Reading West has six candidates, so far, for the coming General Election in May 2015, and since this constituency tends to change hands with the change of power, it should be an interesting one to watch. The climate in the run up to this election is the most interesting in my lifetime, and I’m sure that is not just because I am standing myself. 2010 was the first election which wasn’t just about Red and Blue. And this election is much wider open already, as the latest Lord Ashcroft poll shows:
The two main parties are loosing their following left, right and centre and people power movements and on-line petitions have emerged to have a significant sway over public opinion and policy.
And yet the internet is still are largely untapped resource for many candidates. In Reading West I have only managed to find contact details for 5 out of 6 candidates, a Wikipedia page for 2 and only three of us have twitter accounts.
I just had a very interesting twitter conversation with a Reading West constituent who justifiably called me out on my presumed judgement that some of the candidates “seemed to be doing nothing”, when my only resource was the internet. He was completely right, I had no idea what they are doing IN Reading West, based on the fact that I cannot see it on-line. Now if I those candidates that would worry me. I would love to be ale to devote time to both physical presence in Reading talking to people face to face, working in the community AND using the internet to talk to people, write and conduct research. But, in my opinion, the internet will reach a lot more people.
I am basing this on the fact that Reading West has a larger than average proportion of students/young professionals and middle-aged, tech-savy-professionals as well. Both of these groups can be reached via the internet at a time convenient to them (and to me). The former group, traditionally don’t vote, but make up a significant proportion of the new, on-line people power movements, so anyone who ignores them now, is taking a big risk. I’m banking on them voting in 2015.
So although I already had this website, a public Facebook account, dedicated gmail and twitter set up for my campaign, I have now added to my social media reach with a tumblr, Instagram and you tube, and more to come. I can be found under the name “SuzieFerguson4MP” or “SuzieFerguson4ReadingWest” and I’ll keep working at getting in touch with as many different groups of constituents as I can so that I can find out what it is that THEY want from an MP and the next parliament and to make sure, at least, that their voice is heard.