Free our bills!

MySociety (the people behind They Work For You, The Public Whip, etc) want parliament to publish bills in a better way electronically so that citizens can more easily see what’s going on in Westminster. They’re calling this campaign Free Our Bills:

Writing, discussing and voting on bills is what we employ our MPs to do. If enough MPs vote on bills they become the law, meaning you or I can get locked up if they pass a bad one.

Bills are, like, so much more important than what MPs spend on furniture.

The problem is that the way in which Bills are put out is completely incompatible with the Internet era, so nobody out there ever knows what the heck people are actually voting for or against. We need to free our Bills in order for most people to be able to understand what matters about them.

They need this information so that they can make information about bills better available to the public:

Unless Parliament produces better bills:

  • 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.

The actual technical changes they need to do this are fairly simple, and appear to be well thought out.

If you think this is worthwhile (if you live in the UK, you should do) then you can join their campaign via the form on their web page.

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