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Wednesday, March 26

Free our bills

If you haven't seen this and you're British, go and sign up for MySociety's Free Our Bills Campaign.

It's about getting Parliament to produce Bills in a way that others can reuse the content online, rather than having to retype from parchment or whatever they do currently. i.e. It's 2008 FFS!

This is because TheyWorkForYou cannot currently do things like:

  • We can’t give you email alerts to tell you when a bill mentions something you might be interested in.
  • We can’t tell you what amendments your own MP is asking for, or voting on.
  • We can’t help people who know about bills annotate them to explain what they’re really going on about for everyone else.
  • We can’t build services that would help MPs and their staff notice when they were being asked to vote on dumb or dubious things.
  • We can’t really give a rounded view of how useful your MP is if we can’t see their involvement with the bill making process.
  • We can’t do about 12 zillion other things that we’re not even bright enough to think of yet.
They are resorting to their first campaign because lobbying failed:
  • There’s some vague notion that it’ll all get done one day, as part of some miraculous project plan to make everything OK, but we understand ‘sod off’, even when spoken in Whitehall-speak.
And I love the Aussie freshwater marsupial they're using for the emblem. Any campness gets a big tick in my book (and she's camp).

Quite interesting stories about platypuses: when the first specimens arrived back in London, they were assumed to be fakes (Engels was one who thought 'those damned English are trying to fool me!'). Then they thought it was a bird. They puzzled scientists for years. They're also venomous, though it won't kill you. And it's a snout, not a bill :} Though 'free our snouts!' sounds like something MPs would support ...


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