Labour shouldn’t sack Twitter rogue MacLennan

Stuart MacLennan

Labour would have been far better off holding on to a candidate who talks like a true Twitter user

BY Tim Edwards LAST UPDATED AT 15:00 ON Fri 9 Apr 2010

The sacking of Stuart MacLennan as a Labour candidate after making abusive comments on Twitter is testimony to the fact that there are as many votes to be lost as won by the parties' efforts to harness the power of social networking websites.

It is also a warning to anyone planning a political career to separate their personal lives from their professional lives online. MacLennan's posts on Twitter included the observation that Nick Clegg can "fuck right off if he thinks he's in the same league as Brown and Cameron" and that X-Factor judge Louis Walsh is a "cunt" and that the TV talent show favourites Jedward were "odious little shits".

Such comments have seen MacLennan, who never really stood a chance of overturning the incumbent Scottish National Party MP Angus Robertson's 5,676 majority, sacked and his Labour party membership suspended. A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "Stuart MacLennan has been sacked as Labour's candidate for Moray for the totally unacceptable language which he has expressed online.

"On reading the comments in full, the Scottish Labour Party was outraged by their content."

But what MacLennan tweeted via his Twitter account - before he even became a Labour candidate - would be considered by most on Twitter as par for the course.

The point of a social networking site is to get noticed and make friends - and you get noticed on Twitter by writing amusing or provocative tweets. The media has been feigning shock at other tweets made by MacLennan and unearthed by the London Evening Standard:

"Just caused disquiet with my use of the word 'cunt' in polite company."

"Lots of chavs sitting at Stirling station."

"God this fair-trade, organic banana is shit. Can I have a slave-grown, chemically enhanced, genetically modified one please?"

The majority of Twitter users, were highly amused, with joan_jane_1239 putting it in true web-speak: "I don't think Stuart MacLennan should've been sacked. They should employ a lolz rule. If what they do brings the lolz, leave them be." ('Lolz' is the plural of laugh out loud.)

If Labour really wants to win over the social networking constituency, it would been far better off promoting MacLennan to a winnable seat: at least he talks the way most people speak on the internet - and gives the Twittering masses the lolz.

The sad news of Malcolm McLaren's death is a timely reminder that punks have been around for 40 years. Isn't it time the Labour party caught up?



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