Suppose you want to find out about a debate in parliament. Suppose that debate is the two day House of Commons debate on Covid-19 on May 11th and 12th 2020. It was a hybrid debate, with some MPs physically present and others speaking from home. 78 MPs spoke.

The transcript in Hansard takes around 100 pages. Reading that takes stamina. Furthermore, the Motion before the House was, “That this House has considered Covid-19”. Such generality allowed anyone to say anything. There was a great deal of “I commend the Royal XXX NHS Trust and all the NHS staff in XXX who reacted and adapted so quickly and have given such outstanding care to patients from XXX and the wider region.” Understandable, but not useful to the time-pressed reader looking for the main themes of the debate.

For such a reader, help is at hand. As an experiment, and a follow-up to our trials at the Hay Festival, we developed a mind map of the debate, here on a single page.

We’re up for doing more trials. If there’s a debate in your parliament that you would like to see mapped, let us know.

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