+<?php require_once "common.inc";
+# $Id: openletter.php,v 1.1 2011/04/11 13:20:43 publicwhip Exp $
+# The Public Whip, Copyright (C) 2003 Francis Irving and Julian Todd
+# This is free software, and you are welcome to redistribute it under
+# certain conditions. However, it comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY.
+# For details see the file LICENSE.html in the top level of the source.
+$paddingforanchors = true; $title = "Open letter to people who want to know how their MP votes"; pw_header();
+$referrer = $_SERVER["HTTP_REFERER"];
+$querystring = $_SERVER["QUERY_STRING"];
+$ipnumber = $_SERVER["REMOTE_ADDR"];
+ $referrer = $_SERVER["HTTP_USER_AGENT"];
+ $db->query("INSERT INTO pw_logincoming
+ (referrer, ltime, ipnumber, page, subject, url, thing_id)
+ VALUES ('$referrer', NOW(), '$ipnumber', 'faq', '', '$querystring', '')");
+<p>We've been running Public Whip for almost 8 years now.
+<p>It remains the only way you can easily find out how your MP voted.
+<p>People use it and rely on it, it has become core infrastructure of the UK
+<p>Luckily the bulk of the maintenance is done by <a
+href="http://www.mysociety.org">mySociety</a>, who keep the Parliament Parser
+running, which they also need for <a href="http://www.theyworkforyou.com/">TheyWorkForYou</a>.
+We thank them for that. But even so, there is still work that needs doing on
+Public Whip itself from time to time.
+<p>Yep, it's our fault for not making it sustainable. For not building an
+organisation at the start that could maintain it for a long time. Foolishly we
+thought that a well funded organisation like Parliament or the BBC or mabe even
+an NGO might have taken it on by now.
+<p>Alas, I still can't find out how Julian's MP Louise Ellman voted on the Iraq war from <a href="http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/louise-ellman/25701">her Parliament page</a>. And the BBC's massively
+well funded Democracy Live, <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/">has
+nothing about voting at all</a>. As if MPs just turned up in Parliament like some weird
+version of Question Time that the editor hasn't cut enough, rather than having an actual
+means of asserting power while they are there.
+<p>There's loads of things you could do with Public Whip. It's not the difficulty
+of maintaining it that is the sad thing, it is the opportunity cost of nobody
+who cares about it iterating on it and improving it.
+<p>If you want to know how your MP voted, you can still find out. Phone them up.
+Click through zillions of pages on the Parliament website. Watch the video on
+Democracy Live, maybe you'll get to see them creeping into the wrong lobby.
+<p>Maybe it doesn't matter any more how your MP votes. Perhaps you should
+give up and head to the <a href="http://www.dark-mountain.net/">Dark Mountain
+Conference</a>, <a href="http://scraperwiki.com/">run your startup</a>, or
+<a href="http://www.freesteel.co.uk/wpblog/2011/04/another-fortnight-ticks-by/">Kayak in the sea</a>.
+<p>Yeah, that's probably best. It feels like summer now anyway.
+<p><strong>Update:</strong> Enough people seem to find it day to day useful,
+that we're instead leaving it running until 27th July 2011, to give
+people time to migrate. Please <a
+suggest solutions here</a>.</p>