Friday, 26 September 2008 relaunches and includes a range of social media features, the official website for David Cameron's Conservative party has been relaunched ahead of the forthcoming Conservative party conference and could be a sign that the internet is finally arriving as a significant force in UK politics. (I will leave it to other blogs to debate the pro's and con's of Conservative policies, this post is interested in what the changes to the new site could mean for online politics in the UK.)

New look homepage

UK politics online has lagged behind the US where the internet is a key constituent of Barack Obama and John McCain's fight for the Presidency. The UK has seen gradual developments in online political activity such as the Number 10 website relaunching with social features, Webcameron and some interesting online campaigning in the London Mayor election in May, but the new look is the biggest initiative yet and raises the online bar for UK politics.

The new website incorporates:

- A new blog section called the 'Blue Blog' which aims to give behind the scenes views of the Conservative party and solicit comments from members. The first post is from David Cameron ahead of the party conference and he promises 'more to come' from himself and the shadow cabinet. His Blue blog post references the first party conference behind the scenes video that he uploaded to Webcameron and acknowledges that it was 'possibly the most boring video clip ever!'

David Cameron writes the first post on the Blue Blog

- A video section called 'the Wall' allows party members and supporters to upload clips talking about why they are Conservatives.

The Wall section of the new website

- A central pooling of Conservative blogs and a blogroll that also includes Techcrunch

- A 'Your campaign' section where members of the public are asked to submit single-issue campaigns with Jeremy Hunt (Shadow Minister for Culture, Media and Sport) offering to champion the best ideas, with the winner also getting to meet the relevant Shadow Minister. new 'Your Campaign' section

In an age where both policies and presentation are important the new site feels fresh and modern. The new site also goes a long way towards facilitating constant dialogue with supporters and the electorate as it recognises that the new digital age tools can allow continual feedback and discussion - representative democracy is now more than a once every 5 years opportunity to voice opinions.

Through initiatives such as 'Show Us A Better Way' government is starting to open up its data pools and the relaunch of the Number 10 website coupled with the new look may inject new momentum into UK political parties online activites.

Interesting times ahead!

Related posts
David Cameron tours Google offices and speaks at Google Zeitgeist
David Cameron 2007 conference speech and his 'David Cameron is a hottie' Facebook Fan base!
YouTube influence in UK politics is growing
6 examples of innovative internet campaigning in the Presidential elections
UK politics on YouTube, Facebook and MySpace

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