Voting like your Dad

In the 1970s and 80s I would occasionally canvass for Plaid Cymru in the south Wales Labour heartlands. It was a hard slog and canvassers would often be greeted with the refrains Labour I was born, Labour I was bread and Labour I'll be carried out the door or My grandfather always voted Labour, my father always voted Labour so I'll always vote Labour. Such attitudes use to cause me great annoyance, but it appears that I was wrong to be annoyed. Apparently as much as 30% of our political opinions are genetically inherited, or so it is claimed in an interesting programme that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 yesterday called Personality Politics

Timandra Harkness investigates how our political views are linked to the way our brains function. The psychology of ideology is now an active topic of research, not least amongst neuroscientists. Recent brain-scan studies have linked political attitudes to different brain structures and patterns of mental activity. Discovering the cutting edge brain research into how we make such choices, Timandra explores what its implications could be for the conduct of political debate and campaigning, how to influence people, the psychology of decision-making, and understanding ourselves.

Apart from looking at how our brains are wired to such concepts of left and right wing, Liberal and Conservative attitudes etc it also has an interesting discussion about the psychology of the Scottish Independence referendum

A fascinating programme well worth listening to by those who are interested in politics, psychology or both, which will be broadcast again on Mon 26 May 2014 at 21:00 and will be available on the iPlayer for the next week or so.


  1. I think the welsh psyche tends to be labour-oriented because of the mind-set of oppressive Toryisms in the past and let's face it, they aren't flavour of the month now as a result. Plaid hasn't a hope, because S wales holds the numerical superiority and they are pro-English to the point they regularly attack the welsh language, S4C, welsh medias, and the welsh Assembly, who they 'blame' on welsh nationalism promoting a dead language at huge expense. Anywhere else it would be a clear case of racism and discrimination, unfortunately we are all fair game these days unless we are polish or Islamic ! Plaid will have to drop the language approach, to get S.Wales interested in them, that would kill them off in the welsh heart land. Mention devolution or independent wales, or welsh, and it s a trigger for mass opposition in Cardiff, Swansea and Newport areas. Mid Wales is irrelevant, North Wales seems more inclined to lean to Liverpool. The numbers game is what keeps London dictating everything we do, more live there than in all Wales, and most, are immigrants ! London is a law to itself.

    1. Once upon a time we may have been labour but slowly nationally it's hard to find a labour party these Miliband lots are now basically a Progress right wing Tory Lite.

      While in Wales we may have a slightly better chance of getting something socialist the big boys in London are coming down tell us basically waht to do.

  2. "Apparently as much as 30% of our political opinions are genetically inherited, or so it is claimed in an interesting programme that was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 yesterday called Personality Politics"

    Given the scale of English immigration to our country, how on earth are we going to achieve independence? The Welsh mindset is dying. The link between land, language and culture is almost over and as a result we will lose our collective memory.

  3. As regards to voting like Dad, I never did, nor, did my Mum. My dad was labour to the core, a works convener and staunch union member, my Mum pro-tory, she felt labour meant never attaining better for yourself, and she grew up and was born in the Rhondda. Mostly at the time I voted Plaid so the household remained a democracy lol... At this point of time it is a toss up between none of the above and the UKIP, as I feel the established parties have nothing to offer us anymore and they certainly don't listen to us anymore. Mostly it is based on migrations of various aspects where I simply feel no-one is addressing the concerns we have and we are being swamped. What the situation is now, means I have to choose between two things, to vote for an established party that is totally aimless and impotent, or, a radical party that could end up making me a racist, tough call, given the PC obsessions are tipping me against the establishment. Maybe if we did scrap the human rights Laws and took the child act apart and started again. I don't think the idea was to empower thugs, perverts, criminals, and religious nutters.