21 February 2005

UK Politics

OK I lied, but I didn't mean to lie, I meant not to post again today, but then I promised this guy I would.

If as a UK citizen you DO happen to ocassionally wonder what on earth your MP is saying, then there is a new site tailor made for you.

If you happen to be a good writer and want to add something to your CV, they are looking for voluntary help.

Two emails quoted below:

TheyWorkForYou.com Update No.1
Hi Cheryl,

You'll hopefully remember registering* with TheyWorkForYou.com, the volunteer-built website which makes it easy to keep tabs on your MP's Parliamentary activities.

Since launching in June, we've made hundreds of small improvements to the site. However, the cold winter nights have sparked an explosion of activity, and we've launched a slew of new features in response to requests such as:

- "Can you Email me when my MP next speaks, or when an issue I care about is raised?"

You all *so* wanted this. Near the top of every MP's page, and on every search results page, you'll see a link starting with 'Email me when...' Just click and go, or sign up by hand using http://theyworkforyou.com/alert/

- "Can I see when an issue was last raised in Parliament?"

Yes. At the top of every search results page you'll see a link that sorts the most recent result at the top. Ideal for keeping tabs on topical concerns such as "Identity Card".

- "Can I just search the stuff my MP has said?"

Yup. Go to an MP's page. See the red search box to the right of your MP's delicious photo? That's your baby. It'll search just that MP's contributions.

- "What about Westminster Hall, Written Ministerial Statements & House of Commons' Committees?"

We're two-thirds done. See http://theyworkforyou.com/whall/ and http://theyworkforyou.com/wms/ We're busy tacking Committee proceedings, but these be hard.

- "Is what you're doing legal?"

Yes. We are legit. Indeed, within a couple of months of launch we had Parliament's blessing, plenty of enthusiasm and a nice shiny licence to re-use Hansard. Given Parliament's history & traditions, such a swift & positive reaction is most admirable.


TheyWorkForYou.com is the best place to get the unadulterated lowdown on what your MP has said and done in your name.

As the election approaches, we think the site could make a real difference to democratic transparency and engagement.

If you agree, please tell your friends. Blog about us. Write about us. Link to us. Use our RSS feeds in your sites. Tell your enemies. Hell, even tell your parents. You're the only marketing we can afford!

Best wishes,

- Tom, on behalf of the TheyWorkForYou.com volunteers

http://theyworkforyou.com/about/ - New volunteers welcome!
What a lovely bloke, eh? So I asked what kind of volunteers and he said:

Volunteering can involve as much or as little effort as you can muster.

What we're lacking most at the moment is someone to write stuff for the 'help' section http://theyworkforyou.com/help/ - it's very thin at the moment, and most of us are better at writing code than words.

Best wishes

-Tom, on behalf of the TheyWorkForYou.com volunteers
So anyhow I promised to blog about it, and here it is, blogged (plus a few extra live links, from me).

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