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Tories on your iPod

Rory Cellan-Jones | 15:43 UK time, Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Phew - my prediction was accurate. The Conservatives chose not to imitate Labour in getting a young blogger to kick off their manifesto launch.

William HagueInstead the job was given to a rather older tweeter, @williamjhague, once the 16-year-old sensation of a Conservative party conference, but now the shadow foreign secretary.

That is not to say the Tories were any less eager than Labour to paint themselves as a digitally-aware party, keen to share their message using all the latest new media tools.

So the manifesto was available to read in a very slick document reader embedded on their website, or to download as a weighty 77.5MB PDF file.

Then you could listen to MP3 files dictating each section - or even download them to listen again on your MP3 player.

David Cameron said in his speech that the manifesto's invitation to join the government of Britain would be extended via e-mail, Facebook - and even Twitter, despite his earlier reservations about people who tweet.

boris_getty339.jpgHis own supporters were immediately busy spreading the word, linking to the online manifesto, and generally acting as Twitter cheerleaders.

A site called Tweetlection, which monitors party tweeting, shows nearly 1,900 Tory tweets in the hour between 11:30 and 12:30 when the event at Battersea power station was under way.

By contrast, Labour supporters tweeted around 1,500 times during its manifesto launch on Monday although overall they scored around 10,500 over the whole day.

But the Conservatives' opponents were quick off the mark with their rebuttal. Alastair Campbell - @campbellclaret on Twitter - was soon tweeting this:

"Tories have dropped commitment to 220000 new school places. In draft manifesto January page7. Now gone. See p53. Sink or swim"

And John Prescott's blog was quickly full of pastiches of the manifesto's cover, just as Tory bloggers had rapidly doctored the Labour cover.

But the Tories may have been more discomfited by this tweet from Richard Hughes, the drummer in the vaguely middle-of-the-road band Keane:

"told the tories played keane at their manifesto launch. am horrified. to be clear - we were not asked. i will not vote for them."

Oh dear, there's someone who is unlikely to be downloading the Tory manifesto on to his iPod.


  • Comment number 1.

    The Conservative Manifesto 2010
    Conservatives say the key problems are the economy is overwhelmed by debt, the social fabric is frayed and political system has betrayed the people – but these problems can be overcome if WE THE PEOPLE just pull together and put our shoulders to the block. Most importantly, we must hold onto that thought that we are all in this together.
    Real change, the Conservatives say,comes not from government alone, but when people are inspired and mobilized…
    Well, thus far all of this is sounding rather vague, very generalized and very uninspiring; but the manifesto goes on “Yes this is ambitious. Yes it is optimistic.” Well, I really don't know because I've heard plenty about TOGETHERNESS, but no actual details about anything else.
    Cameron points out that in the end, all new measures, all new policy, are just politicians’ words without people involvement. Okay, but please, Mr. Cameron, can we have a few more words - just a few more around which or into which we can throw our involvement?
    Then the Manifesto lists a series of questions for which we are not given answers, such as: How will we deal with the debt crisis unless we understand that we are all in this together?
    How will we raise responsible children unless every adult plays their part?
    (Maybe this questioning is a sort of test to see if we the people warrant being included in Conservative TOGETHERNESS?)
    Apparently, this is just the opening salvo, the covering statement (if you will) because after this vague introduction we have
    a) a download for Conservative Manifesto 2010 in audio format followed by (Are you ready?)
    b) a listing of 33 links (various topics).
    I don’t know about you, but all this “TOGETHERNESS” ON 33 AUDIOS is just too much for me. And at the end of it all, I am left feeling that the Conservative Government plans to sit with heels atop desks and leave me - TOGHETHER with other common folk - to solve the entire kettle of stinky fish.
    Wow, do I ever feel empowered (NOT)!

  • Comment number 2.

    Given the amount the BBC goes on about Twitter and any influence it may have on the election one could be mistaken for thinking it would be massivly popular. I wouldn't consider less than 2,000 'tweets' (for each party) to be very many at all.

    Who cares about twitter?

  • Comment number 3.

    Another twitter/election related post.

    I don't personally use twitter but I really don't think that it is a indicator of what the majority of people think as the many of those who tweet on the election have already made up their mind on who they are voting for.

    Also the number of people is an extremely small proportion of people if they are wishing to persuade voters, surely a bigger tool is more popular websites such as youtube or facebook where the number of potential hits will be far great, or maybe even dare I say it, old fashioned TV or even radio.

  • Comment number 4.

    David Cameron wants to improve the UK?? I think.
    Empowerment is all well and good, but is it not more of the nanny state? The choice of schools was not a headline grabbing issue before the election. Now we have a group of Londoners saying they want their children to go to school with their friends. Great, set up a school, and then tell me how it will be regulated/financed,controlled/fair entry policy etc... There are rules and regulations in this country which make me feel safer.
    If there is a CRB check on a teacher - good;
    If I am asked more detail regarding I.D - good;
    If a police officer fills out a form when attending an incident - good;
    If I wait for 2 minutes at a bank to have my i.d. checked - good.

    Our society has been shaped by events and actualities, not whimsical beaurocrats who must impose rules on us as citizens.

    I have incredible freedom in the UK and feel that I am part of a diverse, multi-cultural,progressive society, not a resident of 'Broken Britain'.

    I have heard the same rhetoric from business leaders as from Mr. Cameron.
    On botton-line issues, it is matter of fact and terse - money talks;
    On emotive issues (i.e. 'We the people') there is no meat on the bones, just a big idea,normally their idea, now go and do it,serfs.

    I for one will not be joining the army of volunteers that are being used by the conservatives to run this country.
    Government 'Elected representatives who will govern to a detailed mandate'??

  • Comment number 5.

    You can't just count the number of Tweets as a measurement--quality not quantity!

  • Comment number 6.

    Malcolm Tucker's responses to the manifesto were the best.

  • Comment number 7.

    Tories on your iPod? Would that be known as iWash?

  • Comment number 8.


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