In the past, 'vote match' and 'political compass' type questionnaires have quite accurately reflected my natural preference for the SNP - I've occasionally been matched slightly closer to the Scottish Greens, but that's fair enough given that they're a pro-independence party. But Unlock Democracy's latest version of Vote Match for the European elections is an absolute abomination. There are such a huge number of questions about environmental regulation that it was obvious I was going to be steered towards the Greens, which is fine (I'm not going to vote for them, obviously, not least because they haven't got a prayer of winning a seat), but my jaw dropped to the floor when I was told that my second preference ought to be Labour, not the SNP. How on Earth could this possibly have happened, given that I was even allowed to add particular weight to my pro-independence and pro-immigration answers? The explanation, it appears, is that Unlock Democracy have included a huge number of questions to which the SNP's response was not 'agree' or 'disagree', but 'neither'. Examples include :
"The UK should only hold a referendum on its membership of the EU if new powers are transferred to Brussels"
"The EU should introduce stronger environmental standards for shale gas extraction ('fracking')."
"More foreign policy areas should be agreed at an EU level."
"Allowing employees to work more than 48 hours a week is open to abuse by employers."
So simply be expressing a view on subjects that the SNP are supposedly agnostic about, my match drifts away from the party. And I use the word 'supposedly' advisedly - for example, this is the SNP's explanation for saying 'neither' to the question about a 48-hour working limit...
"We have particular concerns over the unintended consequences of strict working hour limits on public services in remote areas."
That does not exactly sound like blue-blooded Thatcherism to me. Memo to Unlock Democracy : if someone is pro-independence, pro-Europe and pro-immigration, they're highly likely to prefer Nicola Sturgeon to Yvette Cooper. Back to the drawing-board, guys, unless you want to start turning into YouGov.
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A couple of other things you might be interested in : National Collective are looking for £30,000 funding for Yestival, a month-long cultural Festival of Yes taking place in the summer (the choice of name will doubtless delight the snooty types who still think that 'Scolympians' was an abomination).
I'm always a bit nervous about publicising 'alternative' pro-independence fundraisers in case it diverts potential funds from the official Yes campaign, but I'm sure everyone reading this is perfectly capable of deciding for themselves how best to invest their hard-earned cash! It's worth noting, though, that now is the ideal time to donate to Yes Scotland, because there are only a few short weeks left before the strict campaign spending limits kick in.
And here's something you can do that won't cost a penny - why not 'like' the Facebook page of Christians for Independence? The Tories issued a very silly press release yesterday that tried to read huge significance into the fact that the page only had 115 likes (it's now up to 142).