Do you know how your MP voted on the issues that matter to you?
If not, take a look at the new Voting Record section for your MP – accessed easily via TheyWorkForYou.com. Even if you don’t know who your MP is, we’ve made it easy to find their voting activities, and to easy understand their big decisions at a glance.
We’ve been working hard to increase the coverage of votes (we admit – they had got a bit out of date), as well as to make the experience of reading them much more pleasant. There are now so many bits of analysis we’ve actually split a separate voting page out for each MP, accessible from their main TheyWorkForYou page.
Now you can see how your MP voted on issues like these:
- Benefit levels – what goes up or down
- Foreign policy – including military decisions
- Social issues – eg gay marriage
- Constitutional issues – for example, how many MPs there are
Check your own MP’s voting record here – and don’t forget, if you want to discuss what you find with your MP you can use WriteToThem.com afterwards.
Keeping things objective
TheyWorkForYou is a trusted, non-partisan service so we work hard to ensure that these voting lines are unbiased and neutrally worded.
We’re so keen to ensure that we don’t accidentally introduce unconscious biases, that we try to avoid entirely the business of picking which topics to analyse. Instead, we prioritise our analysis based on what gets voted on by lots of MPs (accounting for whole party abstentions), not what gets talked about in the news, or what we care about ourselves.
There are more details about the process in a previous blog post.
Wording is important
We have decided to prioritise clarity over expressing every detailed nuance of votes – this is an intentional choice, reflecting our priority of reaching citizens who have never paid attention to their MPs before. Consequently, vote summaries need to be concise and not use jargon.
For example, would we be wrong to use the common term ‘bedroom tax’? It’s a phrase that a lot of people would recognise from the press coverage, but the government’s preferred term is ‘removal of the spare room subsidy’.
In the end, we went with reducing housing benefit for social tenants deemed to have excess bedrooms (which Labour describe as the “bedroom tax”) – a balance between objectivity and clarity.
The bottom line
We’ve made lot of changes to the display for information on MPs recently. So if you have any feedback, good or bad, please us know what you think by leaving a comment below, or dropping us a line.
Image source. Copyright Catherine Bebbington/Parliamentary Copyright. Licence: (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Leaving aside whether it’s right or wrong, anyone who calls the bedroom tax a “tax” doesn’t know the meaning of the word. A tax is where the government takes money someone has earned and spends it itself. “Subsidy” is not really right, although it’s less wrong – a subsidy is where someone gives you money to make something that would otherwise be uneconomical, economical. But there’s an implication of intention in “subsidy” which was absent here. They didn’t set housing benefit at the level it used to be “so that people could afford to have spare rooms”.
“Reducing a benefit” is probably the least loaded term, so well done for choosing it.
Love it. love it a lot.
Buglet though: those oh so clever ‘mouseover’ green detail buttons? not clickable, or even visible, on safari on iPad.
Is there *any* UX justification for those buttons not being visible all the time?
There’s a solution to that problem already under discussion.