The stakes could not be higher. The Parties that form the next Government have the potential to attract substantial sums from funders for the next election and senior party representatives will be appointed to high office giving them well paid jobs, positions of power and in time the opportunity to earn massive sums in the private sector for those who see this as an appropriate way of bettering their bank balances. However winning an election does not depend simply on funding, if that was the case the Conservatives would win three times as many seats as their nearest competitor, and they would repeat the result at every General Election. The funds do make a huge difference and it is time we had electoral rules that prevented any parties from dominating the financial balance sheet in the way that Conservatives and Labour in turn do. The money can be used to pay for literature and staff, for billboard posters and TV adverts and as we have discovered this week, paid for opportunities on social media sites such as Facebook. It appears that the Conservative Party have spent around £1M on facebook adverts. To date they have attracted some 350,000 ‘like’s on facebook, so they appear to be willing to spend around £3 for every ‘like’. An amount that most people would suggest is disproportionate to the value of these ‘Like’s. However when you are desperate to be liked and have an obscene sum of money that you could spend, perhaps your judgement becomes clouded. One irony is that had they paid 350,ooo people £3 to ‘Like’ their page, the economy would have benefited with most of that money spent on local goods and services, spending it on Facebook means that most of the money will leave the country! Another is that another party which I refuse to name as it is an extremist party has twice as many Likes and appears to have spent nothing on adverts.
It is clear from the way in which the Conservatives in particular and many Politicians in general use social media that they really don’t understand what they are dealing with. Today I saw a tweet from the supporter of one local candidate, declaring that their candidate will be the next MP for the constituency. That sort of language may work well in a meeting full of supporters, but it is just hubris on twitter for all to read. The frustration is that this supporter like many others refuses to respond when challenged, perhaps these people wish to participate in anti-social media! After all they appear to believe that they know the outcome of the election in any case!