Monday, May 18, 2009

(It's Still) All About Filtering

Filtering I consciously try not to write about politics on this blog, but occasionally it becomes inevitable. There's a lot of it about at the moment, in my day job (more of that later this week), and I believe there's been some sort of scandal at Westminster?

The latter fact came to my attention at the weekend when I was playing with Tony Hirst's MPs Expenses Dashboard, and found out how staggeringly expensive Sir Peter Soulsby, Labour MP for Leicester South is to run. Ever heard of him? No, I thought not. Not exactly high-profile, is he?

But it's not just him, and while bad news is great for selling newspapers (as we watch the death throes of that industry), everyone is pissed off with politicians. Which upsets me as this can't be the best response to bad news. Rather than this baby-bathwater approach, let's identify the politicians who don't rip us off and reward good behavior (with votes, not money) rather than relying on a futile whack-a-mole approach to wrong doing. Which political party/candidate in the forthcoming elections gives best value for money? There's no shortage of data, which is why Tony's work in visualizing the complex tables through the dashboard approach is so valuable. It allows us to filter the news and make a smart response rather than the gut reaction that both the politicians and the press would prefer us to have.

Update via Tony Hirst: MPs who claim the least