What do we think of PoliticsHome?

What do we think of PoliticsHome?


    Can it do for Stephan what 18 Doughty Street didn’t?

Stephan Shakespeare, the former campaign manager for Jeffrey Archer, who went on to found YouGov has a launched a new venture this week, PoliticsHome.com. It’s a website totally devoted to politics and brings together links, blogs, and videos in a form that, in Stephan’s words, will make it “the “Bloomberg of politics” covering political power as seriously as Bloomberg did financial clout.”

There’s a lot of money going into the site and a largish team has been recruited to provide the regularly updated content that such a venture needs. People will only visit if they think it is worth visiting and that means there has to be a reason to go there several times a day.

One feature is PHI – which I assume stands for Politics Home Index. The idea is that a panel of 100 “experts” are asked regularly for their views of political outcomes and these are featured in graphic form on the site. Thus PH 100 gives the panel’s views of the London Mayoral race and this is expressed in percentage terms.

The experts, though, are not risking any money on the race and just looking at it this morning, 24 hours after YouGov’s latest 13% lead for Boris, it appears slow to react. We find the trend is moving away from the Tory in spite of a big swing towards him in the betting. It looks interesting but I cannot quite see the point.

Live betting price charts, like those available on PB’s new betting section, would have been a whole lot better, more informative and not just for punters.

The site also needs to be 24/7 and that means a night shift. I was disappointed when I got up early this morning to do PB that Politics Home did not seem to have been updated. In the era of IPhones, Blackberries and smart PDAs, there’s a fair bit of traffic to be had out there before 7am and the site needs to be serving it.

Stephan’s last big venture was the 18 Doughty Street politics internet TV channel. It was a good idea but didn’t get the audience figures to sustain it. PoliticsHome does deserves to succeed – we need something in the UK akin to the excellent Real Clear Politics site in the US.

Mike Smithson

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