Icon is one of the world’s leading architecture and design magazines. We were asked to contribute to their ‘RETHINK’ section where international design studios tackle a problem, this is our response which was published in Feb 15.
As we hurtle towards the UK general election, all the main political parties are firing shots at each other, personalities are thrown into the spotlight and the proverbial mud is ready to be slung. Never before have we known a time where the general public are completely disillusioned with politics in the UK, attacks on personalities with cheap point scoring have become the norm rather than solid political policies.
The rise (or media hype) of right-wing parties such as UKIP have created caricature politicians akin to a sketch show, but these people are real and, worryingly, might be in charge one day. Media scrutiny has focused on issues like expenses for all the wrong reasons, excesses and loopholes are exposed and the public pours over the tabloid sensations. All of this takes focus off the MPs who work hard for their constituents and creates distrust around their day to day work.
But do we really know what their day to day work is? Do we know who our MPs are? Are they acting in our best interests?
We set out to bring a level of transparency to politicians’ working and personal lives, merging real available data that can be hard to decipher in its current form. Open data is much championed by the current government but delivery can be tailored to a particular party’s agenda. Our idea is simple: show an equal, fair and balanced record of a MP’s year but in an open, accessible and neutral way. We call this The Record.
Each year a personal annual report would be published using open and available data from sources such as theyworkforyou.com, this report would give a personal and professional insight into the people you vote for. The platform has been designed to feel official but also accessible in the way it delivers infographics, using a file system for navigation and large type. You can access personal information that builds up an image of the MP, from comments on national and local issues to official information gathered from parliament such as issues raised and voted on. Everything is easily searchable, sharable and accessible.
With this level of transparency on a digital platform it could encourage a higher level of engagement, debate and understanding of an MP’s role.