Categories: Political spin / Trust and reputations
13 December 2009
David Cameron should stop blogging
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.
Oh I think the Conservatives should simply step up!
They need to arrange their website so that people can easily arrange events and activities. Give them the resources and let them get on with it.
The comments should simply go into a pool where they can be voted up (or not). Staffers sort through them to find out if there are any trends or insights.
IP addresses are known and it is quite simple to put together a profile for anyone. Let people make up their own minds.
What we are seeing here is a structure that is far too simplistic. The purpose of social media is to allow p2p. Let one person connect with another.
And if Labour have to spend resources on attacking the site, isn’t that a good thing? I am tend to be left-leaning but this is a competition and part of a competition is the feint and decoy!
Social media competence is important now. As much as competence in financial affairs and foreign policy. Let’s see who has the credibility to bring a social media team around their cause!
Jo, what you propose would certainly be amusing. The results of the votes on best comment would most likely be meaningless and perhaps even dangerous if they were taken seriously. Trawling such comments to spot trends is, I fear, a waste of time also (crap in crap out). And I think that privacy concerns might stop any website from revealing IP addresses and their profiles. So, I cannot agree with you.
So there we have it…’Labour have lost the right to govern’ where in the world, let alone the UK did anyone use such archane language… Oh Mrs Evans have you heard Labour has lost the right to govern …hey you in the kilt di you know ‘Labour have lost the right to Govern’ and as for you there spilling out of Benjie’s ‘did you know Labour had lost the right to govern. Who speaks like that….
If you want a conversation use the right language … betrayed by, cheated by, being taken for a ride…yes and in the blog there is evidence a plenty. Talk to the people not at them…if you want to get elected. In the UK the right to govern lasts until the sweet old lady calls from Buck House once the electorate have had their say and not before.
Paul, some good points there, but surely the comments getting thrown up online give the Tories a chance to see what people think of them? Or do you think the whole idea of using social media engagement does nothing to advance the cause at all?
(Don’t get me wrong I wouldn’t vote for someone because they tweet or blog, but if a party leader or local politician running did have a blog/tweets, it would give me a chance to find out more about them – and that could win me over).
Having said that, I do agree broadly with what you are saying. I did something similar with Santa, asking ‘Should Santa be using social media?’ and answering ‘no’. It can be found at http://www.contently-managed.com/blog/2009/12/14/why-santa-shouldnt-use-social-media/
Craig, there are many ways to find out what people think – the General Election is one. But the comments section on the Tory Blue Blog piece that I’ve mentioned does not illuminate anything much more than the ranting of outliers (give or take the odd exception). I’m all for blogging, I’m all for conversation and dialogue via their comment facilities, but political leaders (as opposed to all politicians) should show more dignity and less desperation to “connect” than does David Cameron right now (all it takes is twenty BNPers to mob his comments etc.; so some traps are easily avoided).
If he becomes Prime Minister, will he really expose himself in such silly ways?