This post was written by Andy Kirk, founder and editor of visualisingdata.com. Andy will be guest editing infosthetics for a short period whilst Andrew takes a well earned break.
The Guardian has produced an interesting interactive map [Guardian.co.uk] presenting the ebb-and-flow of European politics over a 38-year timeline.
The slider at the bottom of the graphic allows you to move through the years 1973, when the UK, Ireland and Denmark joined the EEC, through to the current day. Each country is colour-coded according to the political persuasion of the government, with right-wing parties represented in blue and left-wing parties in red. Coalition governments are indicated by the persuasion of the dominant partner.
Clicking on the individual country shapes presents details of the most recent election dates, the head of government and the name of the party in power. Clickable milestones are indicated along the timeline, which present details of key historical events that contextualise the European political story at that point in time, such as the fall of the Berlin wall and the introduction of the Euro.
This revealing political story is captured best by the introductory text, which states "with 21 EU member states now under varying degrees of rightwing government, Europe has never been more blue".