Dodgy start to David Davis campaign

The website for David Davis’s campaign to get re-elected – on an identical platform? – in Haltemprice and Howden is now live at I suggested last week that if his (wider) campaign was to be truly successful, he’d need ‘some kind of politics 2.0 initiative’: and so far, there’s not much sign of it.

The Ministry of Truth blog does a real hatchet job on the Terapad-based site’s copyright and privacy notice: not normally pages which would merit much attention, but this is not a normal by-election. To give you a taster:

All editorial content and graphics on this site are protected by U.S. copyright and international treaties and may not be copied without the express permission of Promoted by Duncan Gilmore on behalf of David Davis, which reserves all rights. Re-use of any of this site content and graphics for any purpose is strictly prohibited.

Yes folks, that’s just beneath a big banner which says ‘David Davis for Freedom‘. It’s clearly been automatically generated from a template, but if your entire candidacy is about rights and privacy, you really ought to have had a closer look.
And speaking of the banner at the top of the page: doesn’t it seem a bit – um – lacking in diversity? If you look at the associated Twitter account (39 followers, zero updates so far), you’ll find a ridiculously huge version of the same graphic (see above) does reveal a few non-white faces; but since you can’t actually see them on your screen, that doesn’t really stand up. And I’m not sure there’s a single person over 40 in the lineup either.
But that isn’t the only curious omission. There’s no hint of a Conservative party logo. You’ll be looking through the site for quite some time before you uncover a single reference to Haltemprice and Howden. Amusingly, the only substantial reference to his party is followed immediately by a ‘but’. And reading the text on the homepage, you’d have no clue that having resigned, he was even planning to stand again.
And then there’s this…

In Davis’s defence, he has made an early move to reach out 2.0-style, with a lengthy article published yesterday on ConservativeHome – which, of course, came out in favour of 42 days. ‘I have deliberately embarked upon an unorthodox course of action to dramatise the damage being done to the country I love,’ he writes – thus admitting, surely, that yes, it is a publicity stunt. He says his website will be ‘a sounding board for the debate I am determined to generate about the threat to our liberties’, although I can’t yet see any hint of debate on the site… not even comments on the ‘blog’. I’d also note the paragraph in which he writes:

Fortunately, the Westminster Village does not have a monopoly on political comment and reporting. In marked contrast to some rumour-mongering in the media, the blogosphere rapidly is becoming the real forum of popular debate and it offered a very different take.

Davis himself clearly recognises the need to reach far beyond a mere constituency by-election, if his campaign is to amount to anything. I’m afraid he has a long way to go.

9 thoughts on “Dodgy start to David Davis campaign”

  1. Great dissection of a pretty poor site, Simon. A shame – all he needed to do was have a look at what the labour deputy leader candidates did last year – especially Alan Johnson – and build on that.
    Bearing in mind there is a “proper” election coming up, we are either in line for a huge number of new, terrible websites; or massive opportunities for those few that know what they are doing 😉

  2. In reply to Dave: it’s not the tech that’s the hard bit. It’s getting the politicians in question to understand how to use the tech, and profit (electorally) from it. I was responsible for Harriet Harman’s deputy leadership election site and – let’s be straight about it – the tech was not in itself the limiting factor.
    Why is Davis not using open source software either?

  3. Adding to Jon’s comments the DD site is particularly bad exactly because of the flexibility and potential he has. As Alan Johnson’ s director of communications in the deputy leadership campaign I know that we had lots of great ideas that never saw the light of day. That’s because the reality of running a campaign is far more challenging than most of the armchair critics in the blogosphere think (I’m not talking about Simon here, as you’re one that gets it more than most). The main challenge for use was running a good and innovative campaign, while also having the restraints and responsibilities of a cabinet minister. DD doesn’t have any of those constraints so should in theory be able to run a far more ‘state of the art’ campaign.

  4. And another thing. Why are all the people featured in the blog’s banner (apart from Davis himself, obviously) clearly a lot less than 40? Any why are they all grinning? And cocking their heads in a ‘this guy is saying some really interesting things’ sort of way? If I were a violent person I’d want to take a baseball bat to the lot of them. Thankfully I’m not, but I wonder what Davis’s advisers were thinking of when they decided to exclude us baby-boomers, not to mention our parents.

  5. PS – I’ve just emailed a link to this discussion to Davis’s team asking them to respond to my point. Hopefully they’ll do so below, but don’t hold your breath.

  6. er, I clicked on the third link down and stormfront’s dissecting the line-up:
    ‘fourth in from the left is a Chinky.
    Also, faint signals, perhaps one of them is a Jew, one a queer (fifth in from the left), and one with six webbed toes.’

  7. @Paul Yeah, spotted that (very) late last night. First job of the day: ensuring my recently added ‘blogs linking here’ list included the ‘nofollow’ attribute.
    @Andrew Before anyone accuses me of being age-ist, I did mention the over-40 thing myself. Glad we agreed on the age barrier, though. Wasn’t sure if that was just my own mid-to-late-30s angst.
    And for any white supremacists who might be dropping by: I didn’t actually express any ‘fury’ at the lack of diversity, and I’m not sure Recess Monkey or Pickled Politics did either. It was just an observation.

Comments are closed.