The Chameleon conference?

The Conservative Party Conference is to have a new interactive format. It will include push button votes and a Dragon’s Den for policy proposals but where is the substance? It also seems the voters want ot hear some clear ideas from Cameron and the Conservatives. Meanwhile has Cameron been reading Mick’s tips on blogging or not? The “Introduction to webcameron” seems to be following the lead of cringe comedy with the cringe political broadcast.

  • Ulster Tory

    Cringe? Perhaps, but he should at least get a few points for trying – let’s see how it develops.

    Substance? It will come. Cameron’s focus has been on transforming the Conservatives image and this has worked. Next stage is to begin to put meat on the bones.

    Also, for those who doubt the Tories committment to NI and its local (growing) membership – watchout for some interesting comments this week.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d go further than UT actually. Whatever you think of the Tories, this is web leadership. When Cameron has long since found his feet, the others will look like feeble amateurs.

    That clip is getting played on the hour on BBC News 24 – with a small bunch of links to UK Pol Blogs too.

    As for substance, well let’s give the man a chance to show his wears this week.

  • Pete Baker

    According to the Guardian’s report on this, there seems to be quite a backroom staff involved..

    The site has taken ideas on sharing video and images from and, and also social networking sites such as MySpace. Steve Hilton, Mr Cameron’s closest adviser, and Sam Roake, a 26-year-old former Google staffer who is in charge of the party’s web operation, have masterminded the development of the site alongside Head, a digital agency.

    When is a blog not a blog, perhaps?

  • Pete Baker

    Of course, it’s not just your regular political parties jumping on that bandwagon…

    less regular parties are too..

  • Mick Fealty

    Look at that again Pete: “Sam Roake, a 26-year-old former Google staffer”. There is no law against recruiting talent and moving things on. The earth is not flat. 🙂

  • Pete Baker

    Ermm.. Mick?

    Roake’s previous employ was why I used the backroom staff reference.. as well as Head.

  • As much as I do not agree with the Tories, you have to admit they are trying to make themselves appeal to every potential voter.

    I will listen with interest to what kind of substance old “Two spoons” Cameron delivers this week.

    Oh, the nickname Two spoons refers to David Cameron being born with two silver spoons, one for his mouth and the other for his nose, thats if he can get the nose spoon off George Osbourne.

  • kensei

    “Whatever you think of the Tories, this is web leadership. When Cameron has long since found his feet, the others will look like feeble amateurs.”

    I don’t know. While this may be approipriate for an opposition party, I’m not sure it is appropriate for a Prime Minister.

    Moreover, it seems to me like yet another step down the road to personality being the only factor that matter sin modern election.

    “As for substance, well let’s give the man a chance to show his wears this week.”

    Oh please. The Tories, perfectly captured by the BBC:

    “He will use his party’s annual conference, which starts in Bournemouth on Sunday, to stress his commitment to developing serious policy ideas.

    There will be no specific policy announcements at the four-day rally, a Tory spokesman confirmed. ”

  • This is the triumph of style over substance. A bad Karma Chameleon.

  • Surely its a positive step to see a party leader recognising how modern technology can help to engage with the public. There are things that DC needs to be wary of – such as not letting it become a propaganda tool – but full marks for engaging!

  • Well its nice that Cameron is providing bloggers something to link to when they sneer (quite rightly) about his lack of policies or his most recent daft pronouncement.

  • Pete Baker

    “There are things that DC needs to be wary of – such as not letting it become a propaganda tool..”

    Ooops.. too late..

  • If the Guardian’s right about the people behind the site, and that it’s supposedly modeled on social networking sites which benefit from massess of user generated content then how come the interactive – two way communication side of it is so poor?

    All the comments in one big comments page so there’s no connection with a posting by Cameron and the response to it – and appallingly for a such a site – strong moderation – with no (or a secret) moderation policy.

  • Mick Fealty

    To which I can only say: “make your mistakes early, learn from them and move on…” The operational skills and experience remain in-house… The opposition can learn some things from your failures, but… this is a ‘just do it’ era…

    Besides all the bright young things in London are moving to Cameron, partly because he is prepared to take risks with this new technology…

  • Turbopaul

    Mick, what sort of timescale before blogging and the internet become integral to political campaining, or is that already happening?

    Will we see internet/electronic voting in the near future?

  • Pete Baker


    There is a gap of credibility that Cameron.. and many other, supposedly, blogging MPs – eg Milliband – have yet to breach.

    And I’m not convinced that they should, actually.

    They need to pay heed to what’s being said certainly.. but the nature of the beast doesn’t necessarily lend itself to high-profile campaigns by politicians – if the politician fully immerses in it.

    So far the high profile embracers, including now Cameron, seem to have in mind a short-cut to party political broadcasts.

  • “Besides all the bright young things in London are moving to Cameron, partly because he is prepared to take risks with this new technology…”

    Do Cameron (and his advisors) see blogging as a risk and bright young things in London as his target audience?
    Perhaps he does – and thats why his new blog comes accross as it does. Adverse to the “risk” as he sees it of embracing user generted content via an open discussion – afraid to mention a policy?

    Playing to bright young things in London isn’t going to win an election, using the web to enguage directly with the electorate really might help.

    “make your mistakes early”
    Cameron’s not exactly an early adopter here! There no need for him to make his own mistakes when so many people have been there before him and worked out how to do the basics. Even Boris ( who’s been bloging since January 2004 has got the associating comments to posts bit right. Cameron would have to look beyond the current crop of Conservative blogs to find things like open comment moderation and rating systems.

    The problems aren’t primarily technical, they’re deeper if they reveal Cameron’s approach to free and open discussion with the electorate. I also worry about his competence to pick his advisors.

  • I got a YouTube message from englandallstars

    englandallstars claims to have written the site, and says the commenting system isn’t up yet, and that an RSS feed is comming.

    So it looks as if the current commenting system (the “Open Blog”) wasn’t intended to be used in the manner it is being used for at the moment – for comments.

    That begs the question – why the site was launched on the front page of a national newspaper before it was functional?

  • Rory

    Bring back Woody Allen!

    Where’s a bit of “erm” when a message demands it?

    “I arsks yeh, guvnah, ain’t bleedin’ fair, innit?
    ‘ere, I ‘ad that Marshall McLuhan in the back o’ me cab once. Smashing bloke. Not much of a bleedin’ general mind you, Wipers an’ that. Still an’ all, Guv, it’s the bleedin’ meedja, innit? Not the bloody message. Otherwise, I said bloody otherwise, guvnah, them bloody …….

    That’ll be a tenner, guv. Nice country Iraquistan – lovely people – ‘specially the “breavers” – eh?

    Nice day, Guv? Know what I mean?”

  • fmk

    re the conservatives new online adventures.

    you should google up a pk dick short story from 1952 or so, “the mold of yancy.” there’s something strikingly similar between the notion of dave opining on issues big and small from his kitchenette and the pithy little sayings of yancy in dick’s story.