Margaret Beckett, the British Foreign Secretary, appears in a new video on the UK Labour Party’s YouTube channel, Labour:Vision.
She is at least talking to us directly, asking for questions/comments, and promising to reply in a future video, which is an improvement – in style at least – on Tony Blair’s attempts. Whilst the channel hasn’t been a YouTube hit (only 1122 subscribers to date), and it is difficult not to feel cynical about the sincerity of the claim to want a conversation with the public, the branding as a place to discuss Labour’s “vision” is a wise move by the party web strategists. The channel description reminds us of Labour’s role in recent British history, and attempts to move our minds off current controversies, and on to themes of social justice.
I hope Gordon Brown’s conspicuous absence from the purpose-made-for-YouTube videos is not a hint at the future Prime Minister’s attitude to web video. (See this attempt at interaction at a moderated hustings event.) Brown could have exploited his honeymoon period online with a cosy, spoken-to-camera, message to the web, telling us his “Labour Vision” for the future. It would be an opportunity to show himself as distinct from Blair. The new, web-savvy, PM would be embedded in blogs making obvious favourable comparisons with the outgoing premier. If nothing else he really needs to make something to change the top YouTube search result for “Gordon Brown”.