Friday, July 24, 2009

Gordon Brown in his comfort zone

This is fascinating, there are some inaccuracies in the text here and there but what I find incredible about this is that here is a completely different side to Gordon Brown. His amusing anecdotes work, he has ideas, why is it then this character does not emerge in Westminster

I think it is comfort zones. Here he is in one. He is expressing ideas to an audience that want to hear and are not waiting to trip him up. He can be passionate here, whereas Westminster is too locked within party politics. An amazing difference. Perhaps demonstrates that some, like Tony Blair and David Cameron have not just the charisma but the mental skills that allow them to acclimatise to the pressures that face party leaders. Brown is a passionate but cerebral politician, he perhaps lacks those skills and so does not appeal to the audience that want simple cues about the character of a leader in the current fragmented media age. Just my thoughts!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Jo Swinson experiences the dangers of SNS

Social networking is becoming a part of the political communication process for many MPs, and linking up Twitter and Facebook is a way of getting messages out to a range of audiences. A couple of studies undertaken by myself and Nigel Jackson have shown party politics to be the least popular usage of such sites and perhaps this is one bit of clear evidence why not.
Liberal Democrats have the greatest number of MPs using social networking, and there is a logic for them to do things like this by Jo Swinson: advertise what party leader Nick Clegg contributed to PMQs. The mainstream media focus on the battle between prime minister and prime minister in waiting, not the actions of the minor parties to the same extent. So they try to alter this imbalance. However, once they are party political, and if they amass an array of friends or followers from outside of the party circle, they can gain comments such as this. If removed it suggests censorship, if not they have a highly negative, and yes pretty crude, comment about the current party leader on their profile. This can be embarrassing either way. Therefore, there are dangers with using SNS to promote the party in this way as such comments can also be mediated by other members of these communities and the result can be the antithesis of what was intended.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Twitter Control

I know that Hillary Clinton and John McCain are all now within Obama's team, but one would think that they would not all be saying exactly the same thing and almost exactly the same time. However it seems that the Obama machine is now in charge of all their Twitter accounts and so, if you are sad/unlucky/fortunate (delete as appropriate) to subscribe to all you end up with the feed (left). So who really thought that the live confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor needed that much publicity? More substantially, does this not suggest the stifling of the voices of those included into government because of their talent, I know it is 'only' Twitter, but it suggests a strong control mechanism over public/political communication from anyone with the Obama team. This seems to run counter to the notion of including your rivals and to the open and transparent image of the administration. or am I just a pedant?

No spin, no rhetoric, no bull, no idea

Have you ever wondered what politicians would be like if they had no special advisors, no spin doctors, they just appeared on camera and spoke like the ordinary guy in the street. This is the late Australian Labour Party senator Bob Collins, he had a rather chequered career but his has to be a high point. I would love to see Paxman's reaction to someone like this.