The “snowstorm in a teacup” incident where Charlotte Vere re-tweeted a link to an outrageous blog that likened the policies of the Green Party to those of the BNP (for which Charlotte apologised), raises the two edged sword that is the mighty Twitter. It is so easy to Tweet or re-Tweet something and for it then to get ‘legs’. It has caused me to think about how the three candidates for Brighton Pavilion are using Twitter and other new media.
Nancy Platts has for some considerable time made very effective, and at times, humourous use of new technologies. Her style is warm and engaged with a strong focus on local issues and what she is doing. Anyone following her will have no doubt about her commitment to Brighton Pavilion and be impressed by her personal campaign. A great example of her blogging can be found on “Tory stories, Tory cuts, my thoughts on what it’s meant leaving social care in Tory hands in Brighton” . Nancy has had a very high profile regarding the campaign to save the Preston Circus Fire Station, just one example of street-level activity for which she is know and respected. Nancy has 693 Twitter followers.
Caroline Lucas, as the national leader of the Greens, has a different focus – more on national issues and events. Even though this blog has called for a Green tactical vote in Brighton Pavilion, there remain concerns about Caroline as a local candidate. Her Tweets refect this, although there is an increased focus on local issues, such as the campaign to save the Brighton History Museum. That campaign has a high Twitter profile and can easily be supporter from Brussels. What Caroline needs to do is to raise some original, local issues that are original to her, and not issues fed by her campaign team or joined online. Her new website is impressive, but again the local issues are all those championed by Green councillors locally. Caroline has 978 Twitter followers. As yet she has chosen not to follow @BrightonPolitic, the rather wonderful Twitter of the Brighton Politics Blogger which this blog highly and without reservations recommends!
Chuck Vere (you notice that, following her apology, it is back to the rather familiar and intimate ‘Chuck’ as opposed to the sterner Ms Vere) has, as previously stated on this blog, hit the ground running with her website although she is yet to define herself as either local or London. A lot of her Tweeting and blogging is on issues such as Gordon Brown’s leadership. She doesn’t need to do that since it does not add to the overall debate and makes her come across as a party political hack, and being a cheerleader for David Cameron is not going to be a big vote winner, even if she thinks it will. She also adds to an image as a hack by making direct and rather shallow jibes at Caroline over her expenses as an MEP. Chuck has 190 Twitter followers.
Where Caroline has done well is to avoid responding directly to the jibes from Chuck Vere. She addresses the issues but gives no name-check to Chuck. She knows the number 1 rule of local political campaigning. The electorate don’t respond positively to name-calling by candidates against their opponents. To quote that great political strategist, Thumper, from the Disney film Bambi: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all”.
Filed under: blogging | Tagged: BNP, Brighton History Museum, Brighton Pavilion, Brighton Politics Blogger, Caroline Lucas, Charlotte Vere, David Cameron, Disney, Gordon Brown, Green Party, Nancy Platts, Preston Circus Fire Station, Thumper, Twitter | 2 Comments »