MPs and Twitter: when it all goes wrong

Friday, 27 August 2010

I was appalled to see what my MP, Stewart Jackson, has been up to on Twitter this week. A classic case of obnoxious tweeting which exposes a person's true colours.

As reports of rising STI cases hit the headlines this week, with a local news story highlighting the fact that infection rates in Peterborough are the fourth highest in the Eastern region, Mr Jackson tweeted:
V disappointing news on STD rates in Pboro. No doubt our liberal friends will tell us we need MORE sex education - as it's worked so well!
And when Twitter users such as Dr Petra Boynton criticised his statement and provided him with links to accurate statistics and other information on sexual health, he replied:
Touched a raw nerve with shrill intolerant pro sex education Lefties who don't like debating the issues. Wonder why not?
And in case you weren't cringing enough, Mr Jackson wasn't finished. As people continued to contact him urging him not to fall victim to scaremongering about sexual health and care about the welfare of his constituents, he went on:
Re. Sex education Memo to sad tedious sex obsessed Leftie weirdos - do please tweeting me You're confusing me with someone who's interested.
And there you have it. Residents of Peterborough, your MP would like the world to know that he really doesn't care about major health concerns in the city he represents. As a parting shot later today, he added:
Left are simply unable to debate issues without personal abuse and vicious shrill denunciation. Important we keep them locked out of power.
So. We start off with some blame-shifting to make it sound as if better sex education and awareness of societal problems could not possibly improve sexual health. Then we move on to insults. And we end with a statement that THIS, all you right-thinking people out there, is why we need to keep the left 'locked out of power'.

After some blogosphere coverage the BBC picked up the story and Dr Petra appeared on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire to comment on Mr Jackson's behaviour (news story subsequently published here).

Personally I'd love to know that my MP cares about the welfare of his constituents and has something more to say about serious issues affecting them than "You're confusing me with someone who's interested". Unfortunately, that doesn't appear to be the case. It'll be nice to know what he's got to say when he becomes officially available for comment again.

There's a way to use Twitter well in a professional capacity, Mr Jackson, and this isn't it.

Screencap via this handy Facebook album.

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