Still going for the virtual vote
Now that the election is over, what has happened to the parties' websites and online gimmicks?
Political parties and campaigns tried unsuccessfully to use the internet to liven up the general election. Now that the election is over, what has happened to the various websites and online gimmicks?
Labour may have won the election, but it seems so desperate to gain the ‘moral mandate’ of the electorate that two weeks later it is still asking for your vote. At the time of writing, the party’s ‘ruup4it?’ website (1) – intended to counter voter apathy during the election – still spawns a window urging people to get to the polling booths.
Surreally, the ‘Your vote, your future’ pop-up window has an automated countdown to election day – only it’s running in reverse. Twelve days after the polls, you are told to vote because polling day is only ‘-12 days’ away and counting (2). In its desperation Labour has discovered a new target for its campaigns: the time-travelling floating voter.
What about the non-party-political campaigns? TacticalVoter.net (3) continues to urge vote swapping on its homepage, to ensure that ‘2001 is another win-win election for the centre-left’. The webmaster need only change ‘2001’ to ‘2005’ and the website will remain an invaluable resource for centre-leftists for the foreseeable future.
VoxPolitics (4), the UK-based campaign championing the impact of IT upon the political process, still has as its top story ‘Labour saves best till last’ (5). The champions of e-democracy report that ‘after a relative lack of innovation for the duration of the campaign, Labour has embarked on a last-minute run of text messages aimed at mobilising the youth vote’. Like the one promising to overhaul the UK’s licensing laws (‘cdnt give a xxxx 4 lst ordrs? Vote labour on thrsdy 4 xtra time’) – a proposal that has already been shelved so that the government can focus on ‘key public service issues’.
But perhaps the saddest web zombie of all is the Conservative Party website (6), which during the election campaign had a frantic turnover of content that sought to turn every Labour speech into an object of ridicule. What was the website’s take on the catastrophic Tory defeat? The bold headline ‘Conservatives gain ground in local elections’, boasting that ‘Conservatives are once again the dominant force in the shires’ (7).
Meanwhile, it seems that the government will classify future elections as one of the evils of modern society. The Home Office (8) publishes the statistics on election expenses per constituency in the middle of a web page listing the latest crime figures, drug offences, immigration statistics and prison restraints (9).
No votes for e-democracy, by Mark Birbeck
Connecting to what?, by Sandy Starr
(1) See the ruup4it? website
(2) See the Your vote, your future pop-up
(3) See the Tacticalvoter.net website
(4) See the Voxpolitics website
(5) See the Labour saves best ‘til last on the Voxpolitics website
(6) See the Conservative party website
(7) See Conservatives gain ground in local elections on the Conservative party website
(8) See the Home Office website
(9) See Research development statistics on the Home Office website
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