Lib Dem MPs on Twitter

I spent at least some time this weekend mentally upbraiding Iain Dale for his paranoia in thinking that technical faults that got in the way of a David Cameron interview with Andrew Marr stemmed from Labour supporting techies pulling the plug.  Cameron had apparently insisted on being interviewed from home because the week before, Gordon Brown had been interviewed from 10 Downing Street.  Iain tells us further the Beeb were none to happy with the arrangement but Cameron insisted.

So clearly, the only rational explanation was that peeved techies forced to do OB work on a Sunday combined with Aunty’s inherent leftwing bias for all its employees meant that the highly trained professional staff deliberately sabotaged the interview, whilst producers sat in the control room laughing. Ha ha ha, what japes!

Perhaps a slightly more rational interpretation was that as a seat of government as well as the grace and favour home of the Prime Minister, 10 Downing Street is much better suited for live TV broadcasts than Cameron’s Oxfordshire seat? Surely not.

I mention this because it’s important to recognise in ourselves as well as our opponents when political partiality clouds our judgement and leads us to assume a conspiracy where it is in fact unlikely.

Which MPs use Twitter?

It’s a lead in to a story on the Guardian about twitter celebrities which includes a short section on twittering MPs.  And that short section mentions the Prime Minister, a cabinet minister and a number of Labour politicians.  It also at the end throws in Boris Johnson, Tory mayor of London, despite the fact that he’s not an MP.

There is no mention at all of Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat MP who was the first MP of any party to use Twitter.

And whilst TomHarris1964 , who has managed to update only 18 times since joining in November got a name check, his North West Scotland colleague the Lib Dem MP Jo Swinson, who has over 200 followers and has updated 300 times, was mysteriously omitted from the list.

Rant, rant froth froth.  Clearly the excessively partisan Guardian has swallowed a line from the Labour party, and is using its position to do us down again.  How awful.  Evil Guardian.

Finding MPs who Twitter

Rather than see it is a conspiracy, we need to see it as a wake up call that we need to work harder to get the message across.  Google “MPs on Twitter” and there’s not much sign in Google’s response that the Lib Dems exist.  Sure, if you actually follow some of the links, such as this one from the Register you get a pretty clear idea, almost instantly, that there are MPs of all parties doing it.  And if you can page down all the way to the 10th result – two whole depressions of the Pg Dwn key – you find a link to the Voice’s own Will Howells talking about MPs who Twitter.  They could even have tried Tweetminster.

But hey – this is the Guardian.  They probably don’t have time to press Pg Dwn in between verses of the Red Flag and editing the Social Worker’s Guide to Political Correctness.

UPDATE:  Kudos to the Guardian’s Tech editor Jack Schofield  for updating his original article to include Jo and Lynne before this blog post got published :)  And double kudos for replying politely and promptly to my email saying he’d done it.

UPDATE 2: at Iain Dale’s prompting I’ve reread his article more carefully and realised he didn’t say what I thought he said.  Mind you, some of the commentors on his piece clearly seem to think it even if he doesn’t. 

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  • oxfordshire observer 12th Jan '09 - 5:07pm

    The brick background for Cameron’s interview was most definitely not what you’d see in his constituency.

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