The Telegraph suggests this morning that Eric Pickles is cautious about the importance of the internet.  Doorstep campaigning and overall political message are much more important, he says.  That’s fair comment but I do worry that the Conservatives are missing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build an army of online allies (my ideas for doing so are here and here).  It’s much easier in opposition than it will be in government.

I worry that despite some excellent appointments, CCHQ still doesn’t quite get the internet.  Before Eric Pickles became Chairman £500,000 was spent by the Conservative Party on newspaper advertising to recruit online supporters!  That money should have been used to run excellent campaigning websites dedicated to issues that will motivate voters at the next election.  Campaigns are launched on the web but are never updated.  See the recent Pubs Campaign as an example.  The party is still doing next-to-nothing in terms of online fundraising.

Here are 25 words for Eric to reflect on as he considers CCHQ’s internet ventures:

“The lesson we have learned with technology is that people overestimate the impact in the short run and underestimate the impact in the long run.”

– Morten Kyng.

Politics will be dominated by the internet within ten years.  I hope the Tories don’t end up having to play catch up.

Tim Montgomerie