Over the last 3 months, I have been working on a new project called Candidate Hub with a friend of mine, Rob Stark. We are students at The University of Edinburgh and Loughborough University respectively. During the Winter break from university, I decided, whilst watching ‘Toryboy the Movie’ (highly recommended), that there was a reason for the filmmaker and subject’s trouble engaging with voters. There is no platform that allows candidates to represent themselves on their own terms, as opposed to in relation to their party.
All candidates representing one of the 5 biggest parties (Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, UKIP or Green) will most likely have their campaign literature produced by their party, and whilst they will have some input, there is no way to guarantee authenticity or personality in the output. There is also no way to guarantee any of this information on demand, and no way for voters to compare and contrast the opinions of each candidate.
I am fully aware of the burgeoning existence of sites such as “isidewith” or “voteforpolicies“, both of which I consider great resources to consider when casting your vote on election day. What we wish to offer though is a more personal experience between a voter and their candidates as people rather than merely an extension of a political party.
The requirement for new tools to aid in voter awareness is made increasingly apparent by a continuing fall in voter turnout, alongside a creeping shift in the voting demographic towards older generations. With such outdated ‘tools’ as leaflets and door-to-door campaigning, it is of little surprise that turnout for the 2012 Manchester Central by-election was a pitiful 18.2%. I am in no way saying that there is no place for leaflets or door-to-door campaigning, and I think the latter is a great way for candidates to genuinely make their mark on voters, it’s my opinion that it doesn’t happen enough. Obviously though, finding the time to speak to every voter is unrealistic for even the most active of candidates.
With Candidate Hub, we honestly believe that we can offer to every candidate, regardless of party (including those without a registered party) and constituency, an opportunity to put forward their views to the electorate, in one location, easily accessible on phones, tablets and PCs.
The number of people not interested in politics is, worryingly, on the increase. We cannot alone rectify that, and it will be a difficult task for anyone involved. What we can offer though is a site that will not take much effort to browse, you can check the candidates in your constituency, you can see what they think about the issues you care about.
If you believe that this is a tool that you would find useful, then I would ask that you help us out. Our campaign for funding on indiegogo is nearing completion, with two days before it ends, at the time of writing. We near our initial target of £1000, and this would certainly help us a great deal with web development and to an extent with the publicity. Any amount that you could donate would be a great help, and if you share the campaign with your friends, we would be extremely grateful.
If you would like to help us otherwise, there are many alternatives. Please contact email@example.com if you wish to help us out with Candidate Hub in any way at all.
Some examples would be simple things such as displaying posters on noticeboards, contacting your local MP to get them on-board, or even a journalist that you know, or writes for your local newspaper. At this stage, any publicity can only be good for us as we lead up to the stage where most candidates are announced and hopefully ready to answer our (as yet undisclosed) questions.
Thanks to all,