This is non-party political, so I hope no-one
considers it unsuitable for the list.
Please contact Aidan <amcguire(a)bluefountain.com>
directly if interested.
-------- Forwarded Message --------
From: Aidan McGuire <amcguire(a)bluefountain.com>
Subject: PRESS RELEASE - Public Whip -
Date: Wed, 14 May 2008 15:21:36 +0100
*** Action for Crewe & Nantwich byelection. ***
Julian and Aidan seek volunteers for action this Saturday before the
Crewe & Nantwich by-election to hand out non-party election leaflets,
and to promote the election webpage quiz. The purposes are:
(a) to attempt to raise awareness of the issues we care about that are
not featuring as any part of the campaign.
(b) to develop the science of connecting electoral politics to campaign
If you are a member of No2ID, or any campaign that is effected by the
decisions made in Parliament whom you seek to influence through the MP's
constituents, you need to be involved with this project. During the
election campaign, the political parties produce dreadful propaganda
with terrible webpages, and get away with it. We need to learn from
their techniques, and establish what actions make a difference. We will
produce different leaflets, some in colour, and distribute them to
different parts of the city. Perhaps you could make a contribution to
it. Anyone who joins us on the day will get access to the full log-files
and comments generated by the web-page.
This will be a learning experience, so that come the general election we
might actually be good.
Please contact Aidan and come along.
Please feel free to pass on this press release..
Press Release – Immediate Release -
14 May 2008
The Public Whip
While activists are descending from all corners of the country to Crewe
& Nantwich to help with their partys' by-election campaigns, volunteers
from the Public Whip
today launched an online questionnaire to help people make up their
minds about who to vote for. The webpage:
compares people's opinions to the way each party has voted in Parliament
on a selection of important issues that have been in the news in the
last five years. It uses the web-site www.theyworkforyou.com
as a source
As Julian Todd of Public Whip explained "An election is the one time
people have a direct say in what the politicians do. Unfortunately, with
slick sound-bites and colourful leaflets focussing on one or two key
points, it's easy to forget the bigger issues that will be decided by
the MP who eventually wins the seat."
Aidan McGuire said "The national issues which our Mp's have control over
are not being discussed with the candidates during this campaign. People
are easily distracted by smaller matters like car parking charges, when
what is actually decided by those who are elected include compulsory ID
Cards, nuclear power plants, freedom of information laws, and the
strategic supply of fuel and electricity."
"We want people to remember the bigger issues and ask hard questions of
the candidates about how they would vote after they are elected. People
have become used to not being told what the policies are and not
insisting on their right to know."
Here in Crewe & Nantwich, the Labour candidate, Tamsin Dunwoody, is
running on her mother's name. Gwyneth Dunwoody was a popular MP partly
because she had a mind of her own and did not vote the government line
on every issue. How many people have looked up which were the issues she
rebelled on, and has anyone asked Tamsin whether she would take the same
position on those issues?
Julian said: "We want people to start using the internet more
effectively to understand what their MPs are doing and to keep a close
watch. Who knows, they might start doing more of what people want them
to do, rather than their own thing all the time. That's our idea of what
democracy would look like.
"That's why we've brought the Public Whip website to the voters of this
city. It's our tiny contribution to democracy. We hope to inspire other
people with our example so they bring their own democracy projects to
places where it matters, like this by-election and other elections in
the future, to help voters make an informed choice. Democracy is too
important to be left to the political parties alone.
About the Public Whip
Public Whip is a website that scans Hansard, the official Parliamentary
record, for all the votes by Mps and sorts them into a database for
further analysis. It was originally written by Francis Irving and
Julian Todd in 2003. All the software is free and open source and is
completely self-funded and maintained by volunteer work.