Monday, October 02, 2006

At the Cameron Love Fest - an evening with Ian Dale

I am sitting in a meeting organised by the Hansard Society called "Listen to me - can politicians ignore the new media?". Tim Sullivan, a big knob from BT is speaking at the moment. Some pretty impressive figures he has just given, such as 12 million homes in UK with broadband, 35 billion txt messages last year in UK, 63 percent of households with internet access. He's also just mentioned that it is difficult to avoid seeing people writing messages on blackberries, which is just what I am doing now.

Anne Widdicombe speaking now. Bless her. She looks worse in real life than she does on tv. But she is saying some sensible stuff on the need to reach young people on a medium of their choice. However, she won't become a "slave to the technology" and won't have a blog.

The conservatives here are talking about being the party with the most advanced use of technology for communication. They are arguably right, at the moment, though frankly we need to learn what they are doing and nick the best ideas and use them ourselves.

Iain Dale speaking now. Website speak at people, he said, not to them with little interaction. Blogs have to allow people to express their opinion, they're meant to be a conversation. Blogs such as Guido Fawkes now get more hits than the Conservative website. The Tory party needs to harness this technology to reach young people.

He has just praised blogs by Lib Dems as they tend to be more openminded and free with their comments. "It's useful to trawl through them," he says. Watch what you say guys and gals!

Meanwhile New Labour, he says, don't like blogs because they can't control them.

"We should embrace the technology for the Conservative Party.".

So Liberal Democrats, are we going to let the Conservatives stay in the lead? Certainly in my constituency, Blaydon, my determination is to put ourselves so far ahead of the other parties (the Cons barely exist there) in terms of using ecommunication that they will never catch up with us.

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