This PR Guru comments that the Lib Dems seem to be ahead in the online campaign stakes. He refers to the newly launch KennedyCampaign blog (first post here) as well as to the 'Do not Disturb' campaign.
I have compared Internet campaigns already, and have to agree that the Lib Dems have things far more organised, but the Tories have thought things through a little more clearly by supplying some simple graphics. Some people would think twice about including a flash animation where they would include a simple button. When I did my survey, Labour had done nothing.
I do disagree with his opinion of the telephone preference campaign though.
He says 'The Lib Dems are doing democracy a deep disservice by encouraging people to look on political phone calls as being the same as cold-calling for marketing purposes. One consistent complaint from people is that they only hear from political parties at election times. Using phone calls is one way that parties can actually listen and talk to people all year round. It's also far less intrusive than having someone knock on your door.'... he goes on to say 'but I really don't think they've thought through the consequences and if they have it's a quite despicable attack on democracy.'
Whilst I can accept this viewpoint, I can't accept the conclusion. If I have a sign on my door which says 'No doorstep salesmen or politicians, please'. Then a doorstep salesman or politician who knocks will not have a pleasant time. The Telephone Preference Service does the same job for the phone.
I grant that it could be a little more finely grained (some people might want political calls, but not sales calls). In the meantime, if I have a sign on my phone that says 'no cold calls' in the form of the Telephone Preference Service then any politician who ignores this will not be very popular.
Yes, the lib dem campaign may be opportunistic, but I don't feel that it is the end of democracy (the voting system in the UK may well be, though!)
On the other hand, this campaign may be a bad move by the Lib Dems as cold calling (especially when it's a mechanical cold call) is likely to annoy people away from the other parties!... or perhaps, it is a clever way to make sure everyone knows about the cold calling!
Tehe best way to improve turnout is to have a voting system where people feel that their vote matters. Where I currently live, I know I will get a Tory MP, the margin is so huge. Where I used to live I could guarantee Labour. With that system, many people rationally ask: why bother? The result in the country is decided in the marginals.
In 1997, Labour were committed to reform of the voting system. What changed? A cynic could come up with one very obvious answer.