Monday, August 17, 2009

Kerry McCarthy MP: Hides Heels in Obama Twitter Tsar Pic

Another hit and run, cut and paste post from LOL ...

*Embargoed 0001 hrs Monday 17 August* (Which naughty Guardian broke, tut)

Labour is signalling that the 2010 election will be the first 'new media election' i.e. the first where the internet has played a significant role.

Kerry McCarthy is being unveiled as their New Media Campaigns Spokesperson - acting as a focal point within Party HQ to ensure that more MPs and Ministers are engaging properly online and to act as a link between HQ and the blogosphere.

McCarthy's role and plans for how the internet will shape Labour's election campaigning strategy are revealed in an exclusive interview with the blog site, Labourlist. The highlights include:

*What immediate plans do you have?*

I think there’s so much being done in this space, both at HQ and also in our wider network. I’m keen to make sure more of our own people know what tools and platforms available so that they can use them to the full. It’s also important that we help the best of the blogosphere to bloom.

I’m also hoping that I can help some of my more reluctant colleagues in the House of Commons get more comfortable in this area. I’ve had some interesting conversations in the Commons tea room recently, helping Liam Byrne and Jim Knight ‘get’ Twitter and now watch them go!

*Do you feel its right that the Tories are characterised at being better at
social media than us?*

I don't agree with that at all. There are two right-wing celebrity bloggers in the form of Iain Dale and Guido Fawkes, who have a fair amount of traffic and a lot of mainstream media profile. This is quite different from the Conservative Party being great on the internet. We had WebCameron three years ago, which was an interesting experiment but you would expect far more in the way of innovation and movement-building from an opposition party. Instead they seem to focus on eye-catching gimmicks like “Be our friend on Facebook” that cost them half a million pounds, yielded little in way of results and has been criticised by a number of senior voices in the Party.

The Labour Party on the other hand have been working away quietly at this – building up an infrastructure which seeks to give our supporters the tools they need to campaign for us. So you’ve got tools like the Virtual Phonebank allowing members to call voters from home; the use of Google Maps to advertise and sign up to campaign events; viral widgets that can be used by our supporters to put on their own sites which use humour to get across serious messages; and integrated online and offline campaigns like the Mr 10 Per Cent campaign launched recently.

It’s also the case that Labour MPs are leading the way on Twitter and that the Party is working more closely with bloggers and that Labourlist is really starting to flower....and is certainly not always in agreement with the leadership!

*How has Labour's attitude towards the internet changed and to what extent will this continue up to the election? What role will the web play in the campaign? *

I think the key point for my colleagues to take away is that this is the first election where people don’t have to wait for politicians to come to them – to knock on the door, to deliver a leaflet or to do an interview.

Voters will increasingly be searching the web to find out what we think about the issues, what we’ve actually been doing in the locality and looking to see what we sound like. That’s where YouTube comes in. All our candidates need to start building up that online collateral from now.

*Do you think we’ll see* *any web innovations in the campaign?*

The internet will make it much easier to organise and adapt during the campaign. We can get much better information from doorstep to centre in terms of what is a concern in canvassing, what is working well and then when campaign strategy needs to change quickly the information will flow much more quickly back the other way.

I also think the blogosphere will play a bigger part in fact-checking and crowd sourcing ideas rather than just people posting about their views.

*Are you expecting the Tories to ramp up their web efforts?*

To be quite honest I think the word has come down from Tory HQ that their MPs are to stay away from social media at all costs – it’s deliberate non-engagement strategy. Iain Dale, ConservativeHome and a couple of the younger ones are popular but where are the politicians, the people you’re expected to actually vote for? Hardly any are on Twitter and the ones that are there are just ‘lurking’.

* *

*Also about to be launched are initiatives from other Labour-supporting web entrepreneurs, including: *

  • Will Straw's fact-checking site to be called Left Foot Forward, which will be launched the week before Labour Party conference and based on the US site -
  • Red Imperative to develop and launch a wiki to allow Labour members to
    monitor the activities of Tory candidates.

    Dick the Prick said...

    Oy Chris - you didn't give any opinion. Does this mean you're happy with it. Let's be honest - after Draper, she certainly couldn't be worse and Mz McCarthy really doesn't appear to be the sort of lassy who'd think it 'brilliant' to smear opponents. Good luck to her I say.

    Chris Paul said...

    Cheers Dick

    Yes, I'm happy enough with this as you surmise. Was down in Bristol for a few hours on Weds. Damned Lib Dems can't even keep the traffic flowing on the Portway. Hopefully Kerry will help clear out their FW MP - him with the ongoing U-turns on TUFs - and after that regain office in the Council House.

    Though I was pretty robust on the matter of Draper's performance and do think we need to remember that he did not publish this crap from McBride. The paid of them went off on one. But it needn't have led anywhere. And that Nads smeared herself. Not a sign of robust mental health.

    Dick the Prick said...

    Fully agree re the Nads - as Carly Simon would say 'she's so vain'.