Hi all. It's been a relatively quiet week in the world of British politics. Boris Johnson decided not to attend the annual gathering in Davos of the world's most powerful politicians and businessmen, instead choosing to stay at home and show his government was getting on with the job (and denying me a long-awaited punning headline in the process. I've damned well gone ahead and used it anyway...)
The major historical moment of the week came on Friday with the signing of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, a clearly delighted PM putting pen to paper at Downing Street. After three-and-a-half years of debate and division, the way is now clear for the UK to leave the EU this Friday.
It's also been a busy week at Number Ten Towers, as I've continued ploughing through the significant but vital analysis work on the game's internal logic. This involves ensuring each government policy setting maps to one or more voter "concerns", and in turn also affects one or more "indicators".
To give an example, increasing NHS spending will result in the recruitment of more doctors; so in game terms, the policy "NHS Spending" needs to affect the Indicator "No. of Doctors". In turn, the number of doctors increasing should result in a reduction in the waiting times for operations, so the "No. of Doctors" Indicator needs to be mapped to the Indicator for "Operation Waiting Times". And, of course, these things don't come for free, so there also needs to be a corresponding mapping to the financial indicator for "NHS Spending - Doctors"... if you're still awake, hopefully you get the idea.
I had been warned that this part of the game design would be the most difficult, and it's certainly been a challenge; but it's also been a fascinating exercise in understanding how all of the various aspects of government and policy interact. One over-arching principle of the game I'm endeavouring to stay true to is the need for the game to avoid being biased in favour of any specific political view. In that regard I've learned that some areas are by definition more controversial than others.
For example, most economists of all political persuasions tend to agree that increasing interest rates will have the effect of reducing inflation. However, there is less consensus over, say, whether the reduction of worker's rights will automatically result in an increase in business productivity. Taking an even more sensitive example, what should be the impact upon society of one of Theresa May's most cherished political projects, the restoration of grammar schools? Would such a move be of benefit to society as a whole, and if so, in what way? Proponents of the policy argue the return of grammar schools would lead to better and more focused education for all, resulting in a boost to economic growth; while critics suggest the policy would instead merely result in greater disparity of wealth between the richest and poorest in society.
It's not for Number Ten to determine who is right and who is wrong in such cases. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, certainly where those opinions can be supported by coherent arguments. Put another way, I want as many people as possible to play my game, regardless of their own political hue! After all, for so many political questions, there are no right or wrong answers. The fun is surely in being able to shape the country in a mould of your own choosing.
Looking forward to next week, as mentioned earlier, Friday sees the long-awaited formal exit of Britain from the European Union after 47 years of membership. It also marks two months since I began full-time development on Number Ten, and my project milestone is to complete game engine design by the end of the week also, so much to be done! Have a great week all, and speak soon.
all the best