What we're doing
Democracy Club works by sending you occasional emails, each of which contains a simple task that you might be interested in doing. When lots of volunteers do lots of small tasks, these slowly build into valuable online resources.
We work with partners to build these resources and work out the tasks that we offer you. These are our current projects:
YourNextMP is a project to build a database of the candidates who are standing at the next election. Many people are surprised to hear such a thing doesn't exist. The major parties maintain lists that they'll send to journalists, and some of them publish their lists online. But it's hard to find all this in one place.
Building one database to bring these together is a bit tricky, but the really hard thing is gathering information on the hundreds and hundreds fringe parties and independents - more than 350 of them!
We're asking volunteers to help track down all these candidates, and find out their contact details. We also want to find and link to factual and opinion pieces about them on the web.
TheyWorkForYou.com is an amazing website that lists all MPs, everything they say in parliament, all their interests, which votes they bother to turn up for, and much more. We want to extend this information further. As well as generally providing information on all the candidates, we plan to ask them questions about a wide range of policy issues.
Politicians' answers to questions are usually boring and predictable, and dictated from Party HQ. We hope to get a bit more insight into the candidates by focussing on questions that tend to be outside the remit of the party whip. For example, we're gathering feedback from our volunteers about local issues that matter to them. We're also going to ask some national questions, and bias these towards questions that may be less subject to a party line.
With your help, we'll build up a list of local questions and national questions, and then put them to each and every candidate in every constituency. We'll try to phrase the questions so that they must be answered "Yes" or "No". The result will be an at-a-glance view on what each candidate thinks on a fairly random, but interesting sample of issues. We're even thinking about building a tool that will help you find the candidate with opinions closest to your own.
Candidates and parties rely heavily on leaflets that they post through your letterbox. Their contents are very localised and rarely come to the attention of national media. Dirty tricks, exaggerations and even lies are often order of the day. Additionally, the big parties now employ sophisticated targeting databases to vary their messages depending on where they are posting their leaflets.
The Straight Choice is a project to gather images of as many of these election leaflets as possible into one place. We then hope to be able to compare messages, and hold parties and candidates accountable for what they say on their leaflets.