Elections are all about voters making a choice and deciding who to support this time. So it’s ironic that for most political activists, this central decision barely impinges on all our campaigning; we know who we’re voting for, thank you very much.

So the 2nd choice in the London Mayoral election gives us committed Lib Dems a refreshing dilemma; obviously we hope Brian Paddick makes it into the last two. And with support like this and this (and even this) he could. But if he doesn’t, should we vote for Ken or Boris or waste our 2nd choice on a party that’s certain to get knocked out first – or not use the 2nd choice at all. Aha – but we fought for a fairer voting system; so it’s a bit sad not to use that 2nd vote now we’ve got it.

This is where VoteMatch comes in. It’s a handy website that asks you to react to various policy statements and then matches you against the Mayoral candidate closest to your views. You can even weight the answers so that if, for example, pigeons matter more to you than police, then that is reflected in the results.

I do have some quibbles with it. It feels a bit like those magazine quizzes where you express your preference on Italian vs sushi, and it announces that your ideal man is George Clooney. (By the way, it’s not me who needs to know: just tell George.)

More seriously, I think it’s got some of the policy a bit wrong, or interpreted it wrongly. One question asks if you agree that “the Congestion Charge should be the same for all cars regardless of their engine size or exhaust emissions”. Well, we have criticisms of Ken’s new policy of charging some gas guzzlers extra, while suddenly lifting the charge for lots of smaller cars which are not carbon neutral and will increase congestion. But we don’t want to introduce charges for the electric cars or emergency vehicles or taxis which go in free. So no, Lib Dems don’t think it should be the same for all; but VoteMatch seems to think we do.

And I was very disconcerted to find that by changing my answer to one or two questions, my result moved from Lindsay German to Boris Johnson. Or maybe that exposes some interesting overlaps in their agenda….

But overall, VoteMatch is a great way to engage people in thinking about the Mayoral election. And who knows, it might even help me choose that elusive 2nd preference.



  1. Heather Blunn said

    I don’t like it – I got UKIP first and BNP second!! I don’t think I’ll be putting either of those as my second preference! Still, it did list Ken as last out of all of them which is acurate. Hope the last few days of campaigning go well – not long now!

  2. Des said

    Well its polling day here as we speak and to be honest and I know I should go and tick my preferred box alongside the candidate of my choice, however over the years in my eye no matter who I elected for I seen no changes – so this year not going to wear out the shoe leather

  3. Polly said

    I can see your point about the questions been asked it can feel almost superfical , I suppose once it engages people or suggests a party or candidate it gives us the oppurtunity to look more in dept into their policies to see if they is someone or party that you could support. Not straying to far from the net or for conviece sake people can always check the policies on the party website or on micandidate.

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