Bloggers debate role of new media in politics at second 'Twinge' event

Conservative blogger Iain Dale claimed it was 'complete fallacy' that Labour cabinet ministers use Twitter at last night's Conservative 'Twinge' event.

Conservative blogger: Iain Dale
Conservative blogger: Iain Dale

Dale was speaking at the second ‘Twinge' event at the Conservative Party Conference, which also featured Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and ConservativeHome editor Tim Montgomerie as panelists. The event was run by Fishburn Hedges and Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosted the session in Manchester last night.

Dale said at the event: ‘It's a complete fallacy to say that there are Labour cabinet members on Twitter because it is their special advisers who are doing it.'
 
Dale also claimed John Prescott's tweets were written by his son David Prescott: ‘The whole point of the internet is that if you don't keep it real you get found out, and I'm afraid that nobody should believe that John Prescott does all this. He may dictate the odd bit for his son to do from time to time, but it is his son [writing it].'
 
Meanwhile, Hannan used the event to defend his criticisms of the NHS earlier this year, which sparked the popular ‘WelovetheNHS' Twitter campaign (PRWeek, 18 August 2009).
 
‘I wrote a book a year ago, calling for Singapore-style personal health accounts. And I have spent a year trying to get people in the British TV media to take those ideas seriously. So to ignore me and then to suddenly make it a big story when Labour starts attacking it, and then to turn around and say "Why do you say these things in America rather than the UK", strikes me as a bit much.'

He then claimed the campaign had been organised by the Labour Party, which was refuted by the campaign creator Graham Linehan on Twitter.

Last week Fishburn Hedges ran a similar event at the Labour Party conference in Brighton. Panellists included Ed Balls MP, Tom Watson MP, former Labour minister Caroline Flint and Labour Twitter czar Kerry McCarthy (PRWeek, 29 September 2009).

Flint told a packed crowd that Twitter could be used 'to get your version of the truth out there quickly'.

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