Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Friday, March 27, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
It is a call to all those that think they never get the chance to have their say, as well as to think about a whole new parliamentary arena that has a huge impact on our lives but is often remote, misunderstood and does not really go out of its way to engage. One of Sarah's Youtube videos demonstrates some of the problems with understanding. If anyone out there has a burning desire to comment get in touch with Sarah and get involved, or also comment on the project here or directly to Sarah.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
But the Conservatives have been doing very similar things, from the demand for an election, the say sorry campaign to this one that has also on a number of blogs in the last couple of days (torybear for example). A recycling of a campaign back in 1979 and only a matter of time before it reappeared - especially pertinent given the news of unemployment rises yesterday. But there is a broader point to all of this. If it is simply going to be a tit for tat battle of attacks how can the parties expect the public to engage with the campaign. There is already evidence that voting is not for 'the best candidate' (Obama perhaps being the exception) but the 'least worst'; this simply promotes that.
Attacks only work if they stick and are believable, so we await what the mass of people decide on these messages. However blunt attack ads also are claimed to have a negative effect on public trust (they are all c**p), efficacy (voting is pointless because they are all c**p) and interest (they are not saying anything of relevance) and so voter turnout. The positives are they are memorable and, if amusing, repeated; but they are only attractive if they reinforce the beliefs of the reader - hence they go around the partisan blogs but seldom make the mainstream perhaps and are not as effective when viewed by the floating, non-partisan voter.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Monday, March 16, 2009
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Guido Fawkes just beats Derek Draper
But Gordon beats David 3-1.
Does it matter, it depends what everyone is saying, how much is positive or negative, how influential the authors are and often the things that each would like to get read widely are re-tweeted. Go here if you want your own Tweetometer, its fun to play with!
I guess the idea is to allow people to create the logo, save it as a jpeg and then for users to add their own unique attack logo to their own website, blog or social network profile so rather than being labour everywhere there is an appearance of anti-Conservatives everywhere. Not sure I like it much, it is all a little bit cheap and childish; nothing on those great 'are you thinking what I'm thinking' slogans from 2005. What's anyone else think?
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
Sir Paul Judge is described as a Tory grandee, on the basis he was DG during the early 1990s, but it seems he has become disillusioned with all the parties and has decided to start his own to 'clean up politics' (though his past is not unblemished himself). The plan is to finance 72 candidates for the forthcoming European Parliamentary election, each of whom will be selected 'X-Factor style' by public vote. This was tried once by ITV but was an abject failure. Anti-sleaze MEP Martin Bell supports it but Judge wants to attract candidates such as Shami Chakrabarti to his 'Jury Team' party. Personally it sounds like another Kilroy-Silk style Veritas experiment that will have similar success, and the whole Judge and Jury concept seems to be more of a pun than a serious attempt at having any impact apart from gaining coverage, possible for Judge or possibly simply highlighting sleaze as a political issue and so depressing turnout further. But I may be proven wrong, it wouldn't be the first time; after all Judge is president of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and may well know how to design and sell a party better than those who have spent a life in politics. However, there is no precedent for an anti-party party with no policies every making an impact so it seems doubtful - any thoughts?
The last lines are perhaps the most interesting: "change comes to Washington and not from Washington", it is the people that Obama argues need to push for change. What this seems to aim to achieve is the firmly align the people with Obama against the system and vested interests. He remains in the strategic position of being the people's president acting on their behalf but fighting against a Congress and House of Representatives which contain those who represent corporations, themselves possibly but are against Obama led revolution - that is the implicit meaning of his campaign.
He presents his plan and asks his supporters, those who have shared their email with his campaign, to do all the same activities he asked of them to get him into the White House: campaigning among their neighbours, making phone calls and mobilising support behind the President. It could well be a powerful force to bring to bear against elected representatives if it works. I guess the question is will it, and can this be sustained?
Friday, March 06, 2009
To reinforce the message of blame (that Gordon Brown bears responsibility for the economic crisis) is the purpose of this little site created by the Conservatives. The site allows users to change the answers to questions, for example 'I claimed to have saved the world but that was... either 'certainly the case in a nice dream I had', 'a total fantasy' you get the idea. If an advert it would be a very blunt negative attack ad, however the intention for this is for it to be a viral. Any visitor can change 'Gordon's' answers, they can then email it to five people and so it will go around. It has some element of interactivity as it can be changed, customised within strict parameters and forwarded on; not the kind of engagement earning interactivity but will be popular with the more committed supporter. But will the message work, well only if people have a tendency to agree Brown is at fault and that he has misled the people and mismanaged the economy, if you do not believe that the reaction will be hostile and it will be seen as partisan propaganda. However it is not designed for Brown supporters, but for those disillusioned with Brown, ready to listen to the Conservatives and agree with some of the key points in their attack. More of this will appear as we run up towards the local, European Parliament and of course the General Election which at the latest must be May 2010.
Thursday, March 05, 2009
It would perhaps be fair comment that of all the things the new regime in Zimbabwe needs to do, providing a website is a low priority. However Morgan Tsvangirai knows he is talking to a range of audiences and that change is often as much about symbolism as it is about results (often it is purely symbolic as results take time). What makes the Tsvangirai website interesting is that it is not only the traditional information heavy, top-down communication tool common across most democracies. What it attempts to do is firstly inform, so the home page is dominated by Tsvangirai's inaugural speech, but alongside that (see below) is the opportunity to say what you think the top priority of the government should be: the question with that is who is it aimed at? Who has access to the Internet (as of March 2008 only 10.9% of the population) and who is most likely to respond?
Similar questions relate to the forum that has been created. It is entitled 'Your Forum' and the language suggests it is the hope that the people of Zimbabwe will get involved. There are a good amount of posts, a small amount of replies but views for the popular ones into the 200s, so perhaps it is getting some attention. Below is a shot of just one series of threads, ok the viewers may all be foreign correspondents and the four replies may be from emigres; it is perhaps a start.
Change in Zimbabwe is going to be a slow process. Perhaps currently Tsvangirai is in the process of trying to both symbolically and actually build the new brand for the government, one that fits his tag-line of 'A New Era of Democratic and Transparent Leadership'. If the government are bold enough to listen to those posting and to post ideas themselves, if conversations develop then more may be encouraged to take part, and if the people who have access are not too scared to share their personal information and log in perhaps word will get out that there is a new style of government. A lot of maybes and perhaps in that, but symbolically it says a new era, the question is whether this can help usher that new era in.