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An Electoral Compass for the European Elections

by nanne Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:06:19 AM EST

 EUROPEAN ELECTIONS 

The EU Profiler is now live. This is an interactive 'electoral compass' that works by posing you a set of questions and comparing them to the proposals of the national parties you can elect in the European Parliament elections (hat-tip to Nomad in today's Salon)

Using these compasses has become popular in many European countries because people can't be bothered to closely follow the campaign, and extrapolating wildly from anecdotal evidence, I can say that they often have a decisive impact on the voting behaviour of young people.

Like Nomad and DoDo, I ran the test, in my case, on Germany, and I was struck by the set of questions I was posed. Only 10 out of 30 questions explicitly relate to the European Union, and even less deal with issues that can be meaningfully influenced by the European Parliament.


In the absence of a prominent pan-European dialogue on the issues that matter in the European Election, we are seeing a repeat of the 2004 elections, that is, the elections are used by people to register their feeling about issues other than those on the ballot.

This is perfectly normal behaviour on the part of the voters, who have to deal with the information they can receive, and with the issues they can influence. The political parties are trying to gather that information in a top-down form, which as a collective they are not working out so well - at least, that is the picture that emerges from the EU Profiler.

In the German case, for instance, there is no question on the issue of genetically modified organisms, even though that arguably is a European issue that can be influenced to some extent by the European Parliament. It has also emerged as an early issue in the campaign for the European elections in Germany (see DoDo's comment in the Salon on the 11th of April and our exchange yesterday). The minister for agriculture from the conservative Bavarian party CSU has decided to ban the only GMO crop allowed in Germany, Mon 810 maize, because of pressure on the CSU in the European elections.

To map that: this is a federal decision in Germany taken by a member of an essentially regional party because of pressure in the European elections on an issue that is European insofar as a technocratic body instated on the European level has approved the product and the European Commission is putting pressure on Member States to allow it, following pressure from the World Trade Organisation on the EU to instate more liberal GMO rules (in the social sciences we call this multilevel governance ;-)).

This too is an issue the European Parliament can't influence directly, but at least it does have some influence and the issue is European. Other prominent European issues that are ignored include intellectual property. The Pirate Party is not represented, although its German branch is participating in the elections.

The lack of a pan-European dialogue is aggravated by the essential lack of pan-European parties. Sure, there are parties, they do have their manifestos, and sometimes there are party line votes in the EP. But none of the parties are anywhere near unified. They are an outgrowth of the national organisations and mostly serve those. To clearly demonstrate that, see my position in the EU political landscape according to the EU Profiler.

Colour code: Black=Wingers; Blue=Conservatives; Light Blue= Nationalists/sceptics; Gray=Other; Green=Greens; Light Red=Socialists/Social Democrats; Dark Red=Communists/Left Parties; Yolk=Liberals

... the 'European' parties are all over the map.

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I'll be voting in Germany, could also have voted in NL, which is a topic for another story.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:08:01 AM EST
You aren't clear in the last sentence. The diagram shows your position as an ellipse, while the many dots are the individual national parties running in the different EU member states. What's all over the place is national parties that are part of the same EP party/ideological direction (same-coloured dots).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:17:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK, I changed it.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:22:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A re-post of my own results:

For the heck of it, I did it for Hungary and Germany. I didn't think in advance so I did both in the native language... so some explanations for the graphs below.

First, the positioning of parties and myself; right-left axis social-economic left-right (methinks that should be two separate dimensions... for a number of parties, extremes in those cancel out), top-down: for-against EU integration.

(MDF: small centre-right party with a recent extreme market-liberal makeover; SzDSz: small liberal party; Fidesz: right-populist main party; MSzP: Socialists; LMP: a new moderate Green formation; Jobbik: fascists)

(CSU, CDU: Bavarian/rest of Germany Christian Socialists/Democrats; FDP: [neo-]liberals; FW: Free Voters, localists; SPD: Social Democrats; Die Grünen: Greens; Die Linken: Left Party; DVU, Rep[ublikaner]: far-right)

Next, level of shared values with individual parties:

I suspect the reason this test claims I share more with the domestic far-right than the CDU, CSU and FDP is the fascists' support for the social state.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:11:46 AM EST
My best match in Germany is clearly the greens, then SPD/Newropeans. I have a 100% match with the Luxembourg green party, after that the Spanish PS is closest Europe-wide.

The anecdotal evidence is a friend of mine who became convinced he should vote green after finding out his position matched theirs through a national electoral compass. Left to the side is the question of issue selection and, to some extent, salience (the EU Profiler allows for weighting but that doesn't really cut it).

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:20:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep. I should also note that I'm not quite sure what relativised my pro-integrationism for the test.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:22:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As an example, the French Verts and PS are very close by on the compass ; and that may be true of their programs, yet I don't trust the PS to be independent from neoliberalism to any similar extent...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:11:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The placement of PS caught my eyes, too. See my complaint about conflating economic and social right-left below.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:19:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When classifying European parties, I feel it is the height of stupidity to conflate economic and social left/right. Not only is there no correlation, but in some regions and ideologies, there is anti-correlation -- meaning that parties are at opposite extremes in the economic and social dimensions, resulting in a fake 'moderate' position in the conflated economic-social dimension.

Then again, a 3D map would be more difficult...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:20:42 AM EST
They do have a spiderweb (or whatever you'd call it) for individual party-by-party analysis, but doing that for multiple parties would indeed require some kind of 3D visualisation.
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:34:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More like 7D.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:18:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]

I guess I was voting Labour anyway.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:34:54 AM EST
What country is that?

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.
by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:08:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ireland

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:11:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Looks like Ireland to me...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:12:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ok, found it's Ireland.

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.
by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:15:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For a instant I thought the LAB was the UK labour party...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:10:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was hoping you would comment on my 'How the European Parliament Works' diary.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 09:37:57 AM EST
Great effort, Sven! I added some constructive criticism of the details :-)
by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 10:47:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It gives me Sinistra e liberta as the first choice, followed by the Rifondazione. I was amused to learn that the communists are more supportive of the bankers than I am...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 11:56:55 AM EST
This compass is comical. The poverty of mainstream euroliberals would be a more proper phrase.
According to this "test" I will vote for the fascists (!) in Hungary (my country). In Sweden for the ex-communists, in the Netherlands for the non-socialdemocratic left, and in many countries for the Greens. Fabulous.
by Dr Minorka on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 12:24:42 PM EST
Which is the green party at the center?

Clearly, they most be non-political. And probably rational. :)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 04:32:29 PM EST
Yeşiller Partisi, the Turkish Greens.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 03:46:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 05:01:28 PM EST
I guess this is consistent with my choice to join the LibDems and not Labour when I was in the UK...


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 05:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thats strange, when I did it, i landed up pretty much in the same place as you, (a touch down and to the left)  but when I looked at the pic it had Labour to the right of the tories, which gave me a chuckle.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Apr 23rd, 2009 at 05:20:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have looked at this graph with my own results, but noticed only now: they judge the British Greens more Eurosceptic than the Tories!? Something's not alright there...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 03:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just like along the socioeconomic left/right axis we know there is a problem conflating laissez-faire liberalism with civil libretarianism, so it is in the European integration axis, where it is a problem to conflate political integration with race-to-the-bottom single market competition.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 03:53:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Note: no Spanish party in the lower half on European integration. And only the PP is significantly to the economic right, even more than the nationalist ALDE/ELDR affiliates PNV and CiU.

By the way, CiU replaced their excellent sitting MEP Ignasi Guardans with an orthodox economist who is more of a Catalan nationalist, with emphasis on the nationalism. I think it is a loss. I was toying with the idea of voting for CiU to reelect Guardans, now I'll probably vote PSOE (and Guardans if going to join ZP's Ministry of Culture).

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 04:02:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru:
And only the PP is significantly to the economic right
I am not really councting Ciutadans because they are marginal - they will at most get one seat. Shockingly, they have affiliated with Libertas. And to think they were alleged to be taking votes away from the Socialists when they were created...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 10:48:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hmm, if that compass is correct I should vote for ICV...

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 06:06:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Seems to be the only European party that I have an agreement of over 90% with. Should I know them?

Anyway, I'm probably voting Grüne, because the Linke doesn't support the Lisbon treaty. But I'm seriously considering the Piratenpartei as well, their time has come.

"If you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles." Sun Tzu

by Turambar (sersguenda at hotmail com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 04:12:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Initiative for Catalonia Greens
(Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds, ICV) is a political party in Catalonia, Spain. It was formed as a merger of Iniciativa per Catalunya and Els Verds. IC had been an alliance led by Partit Socialista Unificat de Catalunya and was the equivalent of Izquierda Unida in Catalonia. IC later developed into a political party, and PSUC was dissolved.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Apr 24th, 2009 at 06:30:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This just in from ICV's single sitting MEP:

Raül Romeva i Rueda - Els blocs de VilaWeb - MÉSVilaWebRaul Romeva i Rueda (MEP) - The blogs of VillaWeb - MEsVilaWeb

Hace unas semanas, Greenpeace denunció ante la fiscalía que una empresa gallega, Armadores Vidal, había estado recibiendo subvenciones del gobierno español (3,6 millones de euros entre 2003 y 2005) a pesar de que ésta acumula desde 1999 numerosas sanciones en varios países por pescar ilegalmente en medio mundo.

A few weeks ago, Greenpeace denounced before the public prosecutors that a Galician company, Armadores Vidal, had been receiving aid from the Spanish government (€3.6bn between 2003 and 2005) despite accumulating since 1999 numerous sanctions in various countries for illegal fishing all over the world.
La semana pasada, empezó la temporada de pesca del Atún. Los científicos nos dicen que hace ya tiempo que hemos superado los límites aceptables de pesca sostenible de esta especie en claro riesgo de desaparición.Last week, the tuna fishing season began. Scientists tell us that it's been a long time since the acceptable limits of sustainable fishing were exceeded for this species, at clear risk of disappearing.
Estos días la Ministra española de defensa se encuentra en Somalia dirigiendo el operativo de protección a la industria atunera desplegada en el Índico, frente a la piratería. Si los atuneros europeos tienen que alejarse tanto de sus casas para trabajar se debe, primero, a que los estocs más cercanos están a punto de colapsar, y segundo, porque contamos con una flota excesivamente subvencionada y claramente sobredimensionada que busca rentabilidad a costa, incluso, de acabar con el principal elemento que sustenta su actividad: los peces.These days the Spanish Minister of Defence is in Somalia directing the operations protecting the tuna industry deployed in the Indian ocean from piracy. If European tuna fishers have to go so far from their homes to work it is due, first, to the fact that the nearest stocks are close to collapsing, and second, because we have an excessively subsidised and clearly too large fleet which seeks returns at all costs, even finishing off the main element that sustains their activity: fish.


Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Apr 25th, 2009 at 07:47:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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