The main difference between political parties

You’ve probably heard more than a few people declaim politicians, saying they’re all the same, and you might as well not vote at all.

Such cynicism is understandable, especially after the expenses scandal, but wrong-headed. There are plenty of differences between the parties. On economic policy, for example, the gaps between the parties are growing ever more obvious as the election campaign rattles on.

But there’s something far more important on which there’s an extremely clear divide: their general attitude towards democracy and the freedom of the individual. The current Labour government has passed some really rather draconian legislation, including – but not limited to – the rightly reviled ID cards project.

This has prompted the Liberal Democrats to put together an interesting score sheet at ‘How authoritarian is your MP?’ Obviously, given the source, it’s not unbiased. But they’ve listed ten pieces of legislation attacking civil liberties, and scored every MP on how they voted.

Looking down the list of 619 MPs, what’s striking is that the entire top half of the list (the most authoritarian MPs) are all Labour MPs. Sure, it takes guts to vote against your party. But if you’re sick of economic fudge, and need to see a clear divide between the parties to persuade you to get out there and vote, then this one looks pretty compelling to me.