There’s just over a month until the most likely looking date for this year’s General Election. I’m already getting canvassers knocking on my door and phoning me up even though the starting pistol hasn’t been fired yet.
It’s going to be an interesting election. Not least because so many people seem to be floating voters this time. It’s true that there’s a widespread dissatisfaction with the current government, but I’m hoping that people can cast their minds back to early 1997 and remember just how bad things were under the Tories. Perhaps this will be the election when the Lib Dems really break through. Or perhaps a number of smaller parties and independent candidates will be successful.
It’s certainly likely to be a internet-aware election than we’ve had before. Far more MPs than ever before are blogging or twittering or otherwise using the internet to get their message out. Some of them are even using it to listen to the voters. To be honest I’m not sure to what extent (if at all) the internet is raising the level of the debate.
But the internet is making it easier for the voters to get information about the candidates. I wanted to bring your attention to three sites that you’ll probably find useful over the next five or six weeks.
- Your Next MP is a community-driven site that hopes to have details of all of the candidates standing in all of the constituencies in the UK. Please check the details that they have for your constituency; correct anything that is wrong and add anything that is missing.
- Skeptical Voter is another community-driven site, but this time with a more specific agenda. The people behind this site want to know what the candidates think about the issues that are important to people in the growing skeptical/rational movement. They plan to contact all of the candidates and find out their views on things like the teaching of creationism in schools and the role of scientific advisors in setting government policy. Once again, they’d appreciate your help in gathering as much data as possible.
- Democracy Club is another site that is looking for volunteers. They are trying to gather a small group of volunteers for every constituency. Those volunteers will then be given various tasks do do. For example, they’re currently trying to track down the contact details for as many candidates as possible. The Democracy Club people are trying to gather as much data as possible about the various candidates which they then want to share with anyone who can make use of it. Your Next MP, for example, is making heavy use of candidate data generated by the Democracy Cub.
So there you are. Three sites that are aiming to make you better informed about the coming election. And three sites that are trying to raise the level of debate by getting local people involved in local politics. I think that this can only be a good thing. I strongly recommend that you consider getting involved.