The expansion of the internet into our daily lives was always going to have an impact on politics. This, coupled with the image sensitive nature of New Labour had a defining impact on the Blair era. When Gordon Brown entered government we were promised an end to the spin culture that had damaged our trust and questioned the motives of politicians. Instead, he has exacerbated spin and created a new culture of lies.
Brown’s latest attempt to ‘get in touch’ with the electorate has backfired, forcing him to make the characteristic U-turn. He released his original statement regarding MP’s expenses via YouTube, complete with unusually white teeth and overbearing grin (I see nothing worth grinning about when it comes to expenses.) He was also criticised for not breaking the news to parliament in the traditional way. Personally, I think the internet is a good tool for breaking news to the public, creating greater cohesion between politicians and the electorate. But, Brown's atrocious performance has forced him to remove the comment section on Downing Street's YouTube portal: another example of him simply being unable to take criticism.
The internet is a great opportunity for us to see the real side of politicians (as many MP’s blogs have done), allowing greater levels of transparency, democracy and participation. Instead, the Prime Minister has tried to close another avenue of accountability, distancing himself further from the public.
If politicians were honest about how they represented our interests and spent our money they would not need to hide behind a curtain of spin and deceit. They would have the confidence to tell us the truth.