Thursday 9 April 2009


MTV has been enlisted in the publicity campaign to raise awareness of the European elections. The campaign aims to increase the participation of the younger generation, who are generally less likely to vote.

There's a website, if you want to take a look.

I'm not sure if this will have a massive impact on turnout: after all, people still need to get around to registering to vote, and manage to get to the voting stations - MTV will no doubt get a big turnout - it is MTV (the operative part being "TV"). But it's the best campaign strategy yet for the EP elections in terms of raising awareness.

I've complained about the tendency to depend on internet campaigns in targeting voters when used in isolation (how many uninterested Europeans will look up Europe on the internet?), but this could work well in increasing interest and awareness in the elections: it uses traditional media to stir up interest, offers ways to express opinions and get involved through the internet, and offers a way of physically getting involved and meeting others.

Open Europe is not impressed at this development, though I can't see it making any other argument other than the "guess who's paying for it!" one, which is always strikes me as simplistic and populist, but when it's used in isolation it's particularly unconvincing. Perhaps I'm old fashioned, but I like arguments when they advance an alternative vision, or at least provided a moderately detailed explanation of why something is flawed and won't work. It may describe itself as a think tank, yet I fail to see the analytical and critical thought behind its blog posts. (Or should a think tank be free of expectations of such intellectual effort in its blogging activities?)

My general opinions on engaging voters and debates can be found here and here.

So how much money can be justly spent in engaging voters simply to get them to vote, and in what manner should it be done?

Edit: Open Europe have given me a link to their report on information, which will take a while to read.

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