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Thursday, 9 February 2012

Political Compass

Over the years I have seen my political views slide slowly to the right. At school I was definitely “left wing” and since then, passing through university, working for someone else and then working for myself I have found my sympathies laying more and more to the right of centre.

But it’s not as easy as that. There are some current Conservative policies that I am diametrically opposed to: Planning “reform”, NHS “reforms” nuclear weapons… i could go on. However I still saw myself as to the right of centre.

The other evening Chris Townsend & I were having one of our regular fun ding-dongs on politics (always in good humour, it should be said!) and he introduced me to a questionnaire that I hadn’t seen before, that dug deeper than left or right and also examined your views on authority and libertarianism.

It was quite late at night when I bundled my way through it at breakneck speed and i was quite surprised at the result. It turned out that I was in fact a bit of a lefty libertarian!

This evening I went back to the questionnaire to have another go – less tired and taking more time over my answers. The results were surprisingly similar – but this time it found me bang in the middle in the left / right sense but still a bit of a libertarian.

Here are the graphic representations of the results:

Political Compass 7th Feb 2012

(7th Feb, Late at night, done quickly)

 

Political Compass 9th Feb 2012 

(9th Feb, Completed with care)

So how does this compare with some better known in political circles? here you go:

Political Compass Compatriots

And:

Political Compass Compatriots 2

So there you have it! You can have a go for yourselves by clicking on this link:

POLITICAL COMPASS QUESTIONNAIRE 

You don’t have to let me know the results, but secretly I would love to know! The one big surprise was to find myself politically well to the left of Gordon Brown… I am not quite sure how that works…

102 comments:

  1. Glad this caught your attention Alan. I find it fascinating. As you know I come way down bottom left, well below and to the left of the Dalai Lama.

    Notice how most politicians are on the authoritarian right wing. And Gordon Brown is further right and more authoritarian than Angela Merkel.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Chris: I find it quite chilling to see where the politicians are on this graph. They certainly don't seem to be representing my views very well. It might be a good idea to ask each prospective MP to fill out a similar test connected to a lie-detector so we can all see what we are actually voting for...

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    2. bottom left too- but that's no surprise

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    3. oooh! Hello Darlin'! (The Lesser Spotted Val!)

      No - No surprise there! :-)

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  2. Alan, my result was probably a slightly more extreme version of what I would have anticipated: in the green zone, two squares in from the left and three up from the bottom. Quite gratifying really for an unreconstructed old left-wing curmudgeon.

    Blame my maternal grandfather: he left me his politics, his cantankerous disposition and West Bromwich bloody Albion. All apparently inescapable!

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    1. Hi Byeways,
      Your Grandfather's football legacy must be a constant agony for you!
      :-)

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  3. Interesting! There was me thinking I would be more at home having a cup of tea with Maggie, when it turns out I'd prefer to break chapati with Gandhi! :)

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  4. Interesting results you got there, Alan. I never had you down as being in the same ball-park as Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and The Dalai Lama.

    I'll take the test later, it should relieve the boredom here for a while.

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    1. Hello Darlin'!
      How's it going Stef? Any better? At least this should bring a smile to your face.

      Me & Ghandi - Like this, we are!

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    2. How's it going? Well, we're not sitting comfortably and the sun's not shining out of it. Nuff said?

      Anyway, I did the test and was surprised to find that I'm not the right-winger that I thought I was... Economic Left/Right: -5.50, Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.46

      Perhaps I should take up politics.

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    3. I suppose we are all initially comparing ourselves to the public perception of our current crop of politicians. It seems that they are amazingly to the right of their electorate.

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  5. Ooo er! I'm not sure I want to be there! Although, I am sitting on a line, so that could be interpreted as on the fence, my favourite place!

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    1. Now I am intrigued! I think I can guess though.... :-)

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  6. Economic Left/Right: -3.38
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -3.79

    Exactly where I hoped and expected to be. :-)

    https://plus.google.com/photos/107163687978096571828/albums/5707270746050114369

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    1. A bit of a Dalai Lama, George. Not bad company to be with!

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  7. Replies
    1. We expect you to be suitably clad on the Chally then, Carl - a big white sheet and some flip-flops. The sheet cold double as a tarp?
      :-)

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  8. Mine is pretty much where I thought it would be...which would surprise many of the happy folk who often accuse me of being a right wing reactionary mentalist...but that's ok...my views are writ with a broad brush, not a quill...

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  9. I am a bit left and up left than you. ED and Ed are still inept and lack policy, clarity and are deficit denying unrealistic deluded Brown lapdogs. Sign me up for the next debate on twitter.

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    1. No sitting on the fence there then, Martin!

      It's fascinating that the politicos are so far over to the right. I suppose it's inevitable that they are more authoritarian as they are the ones at the sharp end and have to make the unpleasant decisions, whereas we have the luxury of answering questions in a more abstract fashion.
      Trying to be nice about them... It pains me...

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  10. I'm heading towards Dalai Lama, slightly Right of and slightly more libertarian than Ghandi. I'm a bit relieved about that...

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    1. It seems from the results in so far from the Blogosphere that we are all way to the left of our politicians.
      Interesting...

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  11. I'm apparently a libertarian lefty: L/R -8.25, L/A -5.79. I'm not entirely surprised, although by that measure I would have been off the map once upon a time. The questions are a bit odd - how does your view on abstract art fit into this? The inclusion of so many questions on abortion, religion and homosexuality suggest to me that this questionnaire is very US-centric. It seems to me that from a European perspective our answers to those questions are not necessarily determined by where we stand politically. Maybe that's because I'm an anarchic pinko however. Where would Tory Blair appear?
    Fun that Alan. Ta. I'm off now to plot the revolution (but - memo to sense-of-humour-and-proportion-bypassed guardians of public safety - I definitely won't be blowing up Robin Hood airport).

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I wondered about some of the questions too, but they do tend to polarize, in order to find more extreme opinions. There weren't too many of them though. I also wondered about the US stuff but in the matrices where they show the politicians, they are virtually all either European or well known world leaders.

      Most US citizens wouldn't have a clue who they were!

      I reckon our Tony would be pretty close to Margaret.

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  12. Hi Alan,

    To my surprise I find myself left of Dalai Lama, and also slightly more Libertarian (L/R -6,62 L/A -6.51). That must mean I have grown quit a bit left and down during adulthood.

    Rolf

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    1. You are in excellent company over there, Rolf! I wonder how we would all score though if we were given real life/ real time/ real people scenarios, like the politicians have to face all the time?

      I think we are all a little bit like Jim Hacker. Perhaps we need a Sir Humphrey to put real world pressure on when we fill out the questionnaire?

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  13. Good point (about the politicians on the grid).
    My paranoia gland kicked in and I wondered if the website might be American but intended for a European audience: the CIA identifying dangerous free-thinkers abroad. TBH tells me that they won't be worried about me: the -8.25 might indicate that I would like to radically change the world, but the -5.79 is sympomatic of the fact that I can't be a***d.

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    1. You can say "arsed" on here. The CIA won't mind, I'm sure.
      :-)

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    2. The CIA won't mind, I'm sure.

      That's assuming that Mark's starred word was intended to represent "arsed". The CIA may be watching, just in case the word intended was "armed", "assad" or maybe even "ahmed" :-)

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    3. Now you've done it Stef! Not planning on a trip to the States, were you? You'll be put straight back on a plane back to Blighty!
      :-)

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    4. Planning a trip to the States? Hell no! - yesterday I planned a trip up the garden but failed miserably - 4 faults crossing the icy yard and a refusal at the steps.

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  14. fun quiz. My politics are my grandads, the old trot, its all his fault.

    Economic Left/Right: -9.12
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.90

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    1. I reckon your Grandad would be proud of his offspring then! I'm not sure "fault" is the right expression though!
      :-)

      We need a broad spectrum of opinion in any country to make it work! Otherwise there would be no political debate and no government.

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  15. I am also more left than I expected.
    In fact more left than you Al.
    But... how true is the test.
    And did Butler And Gandhi do it?

    Bit of a laugh though.

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    1. Butler? RAB Butler? In my own mind, I am sure Ghandi did it! He was a demon for questionnaires. He also invented the Rubik cube and the format for the X-Factor, you know...
      ;-)

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    2. Butler - Ahhhh...

      Such is the wonder of the modern phone and it's predictive £ucking text when that is designed by people whose mother tongue is not English (that should get me back on the right side).
      I wrote Hitler.
      But then my phone thinks that Olly is Illustrated.
      I suspect that some instructional guides are written on phones, that is why they make no bloody sense at all.

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    3. Ah - RAB Butler & A Hitler: Easily confused... Hitler liked painting, you know... Write books too... Started a youth movement... It all went so badly wrong!
      :-)

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  16. Interesting. ( will do it later but I doubt if I will be surprised !)
    It tends to back up my theory that there are a lot of people out there who are to the left of the Tories, but are pissed off with the inanities of Labour and the wimpishness of the LDs.
    We had an ( almost) viable alternative in Scotland until Tommy had his wee zipper problem.

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    1. It'll be interesting to see how your Tommy does - I wonder if Leveson will call him, what with the NotW being totally discredited.. and the Scottish police for that matter too... (Never knowingly independent)

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  17. Very interesting Alan. I have come across this before a few years ago, and when taking it then, I was very surprised to find my self further south and west of Gandhi, when I thought I would be a lot more conservative.
    Still in the bottom left corner now, but only just...



    Economic Left/Right: -3.12
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -0.87

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi David,
      I am beginning to wonder how the questionnaire determines where the political centre is... Their idea of centre appears to be further to the right than a lot of us are expecting....

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    2. I guess that's exactly the point! Would be interesting to know a prominent person which would fit perfectly into the center of the graph so everybody has a more accurate evaluation.

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  18. I have taken this test a few times over the years and agree with the comments above that the questions tend to be quite polarising. I'm interested that I have never really moved on the Social scale but am gradually dropping on the Economic one. Over breakfast I got the following:

    Economic Left/Right: -6.00
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.87

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    1. Hi Nick,
      I wonder how we would all fare if we were to take this test with each question being given real life scenarios - putting pressure on to answer them in the harsh light of realities rather than from the comfort of our idealised worlds?
      I am not sure how that would work though.

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  19. Guess I must have done something wrong. My graph is exactly matching that of the Dalai Lama! And I always considered myself more on the middle right... (ex-soldier, ex-bodyguard, lawyer-to-be, apple fan boy,...)
    Probaply it's 'cause I'm not from the US as most questions seam to be very US-related. That means those questions (e.g. regarding death penalty which is still allowed in some states of the US but is long gone here in Germany) does have a completely different meaning to me.
    Would be interesting to know how all these prominent persons in the political compass would have answered those questions in real live (and not only got placed there by the people of the website).

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    1. Hi Basti

      So far, everyone has been in the bottom left quadrant and only our elected politicians have been in the top right... makes you wonder why we vote for them. doesn't it?
      :-)

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  20. Morning Alan, did the tests again in the cold light of a midlands day and ended up within a whisker of where I'd been the previous evening.

    Economic Left/Right: -8.38
    
Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -7.13

    Afraid I'm stuck with the Albion. Partners, religion, even politics can be changed during the course of a lifetime; not your football team though, that bargain is for life. Be very suspicious of anyone who's changed their football allegiance.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I agree with you about the football team - I have been stuck with Leeds United since I was a small boy. (It's along story involving beautiful elder cousins with lots of petticoats)

      I still find myself checking how they have done every Saturday evening even though I have virtually no interest in the game... Even when abroad.... Sad, really..
      :-)

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    2. Be very suspicious of anyone who's changed their football allegiance.

      LOL!

      I changed my allegiance from the round football to the oval one many years ago. Does that make me a suspect?

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    3. Don't worry. From your previous replies, Uncle Sam has already got his eye on you... No need to worry about the beautiful game...

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    4. The beautiful game?

      Bunch of overpaid, under achieving halfwits, generally falling below the social mean in cognitive ability.

      Now, the oval ball.
      A game played by gentlemen!
      A fine game!

      They need to use the Sin Bin in bloody football...

      But.... Don't get me started.....:)

      How on Earth I got Left wing Libertarian on that I have no idea. There was nothing wrong with stocks and birching!

      Delete
  21. This grid is a much better way of locating a political position than the inadequate left/right paradigm. I am an economic liberal with strong libertarian leanings so roughly in the middle of the mauve zone.
    The questions are not all bombproof tho'. Does a businessman contribute more to society than Shakespeare ? Strongly disagree. But does a businessman contribute more to society than the collected works of Jeffery Archer ? STRONGLY agree. See what I mean ?

    Luckily this version of the questionaire did not include the one that goes 'All radical Islamists should be towed out to sea on a fleet of iron barges then torpedoed' My answer always sends me rocketing up the grid and I find myself nestling just below Hitler.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. There were one or two other questions that were difficult to pin down answers to as well.

      But on the whole it gets the general drift about right.
      On the radical Islamists, can I be the submariner for that one?

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    2. That's it then boys.........

      A Fatwā is probably being set up as you write....

      Maybe anonymous is not so daft!!!
      No hang on I read his comments :)

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  22. I’m another person who finds himself in the south west corner, but slightly north east of the Dalai Lama.
    Be careful with the submariner jokes Alan, or you might find yourself locked by the politically correct mob on some radical hit list!

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    1. Hi Alan,
      many moons ago I did a similar test during highschool. I was known for my sympathy for extreem left but after doing the test I surprised everyone : it turned out I was extreem right.
      You can't (and shouldn't) put people in boxes.

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    2. Hi Geoff.
      I'm already on the Renewable Energy Boys' list. One more won't make any difference. Bring them on! That should include all Religious Zealots from every persuasion.

      Oh - and Andrew Lloyd-Webber fans too.

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    3. Hi Theo.
      I agree about putting people in boxes. Not unless they are Religious Zealots and the boxes are lead lined...
      :-)

      Delete
  23. @Geoff E. Alan has nothing to worry about in that regard.

    It is intersting that everybody so far has been south of the Authoritarian axis whatever their views on economics. Here is a link to a Libertarian blog that always raises a smile with me.

    Do not click if you are a Marxist or have an aversion to potty-mouthed language.

    http://bastardoldholborn.blogspot.com/search?q=Marcus+Brigstock

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  24. Checking where you're positioned on the grid in relation to politicians is probably pointless. The gits will almost certainly have lied when they answered their questions, if only from force of habit.

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    1. Indeed Byeways. They should be hooked up to Lie Detectors every time they make a speech. An electric shock applied every time they lie. Three little shocks then a Heart-Stopping-Zammeroonie!

      We could end up with a House of Commons full of dead MP's...

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  25. Peter
    Thank you for that important and entertaining link. I have now put it into my rolling blogroll.
    Genius!

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  26. That was a truely excellent rant.

    Why on earth they need that lot on the trip unless it is a form of culling **ck knows

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    1. They were rolling in the aisles, down here at Mission Control. An excellent link, Peter. There's some great stuff on Mandy on that blog too. :-)

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  27. Pleased to announce that I am most satisfactorily right wing :-) And authoritarian too :-D

    Why are people surprised to find that leaders tend to be "authoritarian"? Sort of a job requirement isn't it?

    What a load of shadow chancellor!

    Affectionately

    G Khan.

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    1. "What a load of shadow Chancellor"
      Took me a few moments there Mr Khan...

      (Not the sharpest tool in the box, it has to be said...)

      Cuddles
      your pal
      Al.

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  28. No surprise with mine.
    Economic Left/Right = -8.00
    Social Libertarian.Authoritarian = -5.79.
    :)
    Mike fae Dundee

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  29. Ah... Unreconstructed. No pale amalgam here then! It's a broad church here (these days- oops!!) Mike
    :-)

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  30. "Unreconstructed". Do students still use words like that? :)
    I hope you don't mind Alan. but i posted the questionaire on BPL, as i thought it would be interesting to get some US responses, I mentioned your blog, but never posted a link, so hopefully you won't get any unwanted responses. :)
    Mike fae Dundee.

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    1. I had to think what BPL was for a moment. Images of big bottomed girls came crashing into the skull cinema.. But no. It's that other place where they argue a lot! :-)

      It'll be interesting to see how the questionnaire does over there.

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  31. Left and south of Ghandi - that's me!

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    1. You didn't join me on the fence then?! ;-D

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  32. This has proved to be a surprisingly popular post! It's good to have a bit of fun.

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  33. You might be interested in this one: http://similarminds.com/leader.html.

    Find out which historical figure your personality is similar to...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blimey: Bill Clinton... That's not good... But then the other choices didn't look too chipper either!

      Delete
    2. If I were you I'd stick with Bill - some of us fared worse: http://beardedgit.com/?p=7511

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    3. Well then, Saddam...
      :-)

      To make it easier for everyone to see what you are on about I'll put Patrick's link here as a clickable link;
      CLICK HERE
      And luck to you all!

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    4. I saw another similar personality test where, if you were unlucky, you got Hitler. But, if you were extremely unlucky, you got John Major.

      Anything is better than being bland and boring...

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    5. We'll all have to be jolly careful with our comments in future. You'll be analysing and working things out.... It's all that OCD stuff, you see; it's stood you in good stead.
      :-)

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    6. Adolf Hitler!!!
      I think this site is just having a laugh!

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    7. JFK. Lucky I don't own a cabriolet.

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    8. this test seems to have more diverse results; perhaps it amplifies the differences in our thinking? But then again, it seems to have got Stef spot on (BG = Saddam)

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  34. When I did it ages ago, Mr T sent it to me, I was left in red, just above the line.

    When I did it second time to try to fix me to right blue above the line all I changed was agree with the bankers!

    I was gonna try this evening, but got side tracked. I did not understand half the questions they defo seemed.odd.

    I wonder what Mr T ticked to get so left n low.

    Tony / Yoda.

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    1. I don't think we should look too closely at it Tony; it's a bit of fun that might give an indication of our political leanings and views on 'the establishment'.

      Some of the questions do tax the grey cells a little, it has to be said...

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  35. indeed it is a fun post Alan. Cracking idea. Just dont expect all the people replying above to stay in the same room together for long :D :D :D
    My own score was economic left/right -8.62 (no surprise there)
    and social score -2.31 (a little less extreme than I thought I might be)
    Like the other comments, the questionaire is a bit of a blunt tool but nether-the-less an interesting insight into our own belief patterns and morals

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    1. Hi Dave
      :-)
      I have been quite surprised at the level of response on this post, it has to be said!

      I think virtually everyone is more or less in the bottom left. I suppose you would expect everyone to be "below the line" as authority can only trim our liberty. so, politicians to be "above the line" makes sort of sense too, as thy are the ones *trying* to run the country.

      The big surprise is how right wing they all are.

      I think I'll leave politics off the blog for a while... Might do a post on crocheting or knitting next...

      Delete
  36. Economic Left/Right: -8.62
    Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.82
    That's where Mr Boulter come in at.

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    1. Good Lord! Hello stranger! How was Abroad? Have you come home all pink and peeling or all bronzed and Greek God-like?

      I would be horrified if you were anywhere else, dear thing!

      Delete
  37. Well seeing that I was already bronzed and Greek god like...............

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  38. Is it a good thing if I'm bottom left hand corner?
    ;-)

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    Replies
    1. Welcome back to the Blogosphere, Fishface!
      Bottom left corner, eh??? I will have to think about that.... I might have to block you, you commie swine!

      :-)

      Nice to hear from you, John

      Delete
  39. Alan, I finally got round to doing this today!

    Peace & Love,

    'Rev Gandhi'

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    Replies
    1. A Christian Ghandi. That could work, you know... Splitter! :-)

      Delete
  40. Hi Alan

    Only just picked up on this having been away/busy for the last fortnight.

    Somewhat unsurprisingly, I find myself well down and to the left - LR -7.25 and SLA -6.41. The libertarian leftie in me will out!

    I agree some of the questions look a trifle odd, but expect that they have been well considered to elict a response whose meaning is sligtly different from the exact nature of the question. Interesting and fun!

    Thanks for posting!

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    1. Hi Jules
      Well, this has elicited a huge response and it has been a bit of fun.
      I think no one likes too much authority imposed upon them and the Brits' middle ground seems to be well left of centre these days. Fascinating stuff!

      Delete
  41. I'm coming to this a bit late, but what is clear to me is none of the politicians mentioned here have completed the questionnaire. So the positioning of Gordon Brown and Robert Mugabe is purely based on some political activists' prejudices.

    You might expect a normal distribution across both axes if this is a valid questionnaire. My impression reading a few comments is that most people are in the green segment which says something about the questionnaire or maybe about the people attracted by this blog!?

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  42. Hi Paul
    I think most would agree that the placing of the world leaders is fair enough. If they are in power you would expect them to be authoritarian. If making real-world political decisions in the western economies it would be a fair bet to say they would be right of centre, being lead by civil servants, central banks etc.

    I think it would be interesting to see how readers' own results would change if they were to be put in that same situation of being in power making real-world decisions. I would expect to see big swings.

    How's the Challenge planning coming along? We're starting at Morar too. (Me Andy Walker and WeeWillyWilky)

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Hi.
Because of spammers, I moderate all comments, so don't worry if your comment seems to have disappeared; It has been sent to me for approval. As soon as I see it, I'll deal with it straight away.
Thank you!