Friday, December 9, 2011

A True Reflection?

Some politicians really shouldn't get involved in social media.

There are those that use networks like twitter just to broadcast things that are going on, rather than actually interacting with the community. I suppose that is better than nothing, but only just.

Then there are those politicians who don't seem to realise that when you behave on twitter like you behave in private, people notice.  And it matters.

I give you @PeterPhelpsMLC.
Photo from his twitter page
Peter's only been on twitter for a few weeks, but already some of his tweets recently have struck me as a little odd.

We've had comment on the "Libertarian support for unrestricted drug use":
I don't even understand this one:
We've had an intelligent contribution to the Global Warming debate:
There's been a little dating advice for protesters, which was generous of him:
In any event, this morning I saw this tweet and decided to say something:
More than a little disturbed by such juvenile behaviour a Member of the Legislative Council, I tweeted the following:
Subsequently, several people including Penny Sharpe (Labor MLC) have claimed that it is a real account.

A good friend of mine then tweeted the following:
This is what Peter had to say:
I still can't believe someone who has been elected to sit in our Upper House could be stupid enough to send that kind of tweet.

I'll leave the final word to Peter himself.  This was the first tweet he sent:
Peter, clearly it would be better for all of us if you handed your BlackBerry into someone responsible.  You're a disgrace.

UPDATE: I've attempted to bring this blogpost to both Peter and his staff's attention, as well as Barry O'Farrell.  If I receive any comment, I'll be sure to post it here.

UPDATE 2: Jo Tovey just published this piece on SMH

UPDATE 3: Barry O'Farrell just tweeted the following.  It wasn't a response to me as such, but it is pretty clear what it is about.
UPDATE 4: So now this is a thing:
From the SMH front page
Also, this made me laugh...
It appears that this has caused a stir....


  1. You do realise this is a fake account right?

    Although Peter did allow a fake account to run since 25 Nov without any complaint or request for twitter to brand the account as a fake. Maybe the disgrace is justified. Welcome to the era of #SocialMedia.

  2. So on the one hand we're critical of politicians for being too 'politik' and not speaking their mind in person and then hypercritical that it isn't appropriate when they do speak their mind in public?

    I like it. It's honest, it's vibrant, it contributes to discussion and it shows that Peter's not a bog standard beige politician.

    Frankly I think this country would be a lot better off if more politicians were willing to tell constituents to go fuck themselves.

    I'm sure that he's a Liberal probably also has nothing to do with it. I'm certain if it was an MP telling someone who was anti AGW to go fuck themselves everyone would be responding in the same way.

    Though please, continue your crusade to keep political communications anodyne.

    If the worst he's done is been a prick on twitter, then in the grand history of NSW politicians that's basically grounds for canonisation.

  3. It's not a fake account. He was tweeting from the mises dinner and several people verified that it's him running the account.

  4. Reasons I don't think it is fake:

    - Penny Sharpe said so.

    - Jeremy Buckingham implied it was him:

    - James Parker did too:

    - I've tweeted Barry O'Farrell and Phelp's staffer (who was the first person his account followed) and they haven't denied it

    - If you read through his tweets, many seem to correspond to his daily activities as a MLC (eg the initial Rhonda V tweet). If it is a fake account, that is an odd thing to tweet.

    - The tweets are sent on a Blackberry, and he uses a Blackberry:

    The moment anyone from the Coalition denies it's him, then I'll reassess. Until then, I'm satisfied.

  5. @Dan

    I have no problem with him speaking his mind. I am also very aware that the debate on twitter can be a vibrant, to say the least.

    But he is, to use your work, being a prick. And I think we have the right to expect a little more from our elected representatives.

    To quote a DM I got a moment ago: "I can only imagine I would be fired from my job for such language..."

  6. I thought this bloke looked vaguely familiar. Just checked his wikipedia page, I went to school with him. He was a smarmy prick then, too.

  7. I love that the guy who claims it's a fake account is Anonymous.

  8. I have an expression for such ill-advised outbursts: Twourette's Syndrome.

  9. I was actually so surprised a public figure would be stupid enough to tweet this, that my first thought was fake account (hacked was a close second).

    Still not ruling it out, but seems less likely now (thx Dan & Tiedt).

    If he did say it, he is an idiot not fit for office. If he didn't, the lack of apology & excuse show his PR and management skills are manifestly inadequate for political office in this digital era.

    Then again, is he less fit for office than the alternative? It is NSW politics - there isn't much choice.


  10. Is the general suggestion here that anybody who uses the word "fuck" should not be in politics?

    My previous prediction that soon all politicians will be political hacks groomed from age 12 or fundamentalist Mormons might be coming true sooner than expected. The whole world (except Dan & me) has gone hyper-sensitive with Victorian morals.

    If you can show me anybody who has been fired from writing "fuck" on twitter, then I'll be quite impressed. Somehow, I doubt it.

  11. I think Mr Tiedt is right to say we should expect more of our elected representatives. I don't care that he said fuck. But I do care that he clearly can't handle criticism, or engage in debate, or see an issue from someone else's point of view. But that's an issue for his electorate to deal with, and for all we know he could work very hard for them and blah blah blah.

    This isn't about wanting dull politicians or being "hyper-sensitive". It's just about pointing out that this guy is a dickhead.