General Election 2019. Millions of leaflets will be printed, many of which will include dodgy bar charts. PR agencies will design flashy posters. People will be confused by those fake handwriting fonts. Hopes will be raised and hearts will be broken.
Already candidates are being forced to defend stupid or offensive things they tweeted before they were politicians. Parties are flooding Facebook with videos, GIFs and memes. And there are signs that a new collection of para-political groups, akin to US super-PACs, are spending dark money spreading lies, smears and distortions across social media.
That much we know. We’re planning to find out a lot more – but we need your help.
We’re looking for a group of voters to help us monitor the election campaign in some key constituencies – to record how parties and other campaigns are trying to influence you, and to talk to us about how your mind is changing throughout the election campaign.
We’ve chosen constituencies which represent different dynamics in the election: key battles between particular parties, spread across different nations and regions of the UK, from north-east Scotland to south-west England. They are:
- Bristol North West
- Cardiff North
- Crewe and Nantwich
- Filton and Bradley Stoke
- Finchley and Golders Green
- Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland
- North Belfast
- North East Fife
- Richmond Park
If you’d like to be involved, contact us at [email protected]
We are looking for photos, videos and screengrabs of any election propaganda you see, online and off. We want to know what local messages you are seeing on your Facebook feed or coming through your letterboxes. We want to know about any unusual-looking campaigns that spring up.
What we’re planning
openDemocracy is going to follow the campaigns – and the voters – up close. We want to understand how the influence industry is doing its influencing, and whether people are having their minds swayed; how money, social movements and social media are transforming our politics.
Focussing on those few key marginals – and working with people who know the areas deeply, including colleagues at The Bristol Cable and The Ferret – we’ll be monitoring the campaigns closely, scrutinising the main players, following the key messages and how they’re being delivered, and talking to people about how their thoughts and minds are shifting over the coming weeks.
We’ll watch closely to see what campaign techniques are being used. We’ll analyse what messages are breaking through and how the propaganda industries’ attempts to swing this election play out.
How are voters in key swing seats being targeted? What messages are cutting through on the ground? openDemocracy is trying to find over the next four weeks.