Headlines: June 1st, 2001

The Tories may have trailed in recent opinion polls – but one race they have won is that for their online presence.A panel of leading UK web experts were asked by on-line campaigners, VoxPolitics, to grade each of the main parties’ internet efforts.

According to VoxPolitics, a campaign sponsored by the Stationery Office with four leading think-tanks as partners to explain how new technology changes politics, the feedback makes depressing reading for all three parties.

Although the Tories topped the contest, the judges describe the Conservative website’s ‘countdown to save the pound’ ticker as ‘outdated’. They judged that the ‘freebie’ wallpaper and screensavers appeared to have been ‘by a three-year-old’.

Labour’s Internet effort came bottom. Among numerous criticisms of Labour’s on-line approach the judges described the party’s email news service as ‘erratic’, poorly designed and inaccessible to some software. They described the use of different shades of red on different pages as ‘unprofessional’.

The Chair of the judging panel, Dan Jellinek of VoxPolitics, described the party political performance online: ‘Frankly many of the mistakes are really basic. Politicians seem only to link the web with criminal activity like child sex abuse. There is little awareness of wider issues of Internet governance, the potential of the Net for many people’s sense of community, and its growing commercial power.’

Link: www.voxpolitics.com/