Yesterday, we learned that the UK Conservative party had purged its website of 10 years' archives of David Cameron speeches and set a robots.txt file in place that triggered purges on Google and Archive.org's caches. Today, the Guardian reports that the party has removed the videos from the "WebCameron" YouTube channel, that were originally billed as "behind-the-scenes" access to Cameron, and marketed as part of his campaign for political transparency. The party has declined to comment on the deletions.
The Webcameron videos were launched by the Tories in 2006 with great fanfare and were billed as a way for the public to see a more natural image of the then leader of the opposition.
"I want to tell you what the Conservative party is doing, what we're up to, give you behind-the-scenes access so you can actually see what policies we're developing, the things that we are doing, and have that direct link ... watch out BBC, ITV, Channel 4, we're the new competition. We're a bit shaky and wobbly, but this is one of the ways we want to communicate with people properly about what the Conservative party stands for," the future prime minister said.
Cameron aide Sam Roake described the videos at the time as "a significant change in the way politics has been done".
"It very much represents the values of David Cameron's Conservative party, of openness and community," he said.
The message of transparency was echoed in one of the speeches now removed from the party's website. George Osborne said in 2007: "We need to harness the internet to help us become more accountable, more transparent and more accessible – and so bridge the gap between government and governed."
Conservatives remove WebCameron from YouTube [Alex Hern/The Guardian]
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