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"But we must be in no doubt that the Conservative Party is streets ahead of the opposition when it comes to online campaigning."

Sorry Eric, but you've got yourself into a Pickle.....I'll correct it for you.

"But we must be in no doubt that the Conservative Party is miles behind the BNP when it comes to online campaigning."

Pickles shows a good understanding of t'internet here. The web has a particular culture and dynamic that is complementary to other forms of campaigning. I actually really cringe when I see the the words "internet campaign".

Personally I think the main thing that got Obama elected was the "Wow, we could have a black president" effect.

With regards to the BNP their online operation is indeed sophisticated but then they are largely excluded from the mainstream media which gives them a stronger motive. They also know that whatever they do they will be villified so they can say what they like. They also don't have to worry about small things like actually one day being in power.

The British National Party (BNP) is thrashing the mainstream parties - but only online. This says as much about the internet as it does about politics, and I don’t think the mainstream should overdo its response.

The internet is a tool of limited potential for mainstream parties. More...


Yes, but everyone was ecstatic about Ron Paul's online campaign, until they realised that there are barely any right-wing libertarians in the real world & he accordingly had no chance.

Same goes for the BNP's racist socialism.

Re: the Tory party, I wouldn't be so confident about your netroots as many leading bloggers of the right are against you, just as Dekka Draper has not won over left bloggers for the most part.

What I will say is that this is a superb website, though I'm not sure what impact it has. You've not convinced me :)

Maybe it is, but that is largely due to independent bloggers. CCHQ's Merlin is a piece of c*** which is far behind our rivals and will lose us seats that should have been won.

Merlin remains a major concern. It is far from complete.

We need to develop the ability for more voluntary work online.

There is no room for complacency.

I think at some stage along the line, we have to put trust and faith in our team to actually do the job. I gathered a while back that we can't have every one of our personal boxes checked in a democracy, and to place trust in people more generally because of what they stood for and how they conducted themselves. If they have honesty, integrity, resolute determination, work ethic, commitment and common sense and are in touch with 'people', then they're for me. I'd describe Eric Pickles as such a person to who I'd give my full support which entails relying on his judgment.

I think he's right about internet campaigns and about seeing people face to face. Keep it that way, because politics can distance itself even further unless knocking doors is maintained and seen of more advantage than 'just' the internet on its own.

Someone mentioned the BNP's use of online campaigning. I found it interesting to note some weeks ago after placing a post on my blog about the BNP gaining ground 'up north', that the hit ratio quite suddenly went through the roof. I took this to indicate than a higher interest exists for BNP policies than some may wish to appreciate, and I'd suggest we ignore it at our peril. Quite clearly, folk are interested for various reasons but whether that transforms to a vote is another thing. I just think it bears some consideration when developing policy.

Keep up the good work Mr Pickles.

What do people want the Conservative Party to follow the BNP and become more racist. I know lots on this site would like that to happen but it wouldn`t do much for the party`s chances of returning to power.


This story about the lack of outside support "on the knocker" worries me more than how many bloggers "the Right" has talking to one another online.

Liam Maxwell's article on Mr Obama's campaign's use of the internet might be of interest: How the internet took Obama back to the 1950s.

The Internet works best with two-way open exchange; the measure of how well a political party deals with this on the Internet is directly proportional to its success in minimising the controls it seeks to apply.

I'd agree that the BNP is thrashing all the other parties when it comes to an online presence. This is quite important as people turn to the internet for genuine news and comment. Not the censored, biased stuff we see from the mainstream. I meet more and more people who don't trust the BBC etc and go online instead. The BNP stuff is extremely slick and professional, plus it has an undertone of forthrightness and honesty lacking in the other three parties. You get the feeling that they know what they're about, have clear goals and the desire to implement them. I'll probably vote for them until we start seeing a bit of backbone in Conservative policy (don't hold your breath). Apologising for his part in the recession by Cameron. You won't see such trite rubbish on the BNP site.

I agree fully with Eric's comments. The internet is an excellent supplemental tool to campaigning and developing ideas and policy.

The Conservatives both officially and unofficially have made excellent use of the functions available on the Web and that's not to say they cannot make further innovations on it. However, it is not a panacea to the issues relating to disillusionment in politics nor is it a reliable medium.

The internet is anarchic and unregulated as as such virtually anything is possible at a price. It is possible to buy your way to the top of search results and manipulate usage figures to ensure your sites come first. Claims can be made based on statistics which are fabricated.

A small dedicated group of people can set up hundreds of websites to further their cause and of course it is all anonymous to the end user.

Whilst the Internet can be a powerful tool in the right hands it can also be a very deceptive propaganda weapon in the wrong hands. I would not believe any claims made that solely relate to Internet presence.

Furthermore, it can never replace face-to-face interaction. It just cannot be trusted sufficiently.

As for those talking about the BNP it is interesting to read of the juxtaposition of their apparent Internet presence and their limited presence in the reputable political polls. They did get a slight bounce in the polls over BJ4BW but that has dissipated.

Whilst we should not underestimate the BNP, equally we should not make them out to be a force they are not. They are still only a very small part of our political scene.

"I'll probably vote for them"

Why don't you go and find another country more suited to your racist brand of politics? As opposed to living in one that sacrificed itself to prevent its spread? We don't want your kind here.

"Why don't you go and find another country more suited to your racist brand of politics? As opposed to living in one that sacrificed itself to prevent its spread? We don't want your kind here."

Good to see that tolerance of another viewpoint is alive and well. I suppose you think the BNP is intolerant and bigoted. Read your own comment if you want to see a bit of that.

Nothing can, nor I think should, ever replace direct face-to-face contact with voters. But yes, the internet is a worthy additional campaigning tool.

And remember, not everyone in the country - of whatever age - is like us and the readers of this blog. They don't all use the internet and emails in the way that we do.

Dave B's simple post cuts to the essence of how the internet should be used.

The real story of the Obama campaign was how the internet was used to AUGMENT TRADITIONAL CAMPAIGNING. Facebook groups, e-mail lists and local websites helped Obama to organise the door-knockers, phone canvassers, precinct captains and leafletters Pickles correctly identifies as the key to winning.

The Tories are alreaddy organising these things at a grassroots level, but this isn't being matched by the CCHQ machine. They need to address the following issues:

- Why do some associations still (in 2009!) not have a website?

- Why do associations not make proper use of voter-profiling databases we have?

- Why does conservatives.com still not have a PayPal donation button on the front page, despite repeated nagging from ConHome?

- When we produce web videos and PEBs for TV, why don't we include a number for people to text their postcode to (in order to register support and donate)?

- Why are there still candidates and MPs who don't have a website?

This is not a thread about the BNP. Please focus on the subject of the internet.

Obama won because he communicated with the American public in a way no politician has done since Reagan. He spoke directly to the American public increasingly frustrated and disillusioned by the political process. Obama gave them hope, a vision of the future and importantly offered Leadership they “could believe in”.
Which unfortunately for the mainstream parties is just what the BNP are doing.
If you wonder, why I give you a quote from William Hague ie the strikers recently..

"Strikes are never the way forward". He said no mainstream party would promise British jobs for British workers, as there was free movement of labour in the EU which the Tories 'strongly supported'.

As you probably know the latest polls suggest that around 60/70% of people in this country want to leave the EU.

'Please focus on the subject of the internet.'

Indeed. The BNP sets up a Google alert and buzz like maggot-laden bluebottles around any hint of publicity. The greatest threat to them is the variety of English and indeed any home nation civic nationalism that doesn't do the racist bit.

Back t'web and t'Pickles. I note the single issue spasms of campaigning but the true single issues of note are left untouched for fear of association with the far right.

Englandism single issue campaigns within the Conservative movement and yet always without.

If Eric can pursue the positive of English civic nationalism as a direct challenge to the BNP then we would be onto a winner.


Ta, muchly.

Would someone please tell me about "Merlin"?

Here in Thorpe, Surrey, the talk is of little else.

Edward, don't be so silly!

Freddy - MERLIN is the Party's database and contains all the information needed for campaigning. It supersedes the previous "Blue Chip" which had many bugs and glitches and had far fewer capabilities. Information can be entered by account holders from any location (not just the local Conservative HQ) and up-to-date information utilised to print off sets of canvass cards and anything else needed. I have made use of it myself on Polling Day (my job is usually Data Inputter) when knocking up can be organised on a very tactical basis.
There have been a few teething troubles but by and large MERLIN seems an excellent system which will serve us well for the foreseeable future.

Sally are you really able to enter the data outside the local office not on election day?

Is this access through the internet?

I've never heard of Merlin. We also had something called voter vault, which was never used.

Unfortunately, too many associations, particularly in the provinces are run by very elderly people with little or no knowledge of technology or the internet. They are suspicious of new people coming in and actively try to obstruct new ideas and new thinking.

I'm pleased that Cleethorpes are open to new ideas, but I could name two neighbouring associations that are run by complete and utter retards. Anyone who has tried to deal with those organisations knows who they are.

HF - it's through an intranet.

You can throw as many gizmos, widgets and plug-ins as you like at your website. You can invest millions of pounds in the best programmers, developers and designers money can buy.

The simple truth is - your product is not good enough.

Best regards,

Simon Bennett. C.T.S & C.I.W.
British National Party Webmaster.

Voter vault and Merlin are two completely different things: voter vault was a "system" for predicting, based on a number of criteria, who might, could, should or would,or might not, etc. vote Conservative. As anyone who has ever canvassed knows, it might well have been based on the idea that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it must be a duck, only the duck often turned out to be a small goose or parrot.
Merlin is a comprehensive database with an incredible functionality and capability.
But, sadly, Conservatives.com leaves very much to be desired. O.K., it is not a blog, but it could do with a really good reworking. In some ways it is worse than what it replaced.
Knowing Eric, however, I guess it will not be long until we see his presence as chairman beginning to make things happen with the website as elsewhere.

The comment posted by Mr S.Bennett above is, like it or not, valid.
The reason that more "surfers" go onto, read more and stay longer on The British National Party's website than all of the other party's' websites put together is because they find it interesting and informative. One does not need a lofty forehead an be a brain surgeon to work that out.
Hyperbole or not a sow's ear remains so no matter how one tries to make it appear to be a silken purse.

Sally Roberts - I'm just getting to grips with Merlin, and, so far, have only been aware of its limitations. The big bugbear is that I still cannot work from home; I have the odd odd half/whole hour when I could be inputting canvass and survey results. If you know the answer to this problem, for heaven's sake pass it on. I resent the wasted time schlepping to and from our constituency office, however lovely the company once I get there.

Anne, I am afraid I can't give you the answer to the problem but I suggest you get on to the Helpdesk at CCHQ and see if they can assist. I'm sure there's a way out of your difficulty and good luck!

For Anne Allen and Sally Roberts.
If you are really stuck with Merlin problems may I suggest that you consider the following.
I have had a word with Simon Bennett, The British National Party's webmaster and he have said that it should be very simple to sort this out. He recommends that you go onto the Party's website at www.bnp.org.uk and access the Group Support Network. There you will be able to get live help via "Text Chat" or even live help through the "Video Conference" facility. If you have "Skype" so much the better.
He added that he is always happy to help the underdog, in true British style.


Grateful for the advice Peter Mullins but I would rather stick pins in my eyes.

Sticking pins into ones eyes seems to me to be an unconventional method of resolving an IT problem. Obviously the choice is yours but it does appear to be rather drastic. Let me know if it works. I hope that you can touch type.


Pickles is spot on and it gives me huge confidence in his ability. The internet is a very useful tool but it is not a substitute for face to face campaigning. Indeed in a world where people are more cynical you need even more personal interaction.

Peter Mullins - LOL!!!! ;-)

Sally Roberts. Do I detect a wry smile? I do hope so as politics should never be taken too seriously and politicians should NEVER be allowed to rise above their station, that being servants of the people.

Vox Populi. Vox Dei.

Parties that have internet access to their data for reports and input = Lib Dems and Labour.

Parties that do not = Conservatives

Go figure.

A wry smile indeed, Peter Mullins!

Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, Vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.

On a more serious note.
MG states and I quote,
"The internet is a very useful tool but it is not a substitute for face to face campaigning."
Would that The British National Party were allowed to do that.
No doubt we have all heard of the vicious attack in Leigh, Greater Manchester of a B.N.P. activist, Tony Ward, that was carried out last night. Tony was exercising his democratic right to campaign with three colleagues when they were attacked by a group of 30 so "antis." Tony was stuck twice with a claw hammer and was lucky to escape with his life. He did have to have eleven stitches in a wound that extended from his scalp to the bridge of his nose, however.
So, in the case of the B.N.P. it is a lot safer to conduct campaigning through the Internet and its website until such time as these constant physical attacks are curbed by the various police authorities (but don't hold your breath!)

Well said, Sally.
Oh, the benefits of a classical education. Even so,

"Vos vestros servate, meos mihi liquite mores."

Very tolerant of you Peter Mullins - I can but concur!

"With regards to the BNP their online operation is indeed sophisticated" But bug ridden and slow. Of course it could all be down to shoddy surveillance processes. In any case my tests of their site suggest that a lot of processes are running in the background. I suppose some of that could be gchq Its a certain they want the attention.

" Greater Manchester of a B.N.P. activist, Tony Ward, that was carried out last night. Tony was exercising his democratic right to campaign with three colleagues when they were attacked by a group of 30 so "antis." Tony was stuck twice with a claw hammer and was lucky to escape with his life"

Isn't that an obscenity. Low life Arabs can mock our troops openly, but a member of a legal political party cannot walk the streets in safety.

May I thank you, Ross Warren, for the sympathy and outrage that you have expressed regarding the attack on Tony Ward, a very gentle sort of chap and an aircraft technician. May I also say that we ALL stand in peril in these turbulent times. For those who have never read the words of Pastor Martin Niemoller let me quote them here.

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Peter Mullins. Firstly no one supports violence of any sort but I hope that BNP supporters will also condemn the many violent attacks BNP members have made on people from ethnic minorities.
I am afraid the BNP are not crusaders for freedom they are a racist organisation that should not and I think would not be supported by any right thinking people.

Jack Stone.
Over the centuries there have been many fashions created by the Establishment to cow and frighten the peasantry. These fashions were usually in the form of pejorative words and descriptions. The accusation of being a "Witch" and "Heretic" were favourites. On the utterance of these and other words, the proles were expected to quake and fall to their knees.
Over the last few years these words have been replaced with "fascist", "Nazi" and the old favourite, "Racist." However, as "witch" has now fallen off the radar, so are these nonsense words beginning to sound more and more ludicrous to any thinking person.
If I were a black police officer I could join a dedicated organisation for black (exclusively) policemen. If, however, I wanted to join a Party of fellow white Britons I would be branded as "racist." Odd.
Please furnish me with the details of one member of The British National Party who has exhibited violence toward a B.E.M. person and who has not been immediately thrown out of the Party for doing so. Before you mention David Copeland let me tell you that he DID join, stayed for three months, left because the B.N.P. were not "radical" enough and carried out his crazed operations fully two years later. He was, by the way, in the Sea Cadets when he was younger. So that organisation should be proscribed!
Finally, if the Conservative Party actually did more "conserving" and stated quite unequivocally that it would give the British people a referendum on staying in the E.U., there would be no reason to join the B.N.P. and I, for one,would return to the Tory fold.

A really good response from Eric. It's a shame it was taken off topic.

Agreed Deborah. Odd that the BeeNippers feel the need to infest these Tory threads given their boasts of Interweb Blitzkrieg.

They should be preaching to masses at www.fatblokeswithissues.co.uk about how a 'Muslim ate my hamster' or something.

Yes, I know I'm a single issue twonk but I'm a Tory single issue twonk.

"Yes, I know I'm a single issue twonk but I'm a Tory single issue twonk."

And you're OUR Tory single issue twonk, Englandism! ;-)

Peter Mullins. Many people in the BNP have convictions for violence against those from ethnic minorities. The BNP is a racist organisation that you should be ashamed to belong to and is alien to all the traditions of British culture and tradition.

How is setting up a wretched spamming opportunity a "fun viral" Eric?. And it's 140 characters, not 1400 words.

Mr Jack Stone.
You say that "many people in the B.N.P. have convictions for violence."
Please offer evidence, a name of just one individual would be a start and compare this as yet unidentified person with the the Tory described here.

Tory Party Councillor (Folkestone), Robert Richdale - 41 year history of crime, involving 30 convictions and 5 prison sentences. Richdales enormous criminal record, which covers 10 pages of A4 paper, includes convictions for assault, theft, causing death by dangerous driving, forgery, drugs offences, possession of an offensive weapon, and sex attacks against underage schoolgirls. The Tory Party election campaign literature described Richdale as “a family man” who had a “compassionate personality”

Over to you.

Peter Mullins Go to any anti Fascist web-site and they have lists as long as your arm. The BNP is a nasty, racist party and I suggest that you go back to the gutter where the BNP belongs.

Mr Jack Stone.

You advise me to go to websites such as, presumably, "Searchlight" or "Unite Against Fascism" to learn the TRUTH!! This would be akin to reading through the Quoran to garner tips on forming and developing a Christian, Democratic society.
The organisations that I have mentioned above are funded and mentored by the extreme left of the Labour party in concert with the more Militant Tendencies of the trade union movements. Neither are exactly friends of the Conservative Party. Why do you believe, as you obviously do, that they are founts of wisdom?
If you visit the U.A.F. site today you will learn of the jubilation that they are expressing regarding the brutal assaults on four of the B.N.P. members that were carried out on Friday evening by a gang of "anti-fascist" (sic) thugs numbering about thirty or so. Hardly a role model for the Tory Party.
For the second time of asking. Please supply me with the name of just ONE current member of the B.N.P. who as a conviction for assault on a member of the ethnic community and I will accept your assertion. Either put up or do the other thing.
I await your response.


"The BNP is a nasty, racist party and I suggest that you go back to the gutter where the BNP belongs".

Is this the strength of your argument? If you want to be involved in a democracy then surely you have to debate the issues of the day, or are you "above" that in your ivory tower looking down at the peasants?

Well said, Mike Andrews.

Developing that comment from Jack Stone regarding the gutter where I belong.
I may be in the gutter but when I look up I see the stars. Mr Stone seems to have his nose so firmly buried into his nether region that I shudder to think what the view is from there!
I am still waiting for a name of a B.N.P. miscreant.


I'm closing this thread. It's veered completely off topic.

The comments to this entry are closed.



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