Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Liverpool Party Central: bringing politics [and politicians] to the masses

Liverpool Daily Post and Liverpool Echo today launched a new website (or rather a network of websites) which is/are designed to bring politics back to the masses.

The aim behind Liverpool Party Central is to encourage engagement with politics and our politicians.

To do this, the party members themselves manage Liverpool Party Central, uploading their content directly to their own party's section of the site (Labour Party Central, Liberal Democrat Party Central, Conservative Party Central, Liberal Party Central and Green Party Central).

In uploading their own content, the politicians are getting out their message without the need of a middle man and communicating directly with the electorate while debating hot topics with opposition party members.

Users can comment directly with party members, ask questions and even make suggestions on issues which they think deserve to be tackled on the site.

The more people feel informed, the more they feel engaged.  Lofty ideals, but ideals shared by Liverpool Echo editor Alastair Machray.

Alastair said: "The voting turnout figures in our region have been shameful at times. This gives us the opportunity to link the politicians with the people in a new and exciting way.

"The local and national elections are pivotal for the future of our region and our country. We need people to understand the issues, vote accordingly, and give our governments a real mandate to improve things.

"Party Central opens up the debate. It's not just about politicians sending messages - it's about voters telling politicians what matters."

While the site is launched ahead of the forthcoming local and general elections, Liverpool Party Central is much more long term.

The main goal of the site is to encourage real people to get involved in real politics. Liverpool Party Central is the first step in trying to achieve that.  I've no doubt the site will evolve as users give feedback and new developments are made.

Anyway, take a look, see what you think and please give me your feedback and suggestions for how you think Liverpool Party Central can be developed further.

You can read the Liverpool Echo's official launch piece here, with comments from the party leaders here, and the Liverpool Daily Post's launch piece here.

Journalism.co.uk preview of Liverpool Party Central and comments from its readers here.


Dilyan said...

This kind of project suggests that politicians have something compelling to say but are ignorant of the best means to bring their message to the public: set up a website, where they can reach their voters directly and you will have remedied the disconnect.

I am not sure, however, that this is the case; nor, indeed, that this is the best means to communicate to the public.

For one, I think voter apathy in Liverpool as well as everywhere else in the (relatively) well-off world is chiefly down to the fact that politicians talk out of the orifice opposite their mouth. I cannot imagine people will be keen to read what a politician has to say, unless his name is Obama.

Secondly, setting up a giant megaphone of a website so that your messages can reach the interested masses, is symptomatic for the type of arrogance that has made parties disliked conversation buddies. If they really want a direct link to their voters, then they should try to enter the community by abiding by the community rules. Rather than set up a community of their own and expect people will join just so they could listen to the incredibly important stuff that is being said there.

Kevin Matthews said...

Good to see cynicism in politics and politicians isn't restricted to this country Dilyan.