political parties supporting podcasting


By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent

Last Updated: 2:15am GMT 24/11/2006

  • Video: The Tories ‘sort-it’

    With a use of language that does not spare the blushes of traditional Tory activists, the party has launched an internet campaign called “the inner tosser”.

      Homepage of the 'Sort-it' website
    Personal debt is just the first of a number of topics that will be featured on the site

    The so-called “viral ad” campaign is the first of series designed to reach younger voters via the internet.

    Mr Cameron, at 40 the youngest by far of the main party leaders, has set great store on using the internet to target young people.

    Francis Maude, the party chairman, has also claimed the “blogosphere” for the Tories, claiming Right-leaning bloggers dominate the political internet.

    The new campaign features a video showing a young man being persuaded to spend beyond his means by an evil sidekick – “the tosser within” – who embodies his worst impulses.

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    It shows the man being persuaded to use his credit card to buy clothes and shoes as well as huge flat-screen television.

    “Two years’ interest-free credit – what do you care? You could be dead by then!” advises the evil friend.

    The young man finally buys a sports car, before being advised to curb his “inner tosser”, a slang expression with a variety of meanings.

    The campaign has been created by Ben Bilboul of advertising agency Karmarama, which was behind David Hasselhoff’s recent “King of the internet” campaign for Pipex.

    Mr Cameron, a former PR executive at Carlton, today justified the campaign.

    He said: “We know that we need to reach out to people disengaging from the political process.

    “We are launching ‘Sort it’, an innovative and provocative internet-based campaign designed to encourage young people to think about their own social responsibilities.

    “The first issue we have chosen is personal debt, but many more will be addressed in the months ahead, such as racism and homelessness.”

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    3 November 2006 

    Woman watching podcast

    The SNP is seeking to target the younger generation

    A hi-tech video plea to voters using podcasting technology has been launched by the Scottish National Party.Party leader Alex Salmond will be hosting regular podcasts over the next six months in an effort to reach young voters, graduates and professionals.

    The Scottish Executive has already moved into the realm of MP3 downloads, with selected events and first minister’s questions available online.

    UK Conservative leader David Cameron has also started his own video weblog.

    ‘Target graduates’

    The SNP’s podcast, filmed in Glasgow’s George Square, was also published on the YouTube website.

    “With an estimated one in four 25 to 40 year-olds with MP3 players such as Apple’s iPod, the SNP is using this media to target graduates and young professionals,” the party said.

    “Polling confirms this age group as the strongest supporters of independence and the SNP is wooing these voters with a pledge to lift the burden of student debt from thousands of young Scots and their families.”

    The Nationalists are planning a series of podcasts in the run-up to the 3 May Holyrood and local elections.

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    5 October 2006

    Tony Blair with Bill Clinton

    Bill Clinton (R) gave a speech at this year’s main conference

    The Labour Party is to ditch its annual spring conference next year in favour of a series of smaller “seminars and consultations” across the UK.Party bosses said shelving the 2007 party meeting in Glasgow would help to involve more people in policy-making and was not designed to save money.

    Blogs and podcasts would be used to broaden “online engagement” with the new “interactive party”, they said.

    The party had debts of about £28m earlier this year.

    While the main conference was held in Manchester in September, some 3,000 delegates had been expected in the Scottish city next spring.

    ‘Record bloggers’

    Labour’s National Executive Committee said it had decided to take politics “out to the country”.

    The committee said the Manchester conference had seen “a record number of bloggers and podcasts”.

    “The change of format will involve the largest-ever number of people in our discussions on future policy priorities.”

    Peter Watt, Labour’s general secretary, said he was “excited” about the plans.

    “The Labour Party has always led the way in reforming its structures and outreach to involve the largest possible number of people in policy-making,” he said.

    “This new approach will allow us to involve the greatest-ever number of party members and supporters in the preparation of what will become our next manifesto.”

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    Thursday, 8 June 2006 

    Bloggers could have their own area at the Conservatives’ annual conference in a sign of a growing influence of Tory internet networks.

    Blogs such as the ConservativeHome website are increasingly popular and seen as a way of understanding Tory thinking as the party plans its policy.

    Tory blogger Iain Dale said plans for a conference blogging area showed how attitudes were changing.

    Conservative headquarters have yet to confirm the plans.

    But Mr Dale told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme about the idea, which could give Tory bloggers the chance to “meet their audience”.

    “It just shows the power and influence that some blogs are having on the political process generally and on the Conservative Party in particular,” he said.

    ‘Connecting people’

    The move would follow the US, where bloggers now appear routinely at political conventions.

    The Democrats political convention in 2004 was the first time that bloggers were accredited to attend – with a launch by presidential candidate Howard Dean. The Republicans have followed suit.

    Former Iain Duncan Smith aide Tim Montgomerie visited Washington earlier this year to explore how political campaigners were using the internet in the US.

    Mr Montgomerie is editor of ConservativeHome.

    He pointed to how his website had been able to piece together the confidential Tory A-list of candidates earmarked for winnable seats.

    “Before, every Conservative activist in the country was very disconnected from the other activists but now through ConservativeHome and other blogs they can all join together,” said Mr Montgomerie, who was aide to former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith.

    Conservative MP Michael Gove likened the blogs to the daily scandal sheets handed from journalists to power brokers in centuries past.

    “One of the secrets that most MPs have is how much time they actually spend visiting many of these blogs,” he said.

    “I don’t think it’s necessarily an obsession but I do think the blogs perform an enormously useful service.”

    Mr Gove warned that the range of views on the blogs should not be seen as representative of the Conservative Party as a whole.

    Instead, they were “the views of those who are either ideologically fired up enough to post or those insomniacs who have nothing better to do than to share with us their views of the political world at three in the morning”.

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