Progress has unveiled an upcoming event in which Obama’s victory and lessons Labour can learn from his web strategy will be debated.

Labour 2.0: campaigning for the net generation

28 February 2009, 11:00 to 17:30 Canary Wharf, London
While the reasons for Obama’s victory continue to be debated, it is obvious that e-campaigning played a major role and that its importance will continue to increase. As the main political parties gear up for the next general election, the focus on internet campaigning will intensify.

  • To what extent has the Labour party understood the potential of this new campaigning medium?
  • How can the centre-left use it to mobilise ordinary voters to campaign for progressive causes?
  • And what steps need to be taken to pull the party into the ‘net generation’?

Speakers include:

Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP; Derek Draper; Sue Macmillan, New Media Campaigns Taskforce Leader, The Labour Party; Tom Steinberg, MySociety; Matthew McGregor, UK MD, Blue State Digital; Greg Jackson, Tangent; Iain Dale; Professor Andrew Chadwick, Director, New Political Communication Unit, Royal Holloway, University of London; Adam Bienkow, Tory Troll; Tom Barry, Boris Watch; Theo Blackwell, blogger and councillor; Oliver Rickman, Google; Nick Anstead, University of East Anglia; Paul Simpson; Gavin Shuker, Political Insight; Jag Singh, MessageSpace; James Crabtree, Senior Editor, Prospect

Interestingly as far as door-tax goes, the Progress website is inviting attendees to do an “honesty box” and donate online what they think it’s worth. This audacious strategy is increasingly popular. The Evening Standard has reported on a swanky Farringdon eaterie that has managed to be packed to the rafters by offering pay-what-you-like meals.

A price-slashing Michelin chef elsewhere quoted by the Evening Boris (as Ken Livingstone christened it) says: “This is the most important economic crisis I’ve faced in my career. Restaurants will close if they don’t adapt.” Of course this approach was pioneered by Radiohead who had a pay-as-much-as-you-like pricing for the download of their “In Rainbows” album in the face of the culture of pirated downloads.

Apparently the Farringdon experiment is resulting in the average punter people paying over-the odds despite straitened circumstances (according to the local tv news the other day). The Telegraph has reported that the Radiohead experience is not to be repeated however. Apparently a survey of 5,000 fans who downloaded the ten-track album showed that more than a quarter – 1,429 – paid either nothing or 1p for the recordings. More than half – 2,776 – gave up to £10, while 673 die-hard fans paid £40 for a deluxe box set.

I’m sure the Progresss event will be interesting at any price and is surely worthy of a sensible sum from any progressive-thinking person.  Roll on 28th Feb.

UPDATE: Among  the“100+ members of the left blogosphere, net-savvy Labour parliamentarians, councillors, organisers and others from the Labour movement who have an interest in e-campaigning and using the net to build a better democracy” named when I was first emailed of this was doyenne of Tory blog Iain Dale who has now been dropped. If you wanna know why click here.

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