12 Participating in Political Processes

In the UK, the first impressive application of computer programming to politics that I came across was the site Public Whip[1]. It analyses the electronic records of Hansard[2], the registration of all speeches in the Commons and the Lords, and analyses votes of Parliamentarians. Thus one can get a new kind of ‘profile’ for politicians in Westminster.

Other remarkable initiatives are MySociety[3] who created FixMyStreet[4], HearFromYourMP[5], PledgeBank[6], NotApathetic[7], WriteToThem[8] and TheyWorkForYou[9]. Currently they are working on WhatDoTheyKnow[10].

For Downing Street they built E-Petitions[11] which had received over 29,000 petitions by March 2008.

At the House of Commons the Procedure Committee[12] produced a report on Public Petitions and Early Day Motions in May 2007[13]. The Government’s response was published on 26 July 2007 and can be found here[14]. A Written Ministerial Statement[15] was published on 22 July 2008 and its forward looking way is most encouraging.

GoPetition[16] is the private initiative that hosts our Public Credit Petition[17]. Financed through the magic of Google ads, it has helped over 20,000 petitions in more than 75 countries.

In the US, Politics Online[18] is an impressive website intersecting smart politics, transparent democracy and innovative technology with news from all over the world.

Here, Lord Sudeley came to the Global Café where I held meetings on Wednesday to discuss monetary subjects. After he told me his family’s story, I said ‘when we heal your family, we heal your nation’. Ten years later, many more families have suffered.

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