David Cameron: getting the hang of Teh Interwebs

This entry was posted on
Friday, March 9th, 2007
9:02 am and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

For starters, a key lesson is engaging your brain before sending email:

Many thanks for taking the time to email me regarding Facebook. I have made a formal complaint to Facebook as the accounts were fake as you correctly identified them to be, and now have as I understand it been removed. I had no idea of them until you kindly emailed me about them.

I may consider setting up a Facebook account soon, but I think as with my attempt at setting up “WebCameron” on Youtube, these things can all too often have superficial effects and on occasions in the case of “Webcameron” certainly, generate more ridicule for me rather than sensible debate, which is what I originally intended it to do.

It is a lesson I and other politicians who try and court the internet shall perhaps have to learn fast as time gets on, sometimes to our detriment!

David Cameron
(click here for source)

1. Is it just me, or does this read like an email from someone who knows sweet-bugger-all about Teh Interwebs? FFS, no wonder Sam Roake is able to pass himself off as an expert in Cameron’s eyes.

2. Oh well. Perhaps we can be grateful he didn’t describe it as a ‘a series of YouTubes’

3. Cameron’s team did not launch/set-up on YouTube; they had to be cornered into it after their first broadcast was independently mirrored there and (*gasp*) actual conversations took place under that mirror, instead of at their website. You can see where this mirror used to be here. The message from YouTube is still there and reads; “This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by The Conservative Party.” (Funny… they haven’t managed to get this one removed. Or this one. Hooray for ‘fair use’! The top search result displayed in the screengrab below must piss him his web-monkeys off royally.)

[Note – To date, the video referenced above has been viewed 13,874 times. Basically, it has been viewed more times than any single official video from Webcameron. If it weren’t for this guest appearance by Boris (4,826 views to date), it would stand a very good chance of burying Cameron’s collective video views on YouTube. Does Webcameron generate ‘more ridicule (than) serious debate’? Maybe. The only thing I know for sure is that my ridicule of it generates more traffic than his version of a ‘debate’.]

4. David Cameron is obviously wondering why this ongoing stunt attracts so much ridicule, but by the looks of things he wouldn’t understand it even if it were explained in detail. Nevertheless, I shall try;

What would have been new, exciting and appreciated? A genuine (i.e. non-Miliband) conversation using text. Video was beyond a poor substitute… it was piss-poor overkill. Actually publishing a video to prove it was actually Cameron responding to comments (when he finally got around to it) stunk of patronisation and over-compensation. Also, let’s face it, this side-by-side comparison proves that Cameron’s ‘candid caught at home’ moments were scripted. And when Sion Simon made his (yes, flawed) attempt to point out that Cameron was – in effect – prostituting his family, Mr Nice Guy stood by playing the victim and maintaining ‘a dignified silence’ while the nastier elements of his party embarked on an extremely dishonest attack. That his webmonkeys actually had the gall to use this quite old-fashioned method to promote their version of Web 2.0 was the icing on the cake… especially after one of Cameron’s first videos, in which he expressed his desire to ‘clean up politics’. Now, not all of this will have registered consciously with Cameron’s audience, but animals can smell fear and seasoned web-heads can smell bullshit… and it’s the seasoned web-heads that he needs to watch out for. They know how to reach his audience, too.

5. To Cameron’s credit, he’s been very careful to distance himself throughout our email correspondence. The replies come from his email address, but the text is always from and underling, and signed by that underling. Plausible deniability and all that.

6. OK, so maybe I should give Dave a fair shake. Perhaps my providing proof of his activists being behind anonymous web-smears not once but twice is a little like producing fingerprint-evidence for a judge who wants to know what all the swirly patterns mean.

UPDATE – Ahahahahahahahaha! Loving the headline as much as the development:

Political Penguin – They’ve set the tea boy on me: A friend forwards an e-mail to me that he received from David Cameron admitting his website Webcameron has generated ‘more ridicule for me [him] than serious debate’. We share the amusement of Cameron admitting this and to spread this minor amusement around a bit I stick a post up on my site for others to have a bit of a laugh at… That said I was out yesterday and didn’t get back till late afternoon and there waiting for me was an e-mail from the Tories Google tea boy, sorry, Sam Roake head of their web department… Sam claims I’ve been had. The e-mail I published was a fake, he’s contacted David Cameron’s office and can confirm that the e-mail I received was a fake.

Let me spell this out for Sam…

The Penguin’s source emailed CAMEROND@parliament.uk (and did not publish the content of that email on a blog or any such nonsense, BTW), and then got a reply referring directly to the content of his original message… from CAMEROND@parliament.uk – it’s a slam-dunk, I’m afraid.

Yes, sometimes replies come from CAMEROND@parliament.uk that are not from David Cameron, but instead from members of his staff. I have several of these myself. On each and every occasion, emails of this variety are clearly signed by the relevant staff member. But this email was signed as follows:

Many thanks again for your thoughtful email. Keep in touch.

Kind regards


David Cameron
Leader of the Conservative Party
Leader Of The Opposition’s Office
House of Commons

I’m pretty sure there’s a hefty penalty in the offing for anyone who dares to put David Cameron’s name to an email he did not write. Either Cameron’s office needs to admit that this email is genuine, or someone needs to be sacked.

IMPORTANT UPDATE (13 March) – It has since come to my attention that – due to the source being a technical nincompoop – the original reply (headers and all) has been lost to the ether. A post-publication phone call to the source from someone claiming to be from Cameron’s office can only lead to proof that the original question was received, not that a reply was sent.

Cameron is off the hook for now… but Sam Roake is still a proven n00b.

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