The Great Debate UK

Old traditions die hard in UK election campaigning

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number10A study of constituency-level campaign techniques undertaken by Brunel University ahead of a general election expected in early May shows that direct mail is by far the most common method of contact used by politicians to reach potential voters.

Of the 27 percent of the electorate contacted by one of the three main political parties in February, about 90 percent received some form of communication through the post via direct mail, the study shows. Some 92 percent said they had been reached through mailings from the Liberal Democrats, 89 percent from the Conservative Party and 81 percent from the Labour Party.

Although a lot of people have spoken about this being the first new media election in the UK, and there is some evidence of email and Facebook being used, traditional campaign methods are still dominant, says Justin Fisher, director of the Magna Carta Society at Brunel University in West London.

“What we can say about social media is that it may enhance or complement more traditional forms of campaigning, but the idea that it’s going to replace traditional campaigning at least at this stage is very wide of the mark,” Fisher said.

Electoral future shrouded in mystery

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

Barring a huge surprise, it seems most likely that the general election will be held on 6th May 2010 — the same day as the local elections.

Jack Straw cites trust as top issue for UK democracy

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In a wide-ranging lecture in London on Monday hosted by Brunel University‘s Magna Carta Institute, Justice Secretary Jack Straw outlined his thoughts on the state of democracy in Britain and beyond.

After the talk, Straw told Reuters that the most pressing issue in UK democracy is the need for politicians to restore public trust following an expenses scandal that forced the main political parties to work together to resolve the crisis.

Is the general election all over bar the shouting?

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justin_fisher-Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own.-

With the election now just under seven months away, the starting guns for the campaign were fired at the party conferences. This general election looks like the most eagerly awaited since 1997, and could lead for some significant changes for each of the three largest parties.

Why election results matter to parties’ grassroots

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justin_fisherJustin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The elections this Thursday are widely expected to be bad for Labour. And depending upon which poll you believe, they may not be brilliant for the Conservatives. But a familiar call will emerge nevertheless – that a loss of seats, particularly at local council level, will lead to a further decline in that party’s grassroots. This reality is, however, a bit more complex.

Does the expenses row sound the death knell for New Labour?

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justin_fisher- Justin Fisher is Professor of Political Science and Director of the Magna Carta Institute at Brunel University. The opinions expressed are his own. -

The expenses crisis is well and truly engulfing Westminster, with equal anticipation and dread about future revelations. Labour was quite reasonably aggrieved that the initial stories all seemed to be about their MPs.

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