Later in the week I’m chairing a major conference in London on how web technology is affecting the process of government. Some of the clearest and most tangible examples of this is the new breed of web sites that take public data provided by government and converts it into a form that we can all use.
A great example of this is www.PublicWhip.org – which very neatly presents voting information relating to MPs and Lords.
This information is wonderful for providing at a glance information about how your local MP is and has been voting on issues that they appear to be hot and bothered about in public. By way of example I’ve been looking at the voting record of my own local MP, Jeffrey Donaldson.
The most interesting data is the extent to which he does not vote at all – despite the legislation relating, one would have thought, to his core values – things he rants on about in public and in the media.
For example, Donaldson gets very hot and bothered on the subject of abortion. But, strangely, he rarely bothers to show up in the Commons and vote when the opportunity arises to vote on important abortion or termination of pregnancy legislation. Here’s a list of votes in the Commons where Jeffrey Donaldson MP was (mostly) absent:
Similarly on issues pertaining to homosexuality and human fertilisation…despite the constant wearing of the Jesus fish in his lapel…he rarely bothers to make it to vote:
But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps he takes the view that he would resist the extension of such laws to Northern Ireland, given his double jobbing at Stormont.
So what about recent attendance of anti-terrorist legislation votes?
Hmm. One wonders if Mr Donaldson will be seeking re-election to Westminster given his double, indeed triple, indeed quadruple mandates (councillor, MLA, Minister and MP). But I’m not sure he’ll be missed in the corridors of power. Because he’s rarely there.