Councillor Chris Maughan, a Blackpool Councillor who is also on Lancashire Police Authority, has launched his campaign for the Labour Police and Crime Commissioner nomination in Lancashire with a series of videos, including the 666 video above, attacking spending restraint in Lancashire policing. This is the first known use of YouTube in this election. When we came across it, there had only been 20-odd views, but now it has been featured on the web’s premier Police and Crime Commissioner news site, perhaps it will go viral!
There is also a Facebook page, and Cllr Maughan is a very recent arrival to Twitter. Social media has already featured heavily in Lord Prescott’s campaign for the Labour nomination in Humberside, and looks set to be important in the election more widely as it is cheap, fast, interactive, does not require an army of volunteers to deliver and gets to interested people, rather than to those who put the expensive message straight in the bin.
Another feature in common with Lord Prescott’s approach is the quiet presumption that the candidate named has already got the Labour nomination. These campaigns look like they are for the real election, and there is an element of ‘see what I can do’ about them, but they are “bash the Tories” fare suited for the Labour selectorate, in whose decision the candidates are ultimately interested. As with US elections, the campaign is likely to veer to the centre again once it comes time to appeal beyond the party base, and this risks giving the impression that the candidate is two-faced or easily confused.
In Cllr Maughan’s case, the 666 video is nicely done, but it doesn’t do what it says on the tin, which is “This is a short video outlining why only I, as a Labour Police and Crime Commissioner, can be trusted to protect policing in Lancashire.” There is no information given about Cllr Maughan to support that big claim over the other candidates, including Labour candidates who will be known to the Councillor. There are two other videos, on Domestic Violence (he will “open the door” on it) and on Violent Crime (he will have “zero tolerance” for it), and they are nicely put together, awareness-raising presentations, though they don’t currently work on mobile devices.