Before politicians had YouTube and TikTok clips…

… some of them made campaign videos on good old VHS tapes and sent them to voters, as this example from then Liberal Democrat MP Brian Cotter (1997-2005) shows.

And yes, even then Lib Dems rolled out Vince Cable for an endorsement. Later MP Tessa Munt also makes an appearance.

Watch out too for a brief view on screen of the second ever national (federal) Liberal Democrat website. One of my first jobs working for the party was looking after getting that site up and live.

Probably the largest use of VHS tapes was by James Goldsmith’s short-lived (1994-97) Referendum Party for the 1997 general election. Five million were sent out. The party won no MPs and polled only 2.6% despite standing in 547 (out of 659) constituencies.

A reminder, once again, that on its own the sort of innovative technology which gets media coverage is not enough for political success.

Thanks to Pete Dollimore and Robin Cantrill-Fenwick for their help in rescuing this footage from an old video tape. Brian Cotter died in November 2023. Here is the BBC tribute to his career.

5 responses to “Before politicians had YouTube and TikTok clips…”

  1. In the 2005 General election, I experimented with a Java app on mobile phones written for me by the then unknown firm of Masabi.
    A write-up of the Iraq War Calculator app can be found here
    Sadly, no record of the app remains. Is this is something we could do more of in order to collect opinions in a more interesting manner than many surveys that also never tell you the result or how your views compare with others.

  2. Excellent video .Weston was not our usual west country seat
    Look what a hard working person can do and the campaign was centered around bread and butter issues that impact on peoples daily lives. We need more of this

    • Mark …I think it was a Great Success ..Dad Won against all the odds …
      Cllr Nick Cotter Lib Dem Bicester South and Ambrosden Cherwell District Council…..
      If anyone would like details about my Dad’s Funeral next Tuesday in Weston Super Mare and the Big Send Off afterwards at the Grand Atlantic Hotel please email me … nickdnl@aol.com

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