A strategically hashtagged tweet brings an interesting new site to the attention of The Voice. It is being built by people with some connection to MySociety, who are responsible for the excellent non-partisan sites intended to improve how politics works, such as WriteToThem, PublicWhip and FixMyStreet.
The new site is intended as a repository of the leaflets that are routinely delivered by local political activists day in, day out up and down the country. Whilst similar sites have tried to do this before – particularly for the bigger by-elections – no-one has really got a site together that works quite as well as new one before us today. Built from a modern web perspective, it allows the grand publique to upload whatever is pushed through their letterboxes, and to tag it and comment on it.
Its first snag is that it’s only just arrived, and so far sums up the state of British political campaigning – in this election period – in just five leaflets, which are the only ones to have been submitted so far. But their site is open to all and they are keen to see many more leaflets uploaded. The more there are, the more interesting the site will become.
Liberal Democrats are often accused of inconsistency from one area to another, so it will be interesting to see how national patterns emerge from all parties. One of the first leaflets to be uploaded featured a Labour opposition criticising a Lib Dem council for losing money in Iceland. I’m almost tempted to see how those Labour words go down on my own authority, where a Labour controlled authority lost the second highest amount in the country to the crisis. Do Nottingham Labour believe, like Cambridge Labour, that the money is unrecoverable? Or that losing it is a sign of mis-management?
Finally from a Lib Dem perspective, there’s the name of the new site: The Straight Choice. Ouch. A blog post attributes the name directly to the Bermondsey by-election controversy, and links to the Wikipedia page about the battle. Happily the Wikipedia page (at time of writing) is rather more LibDem friendly than the way the episode is described on their own blogpost.
For all that, the site will be useful once people start using it, so I urge our readers here to send in whatever leaflets they have knocking about.
See also: Matt Wardman’s review