Cameron prepares to join Twitter

Despite once declaring that "too many twits make a twat", the PM will reportedly be joining the site.

Despite his memorable declaration that "too many twits (sic) might make a twat" (a line most recently used to scold Tory MP Aidan Burley), David Cameron is reportedly poised to join Twitter. In today's Telegraph, Benedict Brogan writes:

There was a time when David Cameron thought Twitter was for t—s, but that was before the social media network became a turbo-charged means of shaping public and media opinion. Now it turns out that Twitter is for him, and Downing Street will shortly be introducing @DavidCameronLeader, or something similar, which will bring us the daily thoughts of the Prime Minister. The official No 10 account, which pumps out Government news and details of what Mr Cameron is up to, has more than two million subscribers, but cannot be used to make political points. The PM’s advisers, who are frustrated by hostility in the media and indifference among broadcasters, say Twitter will allow him to reach voters directly with his version of the Government’s successes and failures.

The entire media has just set its collective watch in anticipation of the moment the PM fulfils his own prophecy and becomes, yes, "a twat".

 

David Cameron will reportedly join Twitter "to reach voters directly". Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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Who will win the Copeland by-election?

Labour face a tricky task in holding onto the seat. 

What’s the Copeland by-election about? That’s the question that will decide who wins it.

The Conservatives want it to be about the nuclear industry, which is the seat’s biggest employer, and Jeremy Corbyn’s long history of opposition to nuclear power.

Labour want it to be about the difficulties of the NHS in Cumbria in general and the future of West Cumberland Hospital in particular.

Who’s winning? Neither party is confident of victory but both sides think it will be close. That Theresa May has visited is a sign of the confidence in Conservative headquarters that, win or lose, Labour will not increase its majority from the six-point lead it held over the Conservatives in May 2015. (It’s always more instructive to talk about vote share rather than raw numbers, in by-elections in particular.)

But her visit may have been counterproductive. Yes, she is the most popular politician in Britain according to all the polls, but in visiting she has added fuel to the fire of Labour’s message that the Conservatives are keeping an anxious eye on the outcome.

Labour strategists feared that “the oxygen” would come out of the campaign if May used her visit to offer a guarantee about West Cumberland Hospital. Instead, she refused to answer, merely hyping up the issue further.

The party is nervous that opposition to Corbyn is going to supress turnout among their voters, but on the Conservative side, there is considerable irritation that May’s visit has made their task harder, too.

Voters know the difference between a by-election and a general election and my hunch is that people will get they can have a free hit on the health question without risking the future of the nuclear factory. That Corbyn has U-Turned on nuclear power only helps.

I said last week that if I knew what the local paper would look like between now and then I would be able to call the outcome. Today the West Cumbria News & Star leads with Downing Street’s refusal to answer questions about West Cumberland Hospital. All the signs favour Labour. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.