Webcameron: Sam Roake and his backhand stroke

This entry was posted on
Monday, October 2nd, 2006
12:23 pm and is filed
under The Political Weblog Movement.

What is blogging? Sam Roake explains...Sam Roake, who has been regularly name-checked for 3 months now as the head of the Conservatives’ web strategy, used to work for Google…. but what he actually did for Google is addressed almost universally as a throwaway line (in fact, here it is again).

Myself, I think it deserves a little bit of focus:

As a Google ‘maximiser’, Sam Roake wrote the copy for users of AdWords who did not feel that they were able to string a dozen words together.

He. Wrote. Ads.

Fair enough, this does require some skill, but it has sweet bugger all to do with Google’s central database – and knowing what you’re doing in this particular game requires knowledge not only of this database, but how its users interact with it (and each other).

When you’re about to go to the coal face and mine those rich seams, you want to make sure you have someone at the helm who knows what they’re doing; someone who has actually worked at the face and knows the potential risks and rewards inside-out.

Instead, the Conservatives have hired the chap from the tea-room who sold the biscuits (i.e. he was not considered responsible enough to make the tea).

The results so far speak for themselves:

1. In what universe do you have to live where you don’t realise that an “Oh, hello… you’ve caught me doing the washing up (with eco-liquid, no less)!” video is going to – quite rightly – get mocked again and again?

2. Comments? Until a few minutes ago, the only comments going live that related specifically to individual videos were going live under an unofficial mirror of the launch video on YouTube. The comments that were going live on the official site failed to raise a single response from David Cameron and/or his chosen ambassador(s). This. Is. Not. A. Conversation.

3. The response? A video interview with Sam Roake, who explains that it’s a ‘work in progress’ and proposes a brilliant solution; he wants to ask the users how they think the comments ‘problem’ can be addressed. Presumably because he has no ideas himself aside from a brilliant wheeze involving carefully ghost-written 12-word responses on behalf of David Cameron (that also double as ads for generic Viagra).

[UPDATE (1:30pm) – The video interview with Sam Roake has now been removed. How odd.]

4. And here’s the bit that really gets up my nose… David Cameron ‘caught in the middle of dinner’ and explaining away his lack of policies by stating that he has to clean up politics first. I sought to clean up politics in my local area (1, 2, 3, 4) and was recently rewarded with a very personal smear campaign run by local Tories. When I brought this to the attention of Conservative Central Office, they referred it back to this same group of Tories (1, 2) for ‘action’. (I also emailed David Cameron’s office about it, but have yet to receive a reply. Perhaps the evidence was ‘a bit technical’.)

So far, I’ve watched a number of Conservatives (and Blairites) have a go at this incredibly new ‘conversation’ idea, but – with very few exceptions – their approaches have been marked by desperation, dishonesty, arrogance, ignorance… or a mind-bending combination of all four.

I’m not seeing anything new here… and Sam Roake can’t prove me wrong without first delivering Anne Milton’s head on a stick.

UPDATE – And here’s a picture, boys and girls…

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