Saturday, 16 May 2009

From the internet

We're from the Internet, We're here to help.

In the wake of the MPs Expenses row, “The Troughalypse” if you will, Uncle David is starting to put all the shadow cabinet's expenses on the internet, on GoogleDocs, in real time.

I think this sort of thing is great, it means someone with a bit of knowhow can set up a twitter bot or some kind of script or anything to process the information in real time. A widget to sit on your blog clocking up the cost of your local MP, easy. Subscribe to the PM's expensebot on Twitter, no problem.

This is what the future should look like.

See something shady, you can ping it up on blogs, twitter, facebook anything and in seconds some poor soul in a constituency office somewhere will be putting out a press release explaining the cost, in real time.

I think this is a little kind of freemarketish, rather than Gordon Brown, David Cam, and Rick Clegg sitting round a table and discussing the reforms needed in the expenses system, and never agreeing. MPs just try anything, lots of different things, and the one which the public likes the best, the one with the most transparency and best visibility, the one that meets with most approval, that solution gets the respective MPs elected.

UPDATE 15:41
Oh, the limitless possibilities of the internet. The Many Eyes wiki thing has the Conservative Expenses data, its got the information arranged as treemaps and bubblecharts and tagclouds and bar charts, and its all interactive and you can click on things for more information and its all live and real and beautiful.

Could this ever have happened if left to The Commons Fees Office? I bet they didn't even know what a treemap is.

Its a beautiful, beautiful way of arranging data.

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