Later today, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will participate in the YouTube Facebook Digital Debate, adding a new social media dimension the UK election in 2010.
The three main political party leaders have each recorded video responses to questions submitted online by users of the social media sites. With the May 6 election just eight days away, it will be interesting to see if the digital debate has anywhere near the impact as tomorrow's final leaders' debate on the BBC.
According to Richard Allan, Facebook's director of policy, "The dawn of the digital election this year is a transformative moment for democracy in Britain. By allowing voters to cross-examine their leaders, these digital debates will put the voters firmly in charge. This marks a decisive shift away from the constraints of top-down traditional media and will take full advantage of the unique scale and reach of Facebook, thus changing the way that politicians campaign for good."
According to Peter Barron, director of communications for Google, which owns YouTube, "Although the televised debates will be a historic first, we feel that there is an opportunity for a different type of platform that allows voters to be in charge of the questions. By collaborating with Facebook to put together one initiative we hope to enable as many voters as possible from across the UK to take part."
Users submitted 1,286 questions, which are displayed online, where 4,247 people cast 41,978 votes for the queries they wanted put to the party leaders.
Meanwhile, the big news this morning over in the UK is the analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) of how the three main UK parties plan to repair the public finances. Yes, yes, economic policy is still as important as a charismatic personality. As James Carville once said, "It's the economy, stupid."
Although talking about hung parliaments was all the rage on the electoral merry-go-round yesterday, comparisons with Greece seem to be bouncing around today.
If you're looking for a "wicked smart" perspective on the comparison, check out Is the Greek economy different from the UK? by John Redwood.
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