ken livingstoneHave you had a text from Ken Livingston? If so, you’re one of 16,000 London Labour members to have received Ken’s text plea today, an effort to reach out, and harvest volunteers for his upcoming campaign…


The text reads almost like a note passed in class: “Hi it’s Ken Livingstone. Hope you don’t mind me texting about your choice of candidate for Mayor. Can I count on your support? Reply Y or N”

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If members text ‘Y’ they receive another text asking if they’d be interested in volunteering, to which they must respond with a mysterious V, which summons a phone call from Ken HQ.

We tracked down one Londoner, Natalie Thomas, who’d received a text at the respectful time of 10am, and asked what she thought. “It was suprising,” she said. “I’m not 100% sure how Ken got my mobile number (although I am a member of the Labour Party). It’s impersonal and the wording is strange. It’s a meaningless data experiment – “Ken got 3000 Ys!!” doesn’t result in any discussion of what he stands for, why he’s running again or why I should support him. It’s all a bit ‘X Factor’…”

Figures state that 300 people signed up in the first half an hour after the texts were sent out, and action on Ken’s #text4ken hashtag centres around people with Yes We Ken twibbons already adorning their profiles. Ken said: “The use of this technology means we have been able to reach thousands of people directly and instantly expand the army of volunteers who want to help the campaign.”

Should Ken be building an app instead of texting? Have we had enough of engagement stunts like this? Do you agree with Natalie? Drop us a line in the comments…

  • James Holland

    Now if only we could vote by text… for someone other than Ken.

  • adro

    Christ, is this what Livingstone is having to try to get volunteers? Probably worried about being slapped about by Oona King in the nominations. Not that it'll help him though. Roll on 4 more years of BoJo!

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