Dinner Briefing: Will the internet win the next election?

Talk Thursday 28th May, 2009


This event will be chaired by Adam Boulton, Sky News’ political editor

The Left has had its fingers burnt trying to make its mark in the blogosphere but where does Red Rag furore leave the Labour Party and the Left’s web strategy?
Bloggers on the right including Iain Dale and Paul Staines aka Guido Fawkes have challenged the nature of political reporting, exposing the inside story of the Westminster village in a way that mainstream journalists often can’t. But has the role of blogs and their potential for gossip, leaks and smears been overplayed? Should politicians be turning their attention instead to the techniques pioneered by Howard Dean and perfected by during Barack Obama’s campaign that are said to have secured him the presidency in 2008?
Join us at the Frontline Club for a discussion over dinner with some of the country’s most powerful bloggers including Guido Fawkes and Iain Dale as we discuss the impact of the web on politics and what can be learnt from Obama’s dominance of the web that gained him $200 million for his campaign and one million Facebook friends.
Matthew McGregor, recently hired to run the London office of Blue State Digital, the market research-New Media company credited with masterminding Obama’s online success, will be discussing the potential of social networking tools that helped create Obamamania for political parties in the UK in the next General election. Alex Smith, new editor of LabourList will discuss Labour’s stategy.

The highly popular Dinner briefings combine the best of the Frontline Club – food, fine wines, discussion and debate.  These off-the-record background briefings include a three-course dinner plus wine.  Starting with a before-dinner panel discussion over a glass of wine, guests then have an opportunity to continue the discussion informally with panellists who move between tables for each of the courses.
If you have any special dietary requirements, please email [email protected] in advance.
From 10pm onwards the discussion will continue informally in the members area.

Adam Boulton
is political editor of Sky News and presenter of  Sunday Live. He has been with the news channel since it launched 20 years ago.

Matthew McGregor joined Blue State Digital in September 2008 to set up its London office.  He has over ten years experiences of political campaigns, both in party politics and in advocacy campaigning. His experience includes work for Ken Livingstone’s 2008 Mayoral and he managed John Cruddas’ deputy leadership campaign,  winner of Channel 4’s ‘Political Campaign of the Year’ award

Iain Dale
is a former Conservative candidate who blogs at Iain Dale’s Diary and is publisher of the monthly magazine, Total Politics.

Alex Smith was recently appointed editor of LabourList following the departure of Derek Draper. From 2007 to 2008 he was in the United States where he volunteered for the Obama campaign in Brooklyn. Smith also devised and directed the grassroots organisation Drive for Obama which canvasses support across swing states in the run up to the Presidential election.

Former business man Paul Staines writes the Guido Fawkes blog of parliamentary plots, rumours and conspiracy, which attracts hundreds and thousands of visitors and has been described as one of the leading political bloggers in the UK and has been named in the Independent newspaper’s "Top 50 newsmakers"