Playing politics: Democracy 3

run the country from their computers

Image: Number 10 on Flickr

Image: Number 10 on Flickr

With the 2015 UK general election almost at hand, we looked to the popular political game Democracy 3 to simulate each of the possible governments and see what would happen if each of the five main parties got into power. In the game, players act as the leader of the country, giving them the freedom to alter and introduce policy in areas such as the economy, welfare and transport. The main aims of the game are to tackle various social issues like homelessness, to save the often failing economy and to ultimately get elected for another term. For different playthroughs we researched the manifestos of each party and then attempted to implement these into the game as accurately as possible. When the parties hadn’t outlined the needed policy clearly, we were as faithful to the party ethos as we could be.

We began with the Conservatives, who promise to eliminate the deficit by the end of the next term, while also investing £8bn in the NHS. We also had to lower inheritance tax, invest in roads and the rail network, and build more houses. Apart from cuts to welfare spending, the Tories seem vague about where savings will be made, and so we quickly found ourselves stuck with a stubborn deficit that refused to go down. Despite giving greater powers to the police and intelligence services, our Prime Minister ended up being assassinated less than a year before the next election. Admittedly, the polls were looking bad, so we doubt that he was missing out on much.
Result: Assassinated 9 months before next election

Liberal Democrats
The Liberal Democrats aim to toe a centre line with their policies. Cutting, taxing and spending in roughly equal amounts. Plans were made to increase NHS funding by at least 8bn a year and this is to be partially funded by a mansion tax. We found this to be a generally popular policy with virtual citizens. We also increased corporation taxes to make up for much of the planned expenditure such as increased green subsidies and public transport schemes. However, this kind of taxation quickly irritated capitalist groups who hastily rose up and plotted against the Lib Dems.
Result: Assassinated 4 years before next election

Labour have promised to cut the deficit every year, while also spending another £2.5bn on the NHS. They hope to raise the minimum wage, employ an additional 1,000 border staff, and bring in rent controls. Labour hope to use the money gained from cutting down on tax avoidance and new policies such as the mansion tax.
Things got off to a dodgy start, as the deficit and crime increased. Luckily, these problems were eventually brought under control, and by the end of our first term we were running a narrow surplus. Labour were lucky to survive to the end of the term, as multiple groups, such as the patriots and capitalists, were plotting to topple the government. Having survived a whole five years, Labour won the next election by the skin of their teeth.
Result: 51.3% at next election

Not exactly the most successful government featured. Having quit the EU (we had to specially download an EU mod), we found that the savings promised by UKIP failed to materialise. It became difficult to fund increased military spending, despite cutting foreign aid. Then, from out of the blue, separatist rebels took control over part of the country, and we decided to send in the troops. Things went from bad to worse as the polls slumped, and a dissatisfied populace took to the streets in vigilante mobs and street gangs. As the country descended into chaos, our PM was assassinated for the third time.
Result: PM assassinated 1 year 9 months before next election

The Green Party
The Greens aim to put in place some strong taxes on corporations, in order to fund green subsidies and welfare policies. Originally we managed to bring in a lot of tax revenue, but this quickly led to a brain drain in the financial sector and the capitalists got plotting. We also managed to decrease the number of motorists on the roads with fuel efficiency measures. We struggled to meet their goal of an increase in state employees as cuts to the military left many people unemployed. The Greens did manage to avoid being assassinated, and the wealth generated by the carbon taxes allowed for more welfare policies to be enacted.
Result: 53% at the next election

One comment

  1. The lesson being that Democracy 3 is skewed to favor left wing governments? I like the game but after a few rounds the lack of appropriate consequences for government policy (which, granted, economies are tough to model) and the over abundance of assassinations (the fatal, ahem, flaw of the game) made it nothing more than a curiosity.

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