Political Twitter

Lewisham Cllr Mike Harris writes in the Guardian today about his Kafkaesque experiences with the Lewisham Council standards board, after he was reported for his use of Twitter during last summer's riots. Apparently, the best online record of the episode is this page on Brockley Central, which the Guardian article links to.

We recall his tweets and some of the objections at the time and in our opinion and, more importantly, the opinion of the standards board, he did nothing wrong. It's true enough that riots followed his warnings, but given that riots kicked off all over town without his help, we think his words are best described as prescient, rather than inflammatory.

The bigger issue is whether cases like this discourage Councillors from expressing themselves via channels like Twitter. Social media is the best thing that has ever happened to local politics, creating an instant direct link between voters and their representatives. It would be a shame if instances like this one were to inhibit the growth of digital democracy and it would be good to see a few more of our elected representatives bothering to use social media to tell us what they are up to on our behalf.