U.K. Leader Makes YouTube Debut

In yet another example of politicians trying to reach out to younger generations, Gordon Brown has described his YouTube debut as an "exciting new initiative," telling viewers Monday that he was officially launching "Ask the PM" as a forum for citizens to raise their concerns about today's Britain.

"Politicians get a chance during Prime Minister's questions," Brown said referring to the weekly Q&A sessions when Brown spends half an hour being grilled by Members of Parliament.

"I think it's time the public get a chance."

In the United States, candidates from both parties were quick to establish channels on the video-sharing site, attracting participation from the likes of Democratic hopefuls Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as well as Republican nominee John McCain. YouTube went so far as to set up a special hub for the 2008 presidential candidates.


But what many critics may be wondering is whether this is a genuine attempt by the Prime Minister to become closer to his constituency or simply a marketing ploy by his spin doctors to reign in criticism that has dogged Brown over the last few months.

The videos submitted have come from all walks of life – many of them from people under 30, perhaps because of their familiarity with the YouTube forum. Questions range from improving education in the U.K. to the spiraling price of housing, from gun crime to the lack of underground facilities for the disabled.

Brown has promised to answer viewers' questions with his very own video messages via www.youtube.com/downingst.