It’s Sunday morning. It’s snowing on my side of Zurich lake. All’s well with the world. So I’ll read the Blue Blog on Conservatives.com, I thought. What I discovered was some loud gobs talking offensive nonsense, and that under David Cameron’s nose. Does he really want this, I ask myself.
Let’s first get a sense of what’s being said. Here’s comment number one on Cameron’s latest piece “Labour have lost the right to govern“:
“…with your wishy-washy performance, I am not convinced that you are the man to lead the Conservatives forward.”
Then there’s others, and here’s some badlights:
“…It is time for all none believers to resing the House – as this is the only way to bring the matter to a head”
“….When is the last time that a politician ever proclaimed anything other than anger at a pre-election budget and called it all manner of fraud etc etc etc.”
“David, You’ve always struck me as a decent guy, and coming from a working class background, with aspirations of bettering my lot in life, I find Brown’s class war abhorrent.
“Help is only an email away – just ask me.”
“Apart from the rubbish spoutd by the pro tobacco candidate, all of these comments simply rereat what too many people are saying, far far too many.”
“I have allways been a Conservative voter but after watching PMQ time every week i dont personally feel your strong enough to run this country.”
“I am a lifelong conservative from a business/conservative background. I don’t believe that any of you have “earned” the right to form the next government.”
What kind of masochist sets himself up for this? There were were 144 comments on this piece. Most of them were unhelpful and illiterate. It was difficult to know (there were no click-throughs to websites) whether they were from real people or were organised hits by political opponents. Many were arguably the work of the angry brigade with time on their hands.
The question is what purpose does providing a platform to such ranting serve? It does nothing, I would argue, to advance David Cameron’s image. Reading the comments was far from exhilarating or illuminating. It was in fact depressing.
I then switched over to the Labour Party’s website. To its credit – never mind the reason – there was no room or facility to leave comments. Labour seems to have had the good sense to put its blogs elsewhere.
The question is should political leaders blog, Twitter or use Facebook? Well,I think not. It seems that Barack Obama kind of agrees with me. He revealed recently that he’s never Twittered in his life and that he can’t use the Blackberry he clutched so conspicuously during his election campaign.
Politics and politicians have an image problem. But phoney engagement, dialogue and interactivity will not help solve it. Such techniques have nothing to do with serious debate or with listening. Our politicians should show more self-respect and dignity if they want to win back our respect – and that means standing back from social media nonsense.