THE battleground for some hearts and minds in the General Election will be fought more in cyberspace than in the constituencies.
There is a belief that one of the key factors that led to Barack Obama’s victory in the USA was the way he harnessed the power of new technology.
And would-be MPs over here are also turning to modern social media such as Twitter and Facebook.
Clearly these are far from the be all and end all – and they do have their dangers. One Labour Parliamentary candidate – Stuart MacLennan who was fighting the Moray seat in Scotland – was sacked after showing a total lack of judgement when he used twitter.
Probably not a good idea to use the term “coffin dodgers’’ to describe older people. They don’t like it. Other comments were totally obscene.
As it is, he has paid the ultimate price and also spotlighted another aspect of the current election campaign.
In the wake of the expenses scandal and other misdemeanours by MPs, anyone who wants to become one has to watch every word they say, send on email or text. Any indiscretion is sure to be picked up on and spotlighted. Rivals will be looking for any chink in their opponents’ armour and Mr MacLennan may not be the last to fall on his own sword.
Although modern media may reach out to younger voters, the main focus must remain on the doorsteps in the constituencies – for this election at least.
Someone who will make a good MP needs to be able to deal with voters face-to-face and confront a whole range of emotions head-on – anger, frustration, apathy and, if they are really lucky, exuberant support.