Thursday, 20 October 2011

Power to the People - It's Time for WebCameron II

I have not followed the Political scene in the level of depth, over the last few months, as I have in the past. So I guess my impression of what people think of the government is fairly realistic being based on news reports and a few snatches of episodes of political tv programmes.

It seems to me that the news about what the government is doing is very largely negative.

The general sense of the current situation can be summed-up as:

  • The health service reforms have been bungled. The reforms are possibly unnecessary and there seems to be some kind of problem with accountability.

  • The economy is in a mess. There is no growth. Everyone is skint and the government should be doing more to create jobs and growth but isn't. They just keep banging on about 'the deficit'.

  • This government is just as dodgy as the last one. Liam Fox was basically bent because he employed a friend as an advisor and had him paid by some other people who wanted to influence his actions.. and David Cameron didn't seem to mind until he was caught and even then said what a good bloke he was..

Is this the real state of the government's position? Does it really it explain what is going on or provide a sensible balanced view of the state of the government's progress?

Almost certainly not. But it is roughly the perception of the average person 'on the street' because their news is delivered almost entirely through the filter of the mass media. And the mass media generally don't engage in telling the world what great people politicians are until they are dead.

So, what to do?

For the first time in history it's possible for politicians to communicate their message direct to the masses - unfettered by the negative interpretation of the media. David Cameron's 'Web Cameron' was a very useful pilot project - it successfully enabled Dave to deliver direct communication to his political supporters, commentators and party members - I doubt many others watched it but it proved it's viability and potential.

I propose that he should now take it to the next level by launching a regular web-based communication to explain what the government is doing and why it is doing it.

Some key points:

1) A Regular 'Snappy Broadcast' - It needs to be done at least monthly, be compelling and watchable. 

2) Informal but Serious - Informality is key - it needs to be in the style of a 'one-to-one' conversation (albeit one-sided) interspersed with footage of events. It must be serious but avoid looking like state-sponsored propaganda.

3) News Breaking - There need to be new newsworthy announcements made via this 'channel' to ensure that people value it and keep coming back - and so the mainstream media watch it and report on it - thus ensuring more traffic.

4) New Insight - Easy to achieve by picking locations such as No.10 flat, The Cabinet room etc and by giving  different perspectives on key current events.Essentially it needs to deliver something that cannot be got elsewhere.

5) A Gateway - To more in-depth info. For example Dave might talk about the success of the Academies programme and then provide a link to more info on the D of E site - perhaps a video etc there with Mr Gove talking about what he is working on, why and the current state of play.

A vibrant and independent media is an essential component of an effective democracy. But it has an essential weakness. Competition forces it to be sensationalist. It's currency is scandal, failure, protest, outrage. It exposes wrongdoing and badness. It espouses cynicism. The supposed 'balance' provided often merely degenerates into providing two different views about what the government is doing wrong..

So it does make sense for the key people in government to communicate directly to the electorate - In other words 'Power to the People'.


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