Osbourne: Time to embrace criticism

In his speech last week, George Osbourne notes that government should foster “a culture that welcomes criticism and comment – then reacts to it”. But he’s not just talking about governments, parties need to snap to, if there is any chance it is not to get left stranded. Just take our parties’ websites. With the exception of the UUP our parties’ websites still languish in the same non communicative condition they were last time out, three years ago. If internet years are like dog years, that is a whole generation ago. Maybe it is time to move on?

If you had logged onto Moveon.org last Tuesday, tapped in a ZipCode, you would have been directed to the nearest house where you could go to make phone calls on behalf of Democrat candidates. 6,921,000 such calls were made via the website.

These on-line political networks are springing up in the UK too now – and interestingly they are almost all Conservative ones.

Take Conservativehome.com.

It’s an on-line community of Conservative activists that engages in a constant commentary on what the Conservative Party leadership is up to. Thanks to them our attempts to keep our new A-list of candidates secret lasted about 24 hours – not because it leaked but because individual candidates were identified one by one by friends and friends of friends on the network.

My first reaction was to be annoyed. And then I paused and thought about it, and realised something exciting was happening. There was a vibrant, noisy, irreverent Conservative community out there. Our party was alive not dying.

Although I am sometimes the target of members on Conservativehome.com, it is unambiguously a good thing that it exists.

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  • Truth and Justice

    Lets get real the UUP website is the most boreing web site there is even the Alliance Partys is better!

  • the other one

    ‘Lets get real the UUP website is the most boreing web site there is even the Alliance Partys is better!’

    so what would you like to see on a political website.

  • Truth and Justice

    not the other one of you.

  • Ziznivy

    “Lets get real the UUP website is the most boreing web site there is even the Alliance Partys is better!

    Posted by Truth and Justice on Nov 20, 2006 @ 04:26 PM”

    It can hardly feature a daily covergirl and all the latest celebrity gossip.

  • CS Parnell

    Mick, I know, given your earlier praise of his plans to bankrupt the welfare state by cutting corportaion tax, you think the sun rises in this guys posterior (as only someone who lives in a place where they never had to pay the poll tax could), but could you at least spell his name right?

    That’s twice in two days now.

  • Actually, make that 5 times in 3 days. Is there something about your relationship with Mr Osborne (note, no ‘u’) that you’d like to tell us?

  • James D

    When looking at websites, i find this tool very useful.


    Its called the ‘way back machine’ and has a digital archive of every website ever made. Including our very own letter to slugger o toole. The DUP’s 1996 website is pretty amusing, but i bet we all thought it was great back then!
    How things change.

    Check it out, hours of fun can be had…..

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s a very useful tool James.

    CS, it’s not going to be the last time I quote from the guy. Whatever about economic reality (and I’ll be coming back to your case on the NHS), he has a grasp of new media second to none amongst any politico in these islands.

    I repeat myself, but anyone who is serious about what this new media stuff means to politicians should read and inwardly digest.

  • joeCanuck

    Picky picky CS

    BTW guys should be spelled guy’s

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    what the UUP need to do is to overhaul their negative attitude. As for their website, their slip is showing. They have words of welcome in many different languages, Irish excluded. If that’s moderate unionism today, then they have severe problems….