Weblog on the Internet and public policy, journalism, virtual community, and more from David Brake, a Canadian academic, consultant and journalist

Archive forOctober 26th, 2003 | back to home

26 October 2003

Some very useful-looking web tools to help UK citizens to hold their national representatives (MPs) to account and to organize offline and online campaigns for change. Public Whip takes publicly available information about all Westminister MPs and brings it together in an easy-to-view manner. You can see how often your MP votes, how often they vote with their party and, most importantly, how they voted on specific issues.

“iCan”:http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/ican/ from the BBC is a long-awaited site (still in beta) designed to enable and encourage community activism. It includes advice from activists, tools to link grassroots campaigns to larger organizations, and roving reporters who will publicise success stories. If it is done right this could be big (but if it is too successful it could involve the BBC in some interesting rows!). One interesting thing I notice already – I don’t know yet whether this is crucial or a weakness – is that to register you are encouraged to give your real name. For most online communities this would be an advantage, but if I were starting a campaign on something controversial I might not want to do so in a way that could allow employers to identify me. Of course, there’s nothing in the BBC’s registration process to prevent you from lying…

Thanks to “NTK”:http://www.ntk.net/2003/10/10/ for the links.