THE Daily Mail was name-checked nearly 20 times from the main stage at the Labour Party conference in Manchester this afternoon as trade union members heaped a bag of blame on the paper for their electoral defeat and sliding support. The recurring theme was that “the right wing media” didn’t give Labour a fighting chance. Now I wouldn’t downplay that newspaper’s significance, each day brings biting, uncompromising, criticism of Labour’s key players, but the whirring anger veered close to paranoia. So many references, there needs to be more than moans.
Islington councillor (and one of the Independent on Sunday’s ten young ones on the move) Jessica Asato has a solution: Get more MPs on Twitter. A panelist at the ‘Blogging for Labour’ fringe event – on the grounds she ran David Miliband’s leadership campaign online – this evening she outlined the we don’t need you defence against barbs from unfriendly newspapers.
She told a room of about 80: “We really do need more MPs on Twitter. There are lots of MPs who say ‘ooh yes, I have a Twitter profile’. You ask when did you last use it. “Well it was set up by my researcher and I tweeted once”. It’s not good enough. Either you do it or you don’t. It’s just like having a chat with the media. You wouldn’t go and say something to a local newspaper that you wouldn’t put on Twitter. As long as we can get over that initial fear, Twitter can be great for us. Let’s remember over the next four or five years we are going to be fighting a media that is not on our side and we need to us other mediums to get our message across. Twitter, online blogging, Facebook are fantastic ways of doing that, punching through, saying: We don’t need you, because we have got a big audience of our own.”