Transparent Politics

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How the idea came to life - 18/07/2016

 

It all started last year when I was reading the news: every day we read articles about what is happening or what will happen to our country and every day we get pleased, disappointed, angry, glad to hear that something is being made in a certain way rather than another one.

However what we read on the major newspapers is quite often the end product of what politicians have been discussing for months. Often these discussions goes undetected, often they are shadowed by more trendy news, often they are deliberately kept at a low profile.

Many times we end up with a law that is quite different from its original inception (and more times than not it differs in a worse way). Many times we felt like we wished we could be there to give our input while the law is being formed. Other times we just simply ask ourselves: "How did this law reach this point, how many times it has been discussed?".

Last October I read an article on the proposed nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C that was included in the trade and investment agreements signed between UK and China. It was not the first time that Hinkley was mentioned on the papers (quite the opposite) and wanting to know what happened to this nuclear power station in these past years I started wondering how I could possibly quickly retrieve some information about it.

There is the government website where it's possible to go and search for current and past legislation, but I was surprised about the lack of apps. The government website is useful, but is not something that is user friendly or easy to use on a mobile. Also there isn't an option to easily share ideas/comments/petitions about a specific bill or at least is not integrated to the Bills or Acts pages.

This lead to myself thinking: "What if?"...

I've never done a proper android app before and I was pretty sure it would have been an arduous task, but the excitement of doing something for the general population, something that will make me feel good, something that people could use to make the world even a tiny bit better gave me the push to start developing it.

The app in itself is very simple (at least this first version). The app wants to offer three main functionalities:

- Firstly, it wants to allow the users to easily search between Bills and Acts. This is accomplished via the use of government APIs to get the data for the searches and for individual Bills/Acts;

- Secondly, it wants to allow users to share comments/petitions on each individual Bill/Act so that ideas can be shared;

- Lastly, it allows users to vote (like/dislike style) on each comment/petition created by other users.

It has been an incredibly exciting and hectic journey, but finally the app is landed on Google Play for everyone to start enjoying. I strongly believe in making knowledge accessible to everyone and this app, that i classify as an informational app, is free to download and free from annoying adds. Even if few people will find this add useful it will make me happy as it's just something I did in my spare time as a side hobby.

Link to the app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tp.TransparentPolitics&hl=en_GB

 

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