Sometimes we have to come down to Strasbourg for the European Parliament. And this month its unfortunately our turn on the FH roster. Thankfully there are some things that make it all worthwhile, other than revisiting pubs we passed far too much time in during our ERASMUS year. In between sitting through debates on the alleged evils of bio, sorry Claude, agro-fuels, we managed to have an interesting chinwag with one of the latest MEPs to enter the blogosphere for a chat about e-campaiging and the forthcoming elections; Bill Newton-Dunn of the UK’s Liberal Democrats.
There are lots of things to like about Bill. For one, he seems to be as addicted to his CrackBerry as we are. He also has started to post about the things that catch his attention and does so from a personal perspective. Today he was enthused by a bunch of doctors who wanted to inform him over lunch about organ harvesting in China (Bill, we await the promised post) and exudes a boyish enthusiasm for “issues” that restores one’s sometimes diminished faith in MEPs.
More importantly for this blog, Bill believes that the internet is the future for political campaigining at a European level. Hence the beginnings of his blog. Ok, so he admits that his biggest challenge is the ability to ignore his assistant’s demands to deal with urgent Committee issues and write the post that is buzzing around his head. But he does allow comments, unlike some on the PES side, and would clearly be stoked should anyone, including industry, want to engage in a debate with him online. (We can attest to his willingness in this regard, as the only reason we met him was because of a random email exchange about his blog). He also admits that he has a lot to learn about using the internet to reach out to voters, while recognising that the medium is perfect for cashstrapped and issue heavy European elections.
In any case, Bill’s clearly on the right path. A new website is being developed by a US based developer that he met through colleagues on the Hill. He promises that it’s going to take the best aspects from some of the presidential nominees sites in this primary season, while admitting that somewhat unfortunately for a LibDem he likes Republican Mike Huckabee’s site best. It’s great to find an MEP who has seen what’s happening on politics on the internet and is willing to give it a go. Even better that he wants to encourage others to follow him online.
P.S. Is it us or does the Strasbourg Hilton resemble a motorway service station?