James Crabtree at yesterday’s conference was talking about the differences between how the internet is used here and in the USA.
He talked about how YouTube is allowing voters attracted to a candidate to see all of their speeches rather than have them mediated by the traditional media.
A couple of thoughts occur to me:
If that catches on then speech writers will have a tougher time; no longer will a single stump speech do. If you read the book of RFK’s speeches one of the things that comes across is how much of core of what he was saying was repeated whatever the audience was. He banged home his key messages using the same phrases time and again.
In someways this is a return to traditional politics. Watching The Daily Show last night the guest was describing how the debates between Lincoln and Douglas were reported verbatim in the press making Lincoln’s reputation and helping him win the Presidency 2 years later.
Also interesting was Luke Akehurst’s point that unlike politicians of previous generations we are entering an age where we have very little to judge them on. He described how there are a number of senior politicians who began the careers as special advisors, where they didn’t talk on the record, then seemlessly became Ministers (or shadows), where they are bound by collective responsibility and so few of us get to understand their politics or test it in argument.
I don’t think he was saying their politics isn’t genuine, rather there’s not a public record of their thoughts to draw on when trying assess what they think and how they’ll react.