Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Thursday, 21 May 2015


Just before the election I was strongly advised by a marketing expert to make use of social media during the forthcoming campaign.

His logic was that platforms (get the jargon) such as twitter and Facebook are now the primary way that journalists get their material to start work on an article. To my old-fashioned mind, unless a piece was in the written or traditional broadcast media, TV and radio, it did not exist and it did not matter.

Reluctantly I agreed to tweet. Clumsily at first and then started to get the hang of it and now it is becoming second nature. The advice was right. Sending out an interesting tweet achieves two things. It is read by the people who are following you and several constituents and local opinion formers are now doing so, and it catches the attention of the mainstream journalists who follow their local MP's tweets with great interest, doubtless hoping for the jaw-dropping faux-pas.  I have learned that sending out a picture is important and it is necessary to think once, twice and then a third time before pressing the send button. My election tweets have also made a media star out of my Siamese cat, Colin, who expressed a range of trenchant opinions during the campaign about the prospect of a Labour/SNP government that I would not possibly dare to express myself.

The key lesson is that we have to move with the times. I do not want to use social media, but if I wish to communicate with the people who I am seeking to represent at Westminster, I have no real choice.

My father was reminiscing over the weekend about the changes in farming techniques since he started as a cowman in 1947. Then he milked by hand. Milk was delivered by horse and cart to the door. Now some local dairy farms have automatic milking systems where the cows go in twice a day and are milked by machines automatically. Now we all buy milk at supermarkets. The outcome remains the same: dairy farmers produce milk which the rest of us consume.

MPs are elected to represent their voters at Westminster and to make laws. Diligent MPs try to stay in touch with those who send us to Parliament. Technology determines how we do it.

It is pointless trying to stand against the march of technology. It is better to embrace it and use it for benevolent purposes.

I can be found on Twitter @gary4swdevon and Facebook

posted by Gary @ 09:33