Exactly two years ago I appeared on a panel at City University pondering whether 2010 would be the first Twitter election. It looks like that time is upon us more than ever before in the forthcoming London Mayorals. Will Parbury’s blog Ventures at Data Science is running daily twitter polling to gauge support. Tweets are collated then run through something called R programming language where they are grouped according to content as either (i) positive (ii) negative or (iii) neutral. Spookily it seems to show both the candidates of the big two neck-and-neck on both counts of (+)s and (-)s sterday. The also rans though will be crucial in terms of transfers as its a system where candidates are numbered by preference with weaker candidates elminated at each stage.
Apparently when my kid sis chaired a debate for the Channel 4 News website the self-styled Dragons Den discovered independent housewife Siobhan Benita played well with the audience yet she has not appeared at all hustings – only the big parties plus Greens were allowed a platform at the recent high profile LBC and Newsnight versions as well as another that Samira Ahmed recently chaired aimed at London’s business community. Will reckons she’ll poll downwards of 5% but that more exposure may aid her. It looks like she’s campaigning hard to get a hearing but part of the reason against inviting her commonly given is that the BNP will then be entitled to attend (see Political Scrapbook’s taken on their man Carlos who has a not-too-true-Brit looking name and is an immigrant himself here).
Anyway it’ll be interesting to see what the twitter effect of all this is although ultimately tweets won’t win it, it’s actual votes in ballot boxes that will, talking of which this blog advises everyone with a vote to put Ken Livingstone first. If you do insist on another candidate for your first preference remember you can vote Labour 2nd. Just three weeks to go… a long time in politics, to paraphrase Harold Wilson.