A new report by The Centre for Policy Studies states that UK politicians have failed to use web 2.0 technologies to canvass and campaign.
The Politics, Policy and the Internet report says MPs' websites remain, for the most part, ‘repositories of press releases and propaganda'. It concludes that while US presidential candidates have succeeded in raising funds and encouraging grassroots support using the internet, the UK political web is ‘fundamentally dispiriting'.
The report, published this week, is written by The Daily Telegraph features editor and political blogger Robert Colville.
He urges mainstream politicians to pay attention to independent bloggers or risk alienating potential voters. ‘The conversation doesn't end because you, the politician, ended it,' he says.
He adds that UK political parties should explore the web tactics of Obama and Clinton's camps, where ‘putting existing bloggers on your staff is now seen as an essential campaign tool'.
Colville also says that politicians and parties must be ‘palpably human' to thrive on the increasingly collaborative internet, with the ‘most informed, wittiest, rudest or most honest' making the most impact.
According to LabourHome blogger and Staniforth partner Mark Hanson, this may explain the relative success of London mayoral candidate Boris Johnson's web presence.
‘Boris Johnson is looking to do borough-based campaigning, so that supporters in certain areas, such as Hackney, can have the chance to organise a campaign based on locality,' said Hanson.
‘As much as it pains me to say it, he is the best example of a mainstream candidate making this work,' he added.
The report also includes the relative market share of British political parties online. According to the report, the BNP enjoys the same representation as all the other major parties combined.