Public Affairs: Soap Box - Douglas Carswell, Conservative MP for Harwich and Clacton

Digital technology has helped expose the gulf between politicians and the rest of us.

But, as we shall see at the coming election, it will also provide the means of closing the gap.

It enabled MPs' expense claims to be copied and distributed, but it is not merely politicians' taxpayer-funded mortgages that can be crowd-sourced. Local newspapers can more easily cross-check what their MPs actually do in Westminster, against what they say that they do. Google allows every campaign utterance to be examined for inconsistency. YouTube, in its infancy at the last election, gives voters the chance to speak up, rather than meekly listen - or switch off. The hardest-hitting election broadcasts may not be made by political parties, but by ordinary folk wanting to make a point. In politics, the internet cuts out the middle man.

Political parties have traditionally used news 'grids' to seek to control the agenda during elections. But with the blogosphere democratising comment, and the news-cycle becoming a news stream, conventional war room 'grids' may be wishful thinking.

Generic politics, with mass branding and a centrally controlled message, will begin to give way. Party managers may not like it, but the internet challenges all hierarchy - in politics, as in business.

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