The 1066 election
It's a desperate battle between three candidates determined to convince the British people they are best suited to lead them into a brighter future. It's so close that you'd be a fool to predict the outcome, but I've a sneaking suspicion that it will end badly for at least one of them - all fun and games, as they say, until someone loses an eye. I'm talking of course about the 1066 election.
It's a campaign initiated by Chris Leach, an ICT teacher in Northamptonshire. After discovering that year 7 pupils at his school were studying the Norman invasion he came up with a way of introducing both ICT and politics into history lessons. His idea was an election campaign between the three claimants to the throne after the death of Edward the Confessor.
First, he gave one candidate to each of three year 7 groups. Then he created Twitter accounts for each of the three contenders, Harold Godwinson (@whs_hgodwinson), Harald Hardrada (@whs_hhadrada) and William the Conqueror (@whs_wnormandy). Spooling back to history lessons more than 30 years ago, I seem to remember that Harold Godwinson got the throne, but then suffered a devastating by-election defeat at Hastings. Maybe he should have done a coalition deal with Harald from Norway.
Anyway, Chris Leach set up an internet poll and got his own Twitter followers to start voting for the three candidates so that the children would get a competitive edge about the project. The school groups then set about creating election posters to promote their individual candidates - as you can see from this one, Harold's supporters are fighting quite a nationalistic campaign.
There's even a plan for election broadcasts and a leaders' debate, and another web tool, Wallwisher, is being used to collect questions that can be put to William, Harold and Harald.
All just a bit of fun then, but Chris Leach tells me it also reflects an interest in the general election campaign amongst the pupils. He says they have been watching the prime ministerial debates and learning about the election in PSHE classes.
I will be watching closely to see how the 1066 election turns out - it promises to be almost as hard-fought as the real thing. And of course, it's even more digital: in 1066 you can vote online, one thing you can't do in 2010, for good or for ill.