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Here comes that Digital Election we have been waiting for


6:21 pm - June 14th 2010

by Robert Sharp    


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Last week, Anthony Painter launched a Digital Election Analysis he wrote for Orange.

A key conclusion was the that the eager awaited ‘Digital Election’ we had all been expecting (after the fantastic Obama ’08 campaign) simply failed to materialise, and it was TV wot hung it.

My thoughts on the events were blogged elsewhere.

However, since Sunny has just posted his provisonal Blog Nation programme, I will offer a quick addendum to my earlier thoughts here, which is simply that it is the Labour Leadership Election which will prove to be the Digital Election we have all been waiting for.

I note that David Miliband is becoming prolific at posting AudioBoos (short podcasts for those not yet up to speed); and Ed Miliband’s campaign team are turning around a particular type of on-the-hoof, off-the-cuff campaign video with efficiency.

Tom Watson MP, former Minister for Digital Engagement, is running Ed Balls campaign, so I am sure we will see some innovative uses of social networking courtesy of the man from West Bromwich. All the candidates seem to have Twibbons, an innovation which I fucking hate but others seem to enjoy.

The difference here, compared to the General Election campaign in April, is time. Much like Barack Obama’s gruelling journey to the White House, the campaign for the Labour leadership will be a drawn-out affair.

It will allow all five candidates to experiment with the different technologies on offer, and develop a deeper and more sophisticated conversation with their party… and each other.

Groups like Compass, The Fabians, LabourList, Left Foot Forward and, of course, Liberal Conspiracy, will also be able to plan and launch multiple interventions, as will entirely independent initiatives like the unofficial Ed Miliband for Labour Leader campaign.

Who knows, we may even see some ‘swift-boating’ or negative campaigns, like #KerryOut – the doomed attempt to unseat Kerry McCarthy MP from Bristol East through the medium of Twitter.

The next hustings event is tonight, and is hosted by the Fabians. Expect your Twitter streams to be cluttered with multiple, competing commentaries.

Expect images and video to pop up online before the weekend. There will be no spin room where Machiavellis, Mountebanks and Madelsons can suck our attention away from the substance of what is being said, and the digital commentary will count for much more that it did during the #LeadersDebates in the spring.

This is the Digital Election we have been waiting for, so get stuck in.

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About the author
Robert Sharp designed the Liberal Conspiracy site. He is Head of Campaigns at English PEN, a blogger, and a founder of digital design company Fifty Nine Productions. For more of this sort of thing, visit Rob's eponymous blog or follow him on Twitter @robertsharp59. All posts here are written in a personal capacity, obviously.
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Story Filed Under: Blog ,Elections2010 ,Labour party ,Technology

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Reader comments


Groups like Compass, The Fabians, LabourList, Left Foot Forward and, of course, Liberal Conspiracy, will also be able to plan and launch multiple interventions

Why should Liberal Conspiracy give a shit about the leadership campaign? Whoever leads Labour is irrelevant to the liberal left, because Labour is not the party of the liberal left (not much liberal in it nor much left, to be frank).

What a lazy response, blanco.

Like it or not, the Labour party will be Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition for the next five years. It is down to those of us who support liberal left policies to push them wherever we can. That means trying to influence the policies of the Labour party, from without and within, so that it becomes both liberal and left once more. Digital technology offer the means to achieve this.

I gurss posting snark from the sidelines is easier, though. Good luck with that.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Liberal Conspiracy

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  2. robertsharp59

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  4. Simon

    Here comes that Digital Election we have been waiting for … http://bit.ly/9LVx1N





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