In an article on their website, someone has written that “they have been vindicated by the uproar over the ‘twitterati’ and the way they have indiscriminately appeared to criticise an innocent man following a BBC broadcast.”
They go on to add that it is all too easy in this “technical age” to tweet something in haste that you might later regret. That is true, but it still doesn’t justify the luddite attitudes of the Tory group on the Borough Council.
You see some stupid people with twitter accounts decided that libel laws didn’t apply to them, either because they were famous, or because they were married to the Speaker of the House of Commons. They decided that *innocent face* would protect them from defamation. Ipswich Tories seem to see this as justification for a hatred of social media in all its forms. Maybe they also sit at home, refusing to watch television because some TV programmes, like BBC Newsnight and ITV’s This Morning, made some basic editorial errors. Perhaps they also eschew the reading of newspapers because the News of the World, and Piers Morgan edited The Mirror, both published news that they had acquired from sources that were not, shall we say, legal.
You see the objection people had to the Tories question at the last council meeting wasn’t that many Tories won’t deign to use social media – there are notable exceptions – but that they seemed to want to ban its use by councillors. So much for the espoused freedom of communication that the Prime Minister is insisting he is standing up for. Here in Ipswich the Tory Borough Council group feel that, by sending a tweet during a council meeting, Cllr Alasdair Ross is showing a lack of respect for Mayor Mary Blake and the other councillors. That because he is sending a tweet, somehow his concentration on the meeting is impaired. Utter rot.
They say, on their website, “We conservatives also feel it is important to give full attention to Council meetings, when we are there representing the best interests of our constituents.” Well who could argue with that. Yet the idea that all 48 councillors are sat there with rapt attention whilst listening to Cllr Pope drone on about Tory policies (oh wait, they don’t have any) is just silly. For a start, frequently they aren’t all there. If it is important to give full attention to Council meetings, surely the Tory whip wouldn’t have allowed Nadia Cenci to take a group of Stoke Park residents to Westminster with Ben Gummer MP on the same evening as a council meeting?
No doubt the same Ipswich Tories who insist that “thou shalt not tweet during council meetings” would dislike the rules in the House of Commons, where tweeting is allowed in the chamber, during debates. Certainly they must assume that Ipswich Borough Council meetings deal with issues vastly more important that the House of Commons does…
In an added twist of irony this evening, Tory blogger Kevin Algar tweeted the link to the article, referencing the Ipswich Tories twitter feed. It seems not all Ipswich Tories want to live in the past. Some are eager to grasp the 21st Century, at least when it comes to campaigning with social media.