Wordcloud of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition agreement created by Chris Quinn at www.wordle.net
Logic dictates that this blog should shuffle off or transform itself into something that covers the wider issues of politics and social media, but we live in interesting times. I think that the chances are extremely high that 2010 will see a second UK general election.
If the LibDems do a deal with the Conservatives the backlash that they will face for ‘dancing with the devil’ with no promise on voter reform will inevitably destabilise the coalition, that’s if it gets off the ground. A Conservative minority government wouldn’t last long and a Labour/LibDem/SNP/Plaid Cymru/DUP/Green coalition would be inherently weak.
It’s hardly a cast iron solution but another plebiscite is looking increasingly likely.
Today the leadership, MPs and Federal Executive of the Liberal Democrat party are meeting to decide in which direction the party will leap, if indeed they opt for either. Today’s discussions will decide who will be Prime Minister and which party or parties will form the government. These are closed meeting but the social web is play a really significant part in the debate.
Yesterday Mark Pack, joint editor of Liberal Democrat Voice used the blog platform to open out the debate “On Saturday afternoon the party’s Federal Executive is meeting to discuss how the party should handle the Parliamentary situation… in order to ensure that people have a chance to send in a view that will be read before the meeting, we’ve agreed with the Party President Ros Scott a special email address which can be used to email in your views.”
There has been ardent discussion on twitter with the hashtag #DontDoItNick trending and a Facebook group has been created which the administrators claim is being monitored by the party hierarchy. Currently it has 14,000 members and is growing at a rate of over 1000 an hour. A Flashmob organised mainly via social networks has appeared outside of the Liberal Democrat HQ. At the same time Sara Scarlett – Director of Development at Liberal Vision has been gauging support for a Con/Lib agreement. This could in the end turn out to be the social media election that many predicted.
The combined Conservative and Labour share of the vote fell to less that two-thirds of the total ballots cast for the first time since 1918, the election that followed the great war. That’s important because the two main parties have dominated politics for generations but their stranglehold is slipping and has been gradually eroded in successive elections since the middle of the last century. In this election is was around 65.3%. What that means is that even under the first past the post system hung parliaments are increasingly likely.
In order to form a majority administration Labour or Tory parties in the future will have to include the LibDems. Wouldn’t it make sense to get in first and build the foundations of future coalitions.
By now you will have seen the extraordinary front page of The Sun. This image appeared as a twitpic reply within an hour or so. We’ve posted it a little after midnight and it is currently getting more than 1000 views a minute. It is not beyond the bounds of imagination that it could get more views than the Sun’s front page by close of voting. Click the image to register your view.
This general election has been the first in which Hastags have played a part, they are used in social networks and most commonly in twitter, as user-generated meta data. Put simply they are a way of identifying and therefore following tweets that cover the election or an aspect of it . Here is a quick guide to some of the most popular ones
#GE2010 – This is the default tag for posts that relate to the 2010 general election. There are others but this has emerged as the most popular because it is economical in its use of characters.
#GE10 – A shorter form, but less used than the above. Useful if you have run out of characters but likely to be seen by fewer people.
#Vote – Has been used both as a short generic hashtag for the election but was also popular in encouraging voters to register before the deadline.
#UKElection – More instantly recognisable than #GE2010 but not quite as popular because it eats up more characters.
#LeadersDebate – One of the most interesting because it was part of a phenomenon that TV programme makers call “two-screen”, using a laptop or smart phone to comment on live television. It mean that social networks rather than conventional media were the first to pass judgement on the performance of the part leaders during the TV debates.
#iagreewithnick – Echoing Gordon Brown’s famous utterance during the first TV debate and used primarily to show support for the LibDem leader during the bounce his party received after the first debate.
#NickCleggsFault – Widely employed to mock the print media’s ‘assassination’ attempts on Clegg. It was a meme that lasted a few days as Clegg was accused of all manner of spoofed wrongdoings.
#paxo – Similar to the #LeadersDebate but employed for the Paxman leader interviews.
#LibDemFlashMob – The hashtag used to organise the Liberal Democrat gatherings in Trafalgar Square and other UK cities on Bank Holiday Monday.
#InVinceCable – Used by a group of digital marketeers and PR people, and their fellow travellers, to promote Vince Cable as Chancellor in the event of a hung or balanced parliament. (FD Election10 endorses the objectives of the #InVinceCable campaign).
#Labourdoorstep – Used by Labour candidates and activists to emphasise the fact that they were taking the campaign directly to the voters.
I’m going to venture another one that might become popular in the next few days. #Hung10 anyone?