The analogue election of 2010

Reflecting on what may happen on May 6 when the country goes to the polls, I got thinking about communication.

It’s clear to me that all the political parties in my constituency, Wokingham, who are contesting the election on May 6 – both the parliamentary election as well as for local council seats – are decidedly analogue when it comes to communicating with voters.

election2010leaflets

This image is a representation of the mountain of printed material that’s come through my letterbox during the past few weeks. Over 30 separate items of print so far, some of it personalized to me with my name and address on it.

In nearly all cases, the brochures and flyers include website and email addresses, some even with Facebook pages and Twitter handles.

I’ve lost count of how many political campaign sites I’ve signed up on. Many have my name and email address.

Yet the only way I’ve heard from anyone locally is via hand-delivered printed stuff through the letterbox. It’s like so much junk mail, coming as it does along with the flyers for local restaurants, window cleaning, dog grooming and low-cost limo services to Heathrow airport. And if I actually read any of this stuff, it’s hard to separate out the national issues from the local ones, hard to get a sense of where the candidates really stand on issues as the flyers are full of political rhetoric and don’t trust-the-other-guy messaging.

Another thing: I’ve yet to see any candidates knocking on doors in my neighbourhood. Hey folks, you’ve got less than a week!

There is one example, though, of messaging and a platform that was a bullseye for me – an email I received yesterday signed by David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party and one of the three contenders with a genuine chance of winning the top job of running the UK for the next five years.

The subject line in the email caught my attention: “A contract between the Conservative Party and Neville Hobson.”

And there is what I need: an easy-to-read and understand outline on what Cameron and his party say they will do if they get elected on May 6. It’s embedded below (or see it at Scribd); you can read it for yourself.

Now, all of this may be readily available elsewhere, on the web for example. All the other political parties may have equally well set-out policies somewhere online, there for the reading.

Yet Cameron and his Conservatives are the only ones who have reached out directly to me, in a way that makes sense for me.

That makes a big difference.

[Update May 3] I received another email this afternoon, this time signed by George Osborne, the man who would likely be Chancellor of the Exchequer if the Conservatives win the election.

emailosborne

What a difference to Cameron’s ‘contract’ email. Impersonal not personal. Generic content and bashing the other parties. Not impressed at all.

This email was trapped by the Outlook junk mail filter whereas Cameron’s last week was not. That sums it up, really.

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About Neville Hobson

Entrepreneurial business communicator with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Co-host of the weekly business podcast For Immediate Release: The Hobson and Holtz Report. Also an occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Follow me on Twitter and Google+.