Friday 20th of September 2019

They Work For Us - Auditing Politics ()

Speaking of Public Record Geeks (PRGs) like me, Hansard, and all that lies within (in every sense of the phrase), NHJ! correspondent David Short sends in this utterly stunning (to me) website, which is the most user-friendly instance of democratic 'value-adding' I've seen in a long, long time. Dave writes:

I thought you might have an interest in this UK site: They Work For You. It's a system for crawling through parliament logs, keeping reference and forming a database. A person accessing the site is able to then search through the logs in a sensible fashion, seeing when their representative was last in parliament, what they've voted on, how they voted, etc. It links to registered interests and other articles so that following how well your member has been representing you is made viable.

Effectively it enables a person to evaluate how well they're being represented. Well - in my not so enlightened opinion it does...At any rate it's open source and they invite people to build on their work. I don't know how adaptable it would be to Australian politics. It may not be a perfect solution, or even that adaptable to Australia but it would certainly be a start. I find it hard to keep track of what's happening in politics, and when you do see parts of what is happening there is so much more going on that is lost, or referred to that the viewer is often more confused for the seeing.

I also think most Australians are complacent, and happy enough to let things run how ever they go provided that they are not too affected. Following politics is too much effort for the average person; making it easier to see what's happening would be a good start.

I think a site of this kind for the Australian Parliament would be a brilliant idea. Any IT-savvy types out there interested in adapting the TWFY concept and code for Oz use? It would sure save PRGs a lot of Hansard trolling time...

Thanks for the pointer, Dave. A great and inspiring site run by an inspiring bunch of public-spirited Pommy democrats.