Hello! It’s time for an update on what I’ve been up to. I’m working on two projects at the moment.
The first one is the Public Whip, a website which analyses the voting record of MPs in the House of Commons. It was Julian’s idea to do it. There’s some nasty backend code which extracts information from the Hansard transcripts online and puts it into a database. We then run various statistical analyses off this, and present the results as a web page.
Julian’s idea is that this sort of information can be used by the public to better keep tabs on what MPs are up to. The equivalent of all the league tables and targets, but turned back on them. The interesting thing is the number of directions it can go in; there are many possible users, and many other things that could be done in a similar vein.
Possibly interested groups include newspaper parliamentary monitoring services, charity campaigners lobbying for social change, the public affairs departments of large corporations, and eccentric conspiracy theorists. Not to mention the MPs and political parties themselves. How much is the information worth? Who decides who gets power over it?
The second project is a game called FleaFall which I’m not going to say much more about just now.
( I’ve changed the software that I use to post this blog from Blogger to some open source software called b2. Amongst other things this means that the archive page now has a search, and I’m not tied into paying Blogger every year. If anything has broken, let me know. )