Nick Jones

Election Campaigns

Online participation in this year’s general election is certain to set a new bench mark for the web’s influence on political debate but the British blogosphere will be hard pressed to match the impact achieved in the campaigning for and against President Obama.

Almost lost amid the United Kingdom’s minimal news coverage of the election campaign for the European Parliament and the English county councils were some significant developments within the British media landscape.  Newspaper websites broke new ground in their bid to challenge other news outlets and showed they could compete head on with mainstream television and radio services.

All too often elections to the European Parliament have been reduced to not much more than a snapshot of the popularity of each national government.  When the United Kingdom votes to elect 72 MEPs -- in what The Times says is the election that “never happened” -- British voters seem destined to give a good kicking not just to the Labour government of Gordon Brown but also to the entire political establishment.

Campaign managers for the general elections of 2001 and 2005 were forced to take account of the impact which the 24-hour television news channels began to exercise over the daily political agenda, a process of readjustment which looks like speeding up yet again due to the influence of bloggers and the expanding audio-visual output of newspaper websites.