A Block for the Wigs, Gillray

A quick update

I launched the website yesterday and have been really pleased with the reception it has enjoyed thus far. Indeed, I was hoping for a little more critical feedback, so don’t hold back! I’m really interested in knowing what people would like to see this website do.

I haven’t analysed the visitor data in great depth thus far, although I’ve noticed a lot of people using the names of political parties in the search bar. You won’t find them right now, sorry; you’ll have to make do with the top funders tool for now. But the party, party accounting unit, regulated donee, third party and permitted participant (ugh! so much jargon) pages are coming soon – indeed, I’m hoping to make some progress on them today.

You might notice a small change with the search bar; I’ve slightly resized it and added a list of “currently popular” funders. This is to help visitors navigate around the site. Currently, the top choices are Mr George G Watson who by dint of his £950,000 donation to the Lib Dems last August puts him on the top of the top funders tool, and Lord Matthew Oakeshott, the former Lib Dem peer who it was revealed yesterday has divided £600,000 between 30 Labour and 15 Lib Dem candidates to fight the next election with (presumably these donations will appear in either the next set of figures to be published by the Electoral Commission, or the Jan-Mar 2015 register which will be published just before the election itself).

The algorithm I’ve used for the “popular” list is based on the idea of today’s visits counting as worth double the visits yesterday, which in turn are worth double the visits from two days ago, and so on for the next seven days. I’ll be keeping an eye on how well this seems to be reflecting actual visitor behaviour, so it may change again in the future, but it will do for now.

Anyway, today’s task is to upload the register of political parties and construct similar tables of “regulated donees” (elected politicians and partisan organisations). They don’t publish a register of these, but as far as I can see they are on the same database that the Electoral Commission uses as parties; they certainly use the same unique identifiers. Once that is done, I just have to stitch it together with the donations register and we should have a basic recipients page up and running.

Thanks again for your interest in this project.

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