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ask gordon brown June 3, 2008

Posted by Bradley in : Uncategorized , trackback

There’s still time to respond to Gordon Brown’s invitation to UK residents to ask him questions via youtube:

As usual, they have disabled the comments feature on youtube – although, of course, people have posted text comments online anyway, as well as their video questions, which aren’t all friendly. The Downing Street youtube page states that only UK residents may ask questions, although the terms and conditions suggest that if they get helpful questions from elsewhere Brown may choose to answer them. Here are the (patronising) terms and conditions:

Ask the PM”Rules of Engagement
Please ensure that your video is less than 30 seconds long.
You must be 13 years or above and submit your questions in English. We’d like to hear primarily from UK residents, but we reserve the right to consider questions from all over the world.
Your video must be uploaded to www.youtube.com/downingst before midnight on Saturday 21 June 2008.
Videos should broadly meet the same conditions as e-petitions as set out at http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/terms. Unlike e-petitions, however, we will accept lighter questions not necessarily linked to Government policy.
They should not contain any references to political parties or commercial endorsements, be aggressive or offensive, and are subject to the YouTube Terms of Use http://uk.youtube.com/t/terms and associated policies, including the Community Guidelines. Videos that do not comply will be discounted.
The Prime Minister will tape and upload video responses to a selection of the questions we receive. Questions will be selected based on their popularity with YouTube users, but we reserve the right to select any other questions at our discretion.
The Prime Minister will respond to the questions selected within a reasonable timeframe after voting closes.
The quality of the videos will be taken in account. Try to keep your camera, mobile or webcam steady, and speak slowly, loudly and clearly.
It’s good to provide context — please indicate who you are – tell us your name, and the town you live in.
Be original, use your creativity and your imagination. Make your video a success. Think outside the box!
By submitting a video, you also grant 10 Downing Street a licence to reproduce and communicate the video to the public at its discretion.
If you do not want to submit a question you can also participate by voting for the questions you think should be used. You can do this by viewing the questions here www.youtube.com/downingst and voting for your favourite ones.
Any personal data contained in the video or associated information supplied by you will be processed by YouTube in accordance with YouTube’s privacy policy, which you can find here: http://uk.youtube.com/t/privacy, and 10 Downing Street’s privacy policy, which can be found here: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page52.asp.

There’s a certain amount of scepticism about all this – increased, surely, by Brown’s lack of popularity. There’s a video response here, which Brown likely won’t answer. The videos tend to be longer than 30 seconds. Many, but not all, of them ask serious questions which Borown is nlikely to answer. There’s criticism from Called to Account, and more from Under Strict Embargo:

In my mind the YouTube channel, the Twitter feed and whatever online gimmick is announced next, is primarily about metaphor, the hope that some shiny digital zeitgeist will rub off on an increasingly lacklustre Prime Minister. Equally, it’s a clumsy attempt by the new Downing St communications team to ‘get with it’ and reduce the gaping void between their digital approach and that of the Opposition.


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