Official party ranking

My throwaway “official party ranking” below got a lot more interest than the post it was in. Since I’m a big fan of giving the public what it wants (as long as it features me pontificating about politics), here’s an extended version.

My critera for a “sensible political party” are:

1) social libertarianism: don’t let’s lock people up for having odd sex, saying nasty things, or enjoying unusual chemicals.

2) economic liberalism: free trade tends to be better than rival economic models at making people overall richer. While I’d argue that you can take economic liberalism too far (starvation for the unemployed doesn’t appeal), none of the UK parties are arguing for this at the moment so the point is moot.

3) lack of bizarre additional policies tangential to 1 and 2: this handicaps the Greens (e.g. opposition to economic growth), Loonies (e.g. criminalising metric and closing the Channel Tunnel), UKIP (err, see Loonies), and the BNP (if you need to ask, I’m worried).

Looking at the individual parties:

Lib Dems

1) Broadly strong; let down by anti-“hate speech” policies.

2) Medium and improving (some members score very low here, but Vincent Cable is as economically literate as anyone in Westminster, and he’s the guy in the seat).

3) Sharing platforms with hardcore Islamists a bit worrying


1) Weak. Improved gay rights, but in favour of compulsory ID cards, Internet monitoring, interning foreigners without trial, and banning “hate speech”.

2) Medium-to-strong. Brown’s done a good job so far, although extra spending on NHS, punishment, etc is daft.

3) The fact that most of the people in the party hate the leadership and everything it stands for is a bit worrying.


1) Broadly strong; let down by anti-“hate speech” policies.

2) Very bad indeed.

3) The party’s philosophical goals are different from the mainstream ones – most people favour “raising standards of living” (through various different means), but this isn’t the primary goal for Greens.

Monster Raving Loony Party

1) Broadly strong; let down by pro-“mandatory-eating-of-asparagus” policies.

2) Unworkable, although better than the Greens.

3) Mixture of the foolish and the sensible (the latter include compelling MPs to provide evidence that they’ve been working in order to be paid, making union political contributions opt-in rather than opt-out, privatising industries by dividing shares among the members of the public who already own them…)


1) Split. “Grass roots” in favour of hanging, flogging, against sex, fun, people who aren’t like them, but many supporters and MPs reasonably libertarian. I’m not willing to take the risk of the Cuthbertson crowd taking power…

2) Poor. In favour of raising pensions, health spending, education spending, punishment spending; no plans for funding said increases without raising taxation.

3) Xenophobia and knee-jerk anti-Europeanism (mostly among the “grass roots” above.


1) Many social policies surprisingly libertarian – recognition that prison is inappropriate for minor offences, support of freedom of speech, pro-immigration of skilled workers.

2) Economic policies almost as incoherent as Tories, with populist gestures (cut fuel tax, raise pensions, raise NHS spending) that cost double the money theoretically saved by EU withdrawal.

3) Single-issue party with many supporters opposed to other points in platform (especially civil libertarian points) – to be trused with power?; position on single issue not obviously correct.


1) Aside from the obvious, big fans of general illiberalism – birching vandals, throwing drug users out of their homes, etc.

2) Overregulation (eg policy on ‘preserving small businesses’ by banning big ones from competing; policy on awarding licenses for taxis etc to ‘bear the closest possible relationship to the average make-up of the local population’. And there’s more…).

3) Based on an entirely ridiculous single issue policy: after all, it’s hard to deny that mass immigration has enormously enriched and helped Britain over the last 1500 years.

Further thoughts welcome (as an aside, while I was researching this post I was surprised to see how sensible some of the UKIP’s non-Europe policies are – not exactly leftist, but certainly more liberal/libertarian than the Tories. I might even consider swapping the Tories and UKIP in the rankings…)

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