Iain Dale’s Bracknell site – a Lib Dem analysis

Well, I mean, look at it. I mean, I’ll try and be gentle on the man because he doesn’t know much about these things, but really. An elementary glance at some Lib Dem sites could have sorted out some of these basic no-nos.

For a start there’s only one main menu, the line of buttons across the top. I mean, what sort of amateur only has one menu on the homepage of a political website?  And just look at all that pointless white airy space! Hahaha. You fool. Don’t you know that empty space is wasted space? You could be using that space to bombard visitors with your message, and leaving spaces between things just makes it look like you don’t have enough to say! What you really want to do is COVER IT WITH CAMPAIGN BUTTONS! Everybody likes them and clicks on them all the time!

And really, Iain, love, you need at least one more menu. At least. If you can do one on the bottom of the front  page as well as down one of the sides, that’s a bonus – extra points if you can make them all slightly different. What to put in them? Words, dear man, words! “Local news, Report a Fault, Campaigning for You, Party News, Contact Iain, About me, Our Campaigns, Join, Latest News…” There, that’ll give you a start.

Then, once your menus are in place, pop a couple of different things under each item. Doesn’t really matter what they are, and you can duplicate between categories if you like. People don’t really mind what things are in what places on a website, as long as they’ve got a lot of things to click on. People are like babies with an activity centre when they are on the internet. They want colour and flashy things and stuff that goes “bing”. That’s where you’re pitching.

Got that?

Ok, let’s have a look at content. I’ll just read down the front page…

Oh my dear fellow, five paragraphs?! I think not. You see, people can’t actually read, by and large. This idea that there are lots of people out there prepared to read five paragraphs in a row straight is really just a media myth, you know. And what’s this?

There’s a link to a detailed exposition of the kind of Conservatism I stand for, as well as my career background.

Oh dear me, no, this is quite wrong. Do NOT talk in a tone of personal conviction. Instead imitate how you think a parrot might talk  if it were trained and had  a rosette pinned on it. And the more you use the third person and mention “our local team” the better. People don’t really know what the word “exposition” means, you see, and they’re not interested in Conservatism or any other kind of -ism. They are interested in potholes. Potholes and hospitals, it’s as simple as that. What you want is to scrap all that silly boring writing and put something like “Iain will make sure your potholes are heard in Westminster!” and then have a lovely lovely picture of yourself pointing disapprovingly at some graffiti. Seriously, people lap that shit up.

Ha, just as well I’m here to pass on a bit of hard-won online campaigning nous from the yellow corner, isn’t it! Now, then, what’s this:

I’m not going to write an essay here pretending I am an expert on everything local, because that would be preposterous.

No no NO! Absolutely do NOT at any point concede that you might be anything less than a saviour borne upon the wings of an angel with an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything that happens within the constituency and that the people of Bracknell aren’t, frankly, lucky to have you! Fortunately for you, since this page contains yet more of your Silly Silly Writing, the chances are no-one will make it down as far as that sentence.

What else do we have here:

I will tell people my real views, even when I know they will disagree with me

Oh dear, dear, you haven’t really had much experience with political debate, have you? I mean, from time to time, yes, it may be necessary to have to disagree with someone, but you’re not supposed to advertise it! That is just asking for trouble! You need to sort of pretend that most people are going to be the sort of people who will probably hold the same views you do, and then hope for the best. If you take my advice, you’ll put off even a hint that you might have non-universal opinions until the last possible moment. Don’t even acknowledge that there’s no such thing as a universal opinion.

Is that clear? Wait… what’s this on your list of reasons why people should vote for you?

Can reach across party divides.

Oh, what a laughable error! Other parties do not exist in campaigning unless they are taking candy away from small children, do you understand? Nobody wants to know that you are capable of having normal working relationships with people from other parties! Trust me, what ordinary people want to hear is that you are a mindless drone who is allergic to people with different rosettes on and constantly harps on about their candy-stealing activities in letters to the local press.

And… no… I don’t believe it, this is worse than anything else. Look! Look at your sidebar.

You’ve linked to Mark Reckons. He is from another party! You are providing traffic to a blog written by someone who is in another party! What are you thinking! It’s always a far better tactic to ignore any online presence from other parties. If you ignore them, it’s like they don’t exist. Remember, you can’t run any risk of people clicking through to Mark Reckons from your site and thinking “Hey, this person doesn’t sound like they steal candy from small children at all!” Absolute disaster.

Mind you, I’ll give you one thing – I am loving that headline: “A new, strong voice for Bracknell”. You’re firmly in the Lib Dem campaigning tradition there. “Strong voice”, it has such a ring to it, doesn’t it? Tried and traditional is best with slogans, I say, people like the same old slogans, they react to them much more measurably than they’ll react to anything new. You’ve done exactly the right thing, kept your headline as comfy-sounding and devoid of inner poetry or meaning as possible. Excellent stuff!

One more thing though – where’s the bar chart? I can’t find it anywhere.


  1. His site is straight from:

    “How to Land Your Dream Job by Promoting Yourself on the Internet – A Complete Set of Templates Included on the Free Compact Disc”

    Hope it came with a money back guarantee!

  2. Nice piece Alix, seems like Mrs Dale has got it right then? You might get a bit of backlash from the ‘ironic-lite’ though, who’ll accuse you of patronising the British public, but hey, someone, somewhere is still reading LabourHome.

    1. As soon as I put myself forward as a candidate, or try in any way to wield power over anyone, I’ll be sure to do just that.

  3. @ Asquith

    Why do you hold such a view on Mr Dale, who seems a decent bloke, even if you disagree with his politics.

    1. Don’t mind Asquith. I mean, no, he’s not Iain Dale’s number 1 fan, but “cunt” is kind of interchangeable with “berk” for him 😉

      1. The most common derivation of ‘berk’ that I’ve seen is as rhyming slang based on ‘Berkshire hunt’, so that’s not really surprising.

        1. at the risk of intolerable pedantry, it’s ‘Berkely Hunt’, rather than ‘Berkshire’. Even cockneys knew that ‘berk’ in ‘berkshire’ was pronounced to rhyme with ‘mark’ rather than ‘work’.

          But it doesn’t stop me smiling every time my grandmother uses it.

      2. You see, my parents forbade swearing & it was frowned upon at school, but more or less everyone else I knew swore profusely, so it still gives me a kind of thrill to issue them words.

        Also, it would be quite funny if someone asked him that question & he published it, with an in-depth answer 🙂

  4. You missed this real gem on his Q&A page!

    Q Do you think negative politics works?
    A No. And you won’t find me indulging in that.

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