test before marking the X on their ballot. :-D

Anonymous said...

Jimbobby - I am surprised you are surprised that the GPC is considerably more to the right than the NDP. The NDP has been saying this for quite some time and strangely no one listens. Saying the GPC or the LPC are left-centre parties is simply not true. Now you might be surprised that you are more to the left than the NDP maybe it will mean you will give the NDP another look ;)

BTW - you haven't commented on Earth Mother Lizzie's recent problems with some in the GPC. Any thoughts?

JimBobby said...

I ain't really all that surprised about where the Greens are. I don't agree that the position is "considerably" to the right. The distace is fairly small and both NDP and Greens are closer to the centre than any other parties.

I might give the NDP a second look. I've voted NDP in the past but I am extremely skeptical wrt the NDP's commitment to proportional representation. I alsoquestion the NDP's real commitment to teh environment. The nati-carbon tax stance in teh face ofd near universal support for carbon taxes by environmental experts was very disappointing. The continued influence of powerful unions in teh NDP is also a problem for me, as a libertarian lefty who has been a self-employed businessperson for more than 30 years.

I don't think the few grumbling voices kvetching about Elizabeth may are going to gather much support. The Green party federal council just reaffirmed its unanimous support for Lizzie and most members are are happy with what she's done.

I spoke to literally thousands of voters during this campaign and a large number of them (GPC supporters or not) were effusive in their praise for Elizabeth and her performance in the TV debate. Yeah, she puts her foot in her mouth once in a while. Not politically cagey enough, I suppose. That's hardly a big strike against her, IMO.


Jim (Progressive Right) said...

I have this installed on my Facebook profile. The neat thing about it there is, if your Facebook friends have it installed too, it'll show your position in relation to your Facebook friends.

Back to the point at hand. I'm in the lower left quadrant too, as are the 8 other friends of mine who have this installed on FB (7 of them are bloggers).

Anonymous said...

Hey JB: although I realize that provincial NDP parties out west aren't as committed to PR but that is NOT the case federally. There is real commitment on the part of the federal party. In part it is likely based on real politk, in that reaching govt federally for the NDP will always be hard in a FPTP system so long as there is a Liberal Party. I am not a doom sayer who thinks its impossible (particularly given recent performance by LPoC) but it will always be tough.

In terms of carbon pricing. I fully acknowledge that the NDP has a different approach than GPC. The NDP does not favour a carbon tax on the consumer or tax shifting. The reason being that even factoring in additional subsidies for low income people the NDP honestly (I know I worked on the campaign) believe that the raise in costs will hurt more under carbon taxes. Revenue Neutral tax shifting, if it works as designed also leads to ever reducing government revenue which will make things like our social safety net and health care increasing difficult to fund.

I appreciate that GPCers disagree but I would ask you, now that we are out of the hyper-partisan atmosphere of an election campaign, do you think that May's characterizations and disregard of Layton's long history of environmental, transit and bike activism is fair? Particularly when you compare it to Dion's johnny-come=lately enviro 'creds' and his parties complete lack of enviro credibility?

My issue with the GPC is less the party and more the current leader.

JimBobby said...

AQh, the old "provincial vs. federal" argument. Whenever, the NDP wants to tout something a provincial wing has done, they lu8mp the two together. when they'd rather distance themselves from provincial wing shortcomings, they say the two are separate entities. This business of trying to have it both ways is disingenuous.

Prior to the 2004 election, Jack Layton was asked if his party would prop up a possible Martin minority. He said he would do so only if Martin made electoral reform a priority. Electoral reform, Jack said, was his one and only non-negotiable issue. Lo and behold, a Martin minority was elected. I'll let you check Hansard for how many times the NDP raised the electoral reform issue in the Martin minority session. Hint: it was less than two and the only mention came from a 2 minute speech by Ed Broadbent near the end of the session. Again, the federal NDP's commitment to electoral reform is just not there. On paper, yes; in practice, no.

Carbon pricing is ineveitable. The pitch that cap-and-trade will affect big business and not rtrickle down to individual coonsumers defies all logic. That pitch was not an honest pitch and the reliance of cap-and-trade only versus a two-pronged approach of a carbon tax coupled with cap-and-trade is what most environmentalists, economists and the GPC is calling for. The C&T only route was designed not for the planet but for vote-gathering. We cannot afford to waste time with slow, difficult-to-implement schemes while turning our backs on proven quick methods.

Two years ago, after being elected GPC leader,, Elizabeth May asked to meet with Jack Layton. Jack refused to take her calls. This is undisputed. Cooperation between the parties could help in many ridings but the NDP seems to be against everyone who isn't NDP. The Greens have proven that they are willing to cooperate for the good of the country and the planet. Jack is interested in being PM. That's all.

I was closely involved with my local GPC campaign in the election. At almost every all candidates meeting (there were 7 of them) the NDP candidate talked condescendingly and insulted the Greens. This was not in response to anything the GPC candidate said but merely an echo of NDP anti-Green talking points. Our candidate chose to take the high road and ignore the offensive remarks.

My problems with the NDP are more with the uncompromising Layton than with the party rank and file. The fact that so many NDP bloggers have made their disdain for Elizabeth May their main theme wrt the GPC has been very unhelpful. The fact hat so many NDP bloggers have characterized the GPC as a right-wing party has not helped, either.

Cooperation is a two-way street and from what I can see, the NDP is not interested in working cooperatively.


Anonymous said...

Actually, in the federal election, Layton aligned himself with the provincial BC NDP against carbon taxes, mentioning this both in speeches as well as on the NDP website.

It was not simply the NDP favouring cap and trade over carbon taxes, it was the NDP purposely painting carbon taxes in general as "unfair", "harmful", "hurting people", "ineffective", "do nothing for the environment", etc. I spent considerable time communicating with several NDP candidates trying to educate them about carbon pricing. Either they were simply partisan or so deeply misinformed, their minds were closed. What bothered me more, is young people working with them being misled, as they are our future. I did find them to be more open, at least, and willing to think that perhaps there was not so much difference between a carbon tax and cap and trade as Layton and other NDPers were suggesting.

I think the environmental movement has its work cut out for it, just trying to undo the misinformation campaign Jack Layton, Carole James and other NDPers, together with Stephen Harper, have waged on carbon pricing.

Anonymous said...

My post was in response to anon, who seems to think that cap and trade will not be regressive. Actually, it will be even more regressive because it costs considerably more than a carbon tax, particularly the hard, fixed caps the NDP proposes. If you don't understand this, you can start by reading this document which compares the costs of fixed caps to a carbon tax - both set to achieve the same long-term reduction in emissions.

Policy Options for Reducing CO2 Emissions

Other studies on the same site, offer specific suggestions for countering the regressive nature of cap and trade, which would be most difficult with hard caps because the costs are so uncertain.

If one wants to make sure those who can least afford it do not bear the burden of carbon pricing, then one would support a carbon tax, where the costs are most certain and transparent and where revenue flows to the government which can then be used to best protect those in need. One can try to do this with cap and trade, but it is more difficult. The NDP plan made no such attempt - they were so stuck on their messaging that cap and trade did not cost "ordinary Canadians" anything, unlike the nasty carbon tax, which they think somehow lets "big polluters" off the hook and hurts people.

Frankly, I find the NDP carbon pricing message absolutely sickening with its hypocrisy. There is no way Layton or James care about the environment. On this particular issue, one should think of them as interchangeable with Harper.

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