Well, I quite enjoyed watching the three leaders debates on TV, mainly because I was reading Twitter at the same time and there were lots of amusing comments on it (quite a few about their choice of ties etc). There was alot of hype before the election around the idea that this would be the first internet election, and what would be the role that the various social networking tools would play in the process. Now, from what I’ve seen the different political parties have been using these, but it a very controlled way, so that everything that goes out is censored beforehand to ensure that what is said is what they want to be said. Which somewhat contradicts the idea of social networking and getting to know the people as an individual.
Besides that the key point for me has been how social networking has been used by people to share comments and ideas, both during the debates and more generally. The whole ‘nickcleggsfault’ meme on twitter has been hilarious, and also shows the inadequacies of computer analysis of meaning – most of these comments have been tongue in cheek and ironic. If anything they are showing support for Nick Clegg rather than blaming everything on him, yet computer analyses of twitter show that most comments about him are negative. Doesn’t this show the wonders of language and how complex it can be!
The whole debates have been interesting, both for what was said and what wasn’t – immigration was discussed at all three debates, yet none of them mentioned the DE Bill. And yet, how many people do I know that are worried about immigration compared to the number worried about the DE Bill? I thought about submitting a question for the debates on the bill, but I couldn’t phrase a sensible question. I wonder if anyone did submit a question? I would hope they did, given the discussion that were happenning around the time it was passed, but focus seems to have shifted now to ensuring we get a hung parliament!
I still worry that the move towards having debates has meant that we are prioritising style over substance. How well does “winning” a debate prepare you for leading the country? And could it be argued that it is indirectly discriminating against people with disabilities? One thing it has done though, is get more people talking about politics and the election, so it will be interesting to see how that corresponds into number of voters.
It is also a very interesting situation, as through the debates the lib dems have got alot more notice and traction, so it is really unclear what will happen. There seems to be a general feeling that people are fed up with Labour, and want a change, but that they aren’t convinced by the Tories. What will this mean on Thursday? It could really show up the inherent bias within our political system and be a real driver for electoral reform, in some respects whatever the overall outcome is. It will be an interesting night, and maybe (for once) worth staying up to watch the results come in.