Frequently asked questions

Who are you and why are you doing this?

We are Paul and Andrew and we run this in our spare time. We have been running this quiz for every election since 2005, and more than five million people have taken it at some point. We think that it might be useful for some people in terms of learning about where the different parties stand on different issues.

Are you paid to do this?

No, in fact with the hosting charges this costs us money to do.

Who do I know that you aren't rigging things so that it suggests one party over the others?

You don't, but we aren't. You can programmatically analyse all of the question options and outcomes to confirm this if you really want to. To be honest we are somewhat offended that at no point in the last 19 years a political party hasn't tried to bribe us to favour them. But if they had tried - we wouldn't have done.

What's to stop a party saying in its manifesto that it is going to do a thing but then do the opposite when elected?

Absolutely nothing at all - welcome to the reality of UK politics! The only really significant thing about manifesto policies is that if the party is elected, and moves to make them law, they can't generally be stopped by the House of Lords on the basis that they have a democratic mandate to do so.

How do you select the questions?

We attempt to focus on issues that people are likely to care about, that can be reasonably easily understood in a single sentence, and where there is appreciable difference between the parties. We also aim to include a number of key policies from each of the different parties.

Why are there no questions about the NHS?

This follows on from the point above about selecting questions. Basically all of the parties think that the NHS is broken and needs to be fixed. There are variations in how they would fix it, and how they would raise the funding to do so, but fundamentally all of the parties agree that things need to be improved and more money needs to be spent. The same is true of housing - all of the parties are committed to ensuring that more houses get built each year, and have somewhat different approaches in order to achieve this. We don't however think that an average person is going to care materially about what the specifics of these approaches are. It is also worth noting that the goal of 300,000 new houses a year that many parties have committed to was last achieved in 1977 so we don't have a massive degree of confidence that any of them are going to manage it. Similarly all parties agree that policing and the prison system need to be improved.

Why do you have financial costs/benefits in the questions?

Because there's no such thing as a free lunch. If a party is promising a tax cut, or improvement to a service, then it is important to know how much money this is going to cost - as those funds could alternatively be spent elsewhere (or used to cut taxes). If a party had a policy saying that everyone in the country would get a free ice cream cone each Friday then it is only sensible to say how much that would cost (around £9 billion a year, if buying from ice cream vans, in case you are interested). Similarly if taxes are being raised, we believe that it is important to say how much money would be generated by this that can then be spent on public services. We should also note there are often disagreements both about how much things are going to cost and how much things are going to raise, but we try to take a pragmatic approach.

Why do some questions have 'NOT' in them?

We know (from years of bitter experience) that if we set up the quiz so that if a person answers 'agree' to every question and one party is more strongly recommended than the others then we get accused of bias. Frankly we think that this is somewhat nonsensical, so we endeavour to make it so that the parties get roughly the same score - but given the number of parties and issues it isn't perfect and trying to make it closer ends up making some questions hard to parse. Also as we add more questions when the Reform UK manifesto drops everything is going to change again.

I think you're great, how can I support you?

Aww, shucks, thank you! Why not sign up for our weekly history Substack, or buy our book about cats or our trivia quiz game book not-really-about hippos?