Do Special Interest Groups Reveal Their Hand in Parliamentary Debate?

Mulling over committee treemaps – code which I really need to revisit and package up somewhere – I started wondering…

…can we use the idea of treemap displays as a way in to help think about how interest groups may – or may not – reveal themselves in Parliament?

For example suppose we had a view over Parliamentary committees, or AAPGs. Add another level of structure to the treemap display showing members of each each committee with cells of equal area for each member. Now, in a debate, if any of the members of the committee speak, highlight the cell for that member.

With a view over all committees, if the members of a particular committee, or particular APPG, lit up, or didn’t light up, we might be able to to start asking whether the representation from those members was statistically unlikely.

(We could do the same for divisions, displaying how each member voted and then seeing whether that followed party lines?)

From mulling over this visually inspired insight, we wouldn’t actually need to use treemaps, of course. We could just run a query over the data and do some counting, creating “lenses” that show how particular interest groups or affiliations (committees, APPGs, etc) are represented in a debate?

Author: Tony Hirst

I'm a lecturer at The Open University, with an interest in #opendata policy and practice, as well as general web tinkering...