Freesteel Blog » The Public Whip Crewe

The Public Whip Crewe

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008 at 8:47 am Written by:

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 as a source of data.

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 MPs 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.



  • 1. Freesteel » Blog Ar&hellip replies at 19th May 2008, 3:52 pm :


    The Publicwhip Crewe Two
    May 19th, 2008 by Julian

    Following our escapades on Tuesday in relation to the critical by-election nearby, Aidan a […]

  • 2. Freesteel&hellip replies at 4th November 2008, 2:13 am :

    […] (no leaflets) by the shopping mall on Saturday. And that’s it. It was nothing like what I saw in Crewe during the by-election there. Pretty much all the activity as reported in the news, from what I can […]

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <strong>