1. PublicWhip
  2. Untitled project
  3. PublicWhip v1


PublicWhip v1 / ideas.txt

Data anlaysis (using existing data)

Rebels who voted against this division, also voted against this division...
This is flipping the possible friends on its head.  Find friends between
divisions.  Distance metric between divisions - how many MPs (out of
MPs that were present in both divisions) voted the same.

"Performance tests" for government - turning excessive monitoring and
testing back onto them.
corruptometer, loyaltometer, evilness, sleepometer, waffle-meter
Top day of week for voting.  Distribution for individual MPs.
- this person is never there on Thursdays!

Use abstention rates to highlight interesting divisions, where lots of
people didnt turn up.
Pick divisions with extreme "Extra Turnouts" (for the main parties) -
these will be interesting
Plot "Extra Turnout" over time - so can see how abstention rates change.

Show the majority for each vote (how much it was won by)

Additional numeric data

Put time of division, so can work out importance (late at night less
Also length of debate leading up to division
Intended length of debate

It is worth looking for MPs who spoke but did not vote.  This is a good
way to detect active abstentions.  It may also have all sorts of other
interesting meanings.
Count how many times MP spoke in a debate, or on the day

How many articles do Labour MPs supply to the Times, for example?
Collate all MPs articles in newspapers

Provide local program for pressure groups.  Parses their list of
post-code membership, and creates a table of MPs who are doing the least
where the group has the most supporters.  Finds good targets for

Correlate voting record with geographical location.  Do MPs at constituencies
near each other tend to vote the same as each other?

Cost in pounds / word of an MP

Additional text content

House of Lords divisions

When Dream MP gives votes more context, allow anyone to vote on any division.  
Perhaps they have to give their postcode first.

Issue sub-selector.  User can log in, name an issue, and say which way
votes should have gone to satisfy him on that issue.  Get all manner of
people to make issues for next general election.
- info to help select which votes and which way should have voted
- SP adopters / constituency
- Auto email to adopters in each ward
- include journalism, so a comment on the issue / on each vote
- who made the issue is crucial, as some expertise is needed, and
  viewers of the site need to understand any bias that they have
- Report to take into your MP constituency surgery
- Let NGO entere postcodes of their supporters (in their own client app)
  and use these to find MPs where the most people agree with the issue,
  but the MP has voted the other way.
Do Iraq subselection ourselves
Do climate change subselection

Software to follow all legislation sources:
     - parliamentary bills - which can be introduced into either House
     - white papers - on the parliamentary website I think
     - green papers - not sure
     - other consultative papers issues by departments
     - consultative papers issues by other statutory bodies such as regulators
     - papers from the downing st Performance and Innovation Unit
     - EDMs  
     - private members bills
     - 10 minute rule bills
     - EC directives which have to be implemneted in domsetic law
     - the Queen's speech
     - international treaties which apart from major EU treaties are ratified
     under the Ponsonby Rule without a vote in parliament.

Link from division to draft of Bill which is being debated

Group votes by Whitehall department, so you can see areas of interest
(idea from Sirius at Oxfam)

Put in EDMs, so can see who supports an EDM and follows it through to
actual vote (idea from Sirius at Oxfam)

Analyse an MP's interests by their rebellions - work out a summary of
their special interests.  Also link to which debates they spoke in.

Committees, and voting in committee

Written answers

Print department
Match office (secretary of state...) to department?  Julian does this already
prob, check how it works and use it in all the tables, as it is useful at-a-glance

uk.org.publicwhip/wrans/2003-11-06.755W.4 - refers to uk.org.publicwhip/wrans/2003-06-03.214W
which does actually exist, but crosses over two entire columns, so referencing the one in the middle doesn't pick it up.  Ooops.  Need some kind of ranging?
uk.org.publicwhip/wrans/2003-11-06.726W.0 - there is a phrase referring to debates, but the
link is given to wrans ;)
uk.org.publicwhip/wrans/2003-11-06.725W.2 - has a offrep which isn't there (as well
as two which we don't have indexed yet)
uk.org.publicwhip/wrans/2003-10-27.110W.2 - fails to find offrep

Back links to wrans that have referred to this one
Check all found URL links

Improve all MP name matching so no unknown ids
Make "unknown" name link a better page (rather than a meaningless error)
    Fix broken links to mp.php?id=unknown

Stats - count up how many questions/answers each person has done
Some kind of "most inquisitive" on front page

League table of unanswered written questions

Search for all questions that are about Hansard that you can now answer, and send off the answers.

Give help on how to request answers from hcinfo


Policy syndication:
Javascript, make .js file with just a "document.write"
Inline frames, just inline to HTML file
CGI script / serverside include

List of all divisions and how an MP voted in them, including ones he
wasn't present at.  So you could see which ones they weren't at easily.
Kind of makes sense.

Abstain -> difference from expected
Expected -> average no. of attendees
visually draw guesses further right

Pass W3C validator
And bobby

Letter index on MP list

Pie chart, rectangle graph by area for voting table

Email reports to people when search queries change
e.g. When your MP has voted.  When he has rebelled.  When an issue is
voted on, and so on.
RSS feed of your MP's votes

Link from MP to other sources of info 
    - Ask Aristotle
    - Fax your MP
    - Speeches on Hansard
Link from search engine to
    - link to search Hansard?

Links to other political resource websites

Print reason left parliament in table at top of mp.php

links.php - takes links to days and chunks, does a redirect reduce
bandwidth, and do tracking of where people link through to

Put divisions on same day as easy links from division page
Put similar divisions on links

META keywords (for search engine description)

Colour blind people, or indeed blind people, need a better rebel marker
than redness in MPs division list.  Boldness is one idea.

Log failed searches so we can improve the search engine

mod_gzip to reduce bandwidth
Make sure fast CGI keeps db connections somehow
Share DB connection with main code and registration code
Use hotcopy or similar for new db uploading

Paragraph text needs max-width, so it can be shrunken

- about the authors, so feels personal to people
- consider breadcrumb trail
- about section (not all FAQ?)
- company name/logo at topleft, search at topright
- print stylesheet media="print" removing menus

> (One comment: obviously all your pages are going to get
> indexed in, e.g., Google fairly shortly. For some search
> terms -- names of obscurer MPs and of pieces of
> legislation -- you'll be quite high up the results. It
> might be worth putting a one-sentence description of the
> project at the top of each results page to explain what's
> going on, since some of the pages might look a touch
> confusing for the first-time visitor.)

Political toolbar - easy searches.  Popup links automatically on MP's
names in Internet Explorer.

Java in Opera Win32


MP wallplanner - show their diary

Fantasy party/cabinet, based on voting.
Virtual top trumps - choose your favourites, play them, lose them, try
to get ones whose careers are on the up.

Real top-trump cards (rebelliousness, attendance, term of office, majority, age...)
Pick, say, 1997 parliament - or maybe becomes more journalistic/historical,
as you want the cards to represent the MP at their most significant moment
in time.

Actually post a whipping sheet to MPs.  This would arrive every week at
the same time as their party whipping sheet.  It would tell them how
many voters in their constituency have registered with organisations which
would like them to vote particular ways.
Decentralised - get our mailing list subscribers to print the PDF and
post it to them.

Local newspapers - similarly contact them.

Make big wall chart of cluster diagram - colour, pretty
Maybe even sell it to people

Stand as Public Whip candidate in election with manifesto to do as your
constituents want.  

"Totally toady" to "Usual suspect"

Broader context

European Parliament.  
Minutes here:
Attendance rates are pre processed here:

Do it for all Hansards in CHEA:

Indian parliament.  Give them clustering.
Form UK equivalents of:
"Committee for Assurances" - track all promises
"Committee for Attendance" - see which seats should be declared vacant
"Spectrum of Interest" - what subjects in career they followed, so can
tell if would be no use as Minister for Education
Analyse all task MP does, time spent, and see if they are doing either
enough or implausibly too much.

Dublin parliament

Letter writing campaign by their constituents to MPs who use procedure
in an entirely negative way - for example here, when Labour maliciously
moved the house to sit in private, in order to stop the democratic
discussion of the role of ministerial advisers

About one MP

Name (title, first, last)
Party (link to party website)
Parliamentary terms served 
Failed candidacy
Home page
Constituency address / phone / fax
Parliament address / phone / fax
Surgery times
Date of birth

Bio (journalistic)

Expenses - London stay (�150/night!), motoring
Include pay from members interests

Register of interests
Donations they have made (to political parties?)
Entry from Who's who
Company directorships
Links to info on companies involved with

Recent speeches (text)
Voting record
Committee membership
Bills placed before parliament
Video of them in parliament (or elsewhere)
Written questions asked and answered

Local council positions

Responsiveness to faxes (also photo?)
Voting activity
Number of questions asked
Time spent in parliament

News mentions (Google news)
Weblog mentions
Search engine hits
Links to their home page

Comments/user provided links
As much data historical, as well as current