Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Britain's first-ever YouTube-fueled election gets ready for the polls

[posted by Tim Partridge, YouTube UK]

After months of build-up and weeks of campaigning, the British electorate will go to the polls tomorrow. The 2010 General Election has been notable in a number of ways. During the last British election, YouTube didn't even exist - so it's been interesting to see how the campaign has played out on the site. We saw parties, activists and voters using online video in new and innovative ways, including the Labour party’s video manifesto, behind-the-scenes footage from David Cameron on the road, and the ‘Labservative’ viral created for the Lib Dems.

Here at YouTube we joined forces with Facebook to launch the UK’s first Digital Debate, giving users from both sites the opportunity to have their questions answered by Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. More than 5,300 questions were put forward with the top 10 decided after the casting of 180,000 votes.

The process threw up some interesting responses from the leaders: Gordon Brown stated that civil liberties are “the fundamental tenet of our constitution”, Cameron argued that burglars “leave their human rights at the door” and Clegg conceded that he “couldn’t predict how I would react” if confronted by an intruder at his family home.

The top 10 included questions on the funding of scientific research, the voting system, student loans, drug policy, private property, policing, immigration, the UK-US relationship, the Digital Economy Bill and the economy.

Of course not all questions made it through, and below you can read some of our favourites that didn’t...

"Where are the jobs. Where are they? Also what is your favourite food?" Dmackers, Durham

"What is your opinion on a philosopher king? Should our policies that govern our lives be justified more through philosophy and ethics rather than money?" Macroverse, Shropshire

"The Stocks looked to have been an effective crime deterrent in the Middle Ages. Would you consider the introduction of a modern equivalent, perhaps financial/electronic but immensely public that would perhaps have more impact than current measures?" Kevin Peirce, Ipswich

"What's your favourite type of Pokemon?" Sheridan, Northumberland

Stay tuned to YouTube tomorrow to hear election reactions from citizens and politicians in what has been a fascinating election campaign.


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