Web reviews – A private eye on politics.[QQ] As you would expect New Labour has firmly embraced new technology. It was disappointing that Tony Blair’s conference speech was not immediately available on the site, but while waiting for its appearance the political surfer could get hold of plenty of other speeches. If you have RealPlayer then you can watch Labour’s party political broadcasts, hear the conference speeches and even thrill to the conference music. The content is clear and comprehensive, it is easy to move around the site and there is, perhaps, less spin than one would normally have expected.

A straightforward common sense website, the Tory’s cyber presence does not seek to bombard the viewer with too much propaganda. The points are put across in a simple fashion and it is clear where the party is on the attack; fuel and the euro.

The site is as much for the activist as the casual observer as it details a whole raft of events aimed at the party faithful. There is even an opportunity to print off a poster with Gordon Brown toting a petrol pump like a latter day Dick Turpin. Those that cannot make it to the party conference this year can sign-up to be a representative. Perhaps the clearest of the mainstream political websites, the decidedly yellow home page is well laid out, providing uncluttered information and news with clear signposts to other parts of the site. The party is upfront with its beliefs and policies, including its pre-manifesto document. The site has three aims: providing information to the general public, a resource for members and a recruitment tool, and succeeds in all areas. There are plans to build an extranet for party members which will be of use in the run up to the next general election. Like most other parties’ sites, there is not a vast amount on business issues, preferring to focus on people-orientated campaigns.

The Trades Union Congress website takes a different approach to its design.

Instead of warm and soft pictures, the TUC’s home page is far more straightforward.

There is a virtual Congress House through which you can navigate, uncovering a comprehensive range of information. The site seeks to provide information first and foremost for union members but much will also be of use for employees and employers alike. The ‘Know Your Rights’ page sets out employees’ rights and employers’ responsibilities, issues that all managers should understand. The building site map is impressively detailed, nothing flash here, just easy to use information.

For those that cannot get the finance department to fund a subscription to Britain’s foremost satirical magazine, the web alternative makes for ideal lunchtime surfing. All the favourites are here, the front cover, Pseuds Corner and Colmanballs will all raise a chuckle over the sandwiches.

The purpose of the site is to encourage readers to subscribe or buy other I-stuff, but there is enough here to warrant a weekly surf. When you’re bored with the virtual Eye, look at some of the eclectic links on the site.

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