Posts tagged ‘presidential elections’
Our colleagues to the north Fleishman-Hillard Edinburgh hosted a lecture last week about the US Presidential elections and Obama vs. McCain. You can read about the event on FH’s Public Affairs Cloakroom blog and even see a short video of the remarks from Fleishman Hillard’s Bill Black; former UK Ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer, currently a member of FH’s International Advisory Board; and the Right Honourable George Reid, former MP, MSP and Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament.
One question caught my attention. A long-term Edinburgh resident and US citizen asked the panel what sources a person could read to inform themselves about the candidates without relying on the daily churn of media reports. Bill immediately recommended blogs, noting that many bloggers eschew the claimed objectivity of newspapers, but offer much more depth and often a historical knowledge. His list of blogs to read is:
- Talking Points Memo (liberal)
- Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish (Bill’s favourite, he says)
- Red State (conservative viewpoint)
You can listen to Bill here as well.
Many of us would argue that Europeans should pay more attention to the European Parliamentary elections. However, there is no denying that the outcome of the US Presidential elections in 2008 may have as much of an impact on our lives here in the Old Continent as it will in the New.
Henning Meyer, creator of the 1,000 strong army of activists on the PES 2009 Election Campaign group on Facebook, is endeavouring to give Europeans a voice in the selection of the Democratic nominee through an internet poll on the Social Europe blog.
Ok, so our American friends may not heed the advice. After all most of us could tell the incumbent is dud after about a nano-second. But it’s a decent exercise all the same. You can vote here.
It is of course with interest that we follow developments in the current US Presidential election primaries. We love gun toting YouTube questioners and rejoice at the plethora of blogs, websites and social media that our US friends use to build their databases, motivate supporters and of course harvest small individual donations for campaign coffers. The question we keep asking ourselves is will our MEPs follow suit and adopt some of these tactics in 2009? Signs are looking good, even at this early stage.
It is a matter of some rejoicing (and pride) that one of our FH colleagues and potential UK ALDE (Lib Dem) candidate, Rebecca Taylor, has taken up the digital political challenge and this week launched her own website in her bid for selection on the party’s list for 2009 in the UK’s Yorkshire region. A sentiment shared, amongst others, by Socialist MEP blogger Mary Honeyball who recently praised the internet as a potential campaign tool and calls on the age of the internet election to “roll on”. Some of us who in past lives have leafleted in god-forsaken parts of middle England on rainy summer days would tend to agree.
Interestingly, the use of social media sites such as Facebook is gathering pace here too. The PES are preparing well in advance and have set up an open Facebook group to disseminate campaign material to supporters and exchange best practice. However, unlike Hillary, Obama et al we are yet to find an MEP with an open Facebook profile set up to gather supporters and motivate them to action online. Perhaps it is just a matter of time.
We’d agree with those who argue that the likes of Facebook and MySpace are only one tool in internet election campaigns, where a focus on fund raising and building a great supporters database still plays a key role. However, where European elections are not exactly top of the media agenda and even the most election-hardened local constituency party can be difficult to motivate, we have to believe that such tools could be a cheap and effective method for gathering supporters together, keeping them up to speed on the campaign diary and motivating them to act online and offline.
EU: Universal healthcare rules
In the EU, we take it for granted that pretty much everyone gets access to healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. Our healthcare systems are designed to provide universal coverage regardless of ability to pay and you’ll be hard pushed to find people who question that principle, even if many of us might criticise the systems themselves.
This means that on-line debate and blogging about healthcare in the EU examines specific issues such as healthcare recruitment and health technology assessment and looks at broader topics such as healthcare reform including how to make health systems more responsive to the needs of individuals (more “consumer driven”), it’s difficult to find anyone seriously suggesting dismantling universal healthcare in Europe.