This second update is at the start because just now on Twitter Christopher Dempsey has apologised to Dick Quax for his comments.
It isn’t just politicians at a national level who use Twitter, and more generally social media, as a tool of communication. There are members of local boards around the country who are using Twitter and social media to build their profile. However, due to the weaker influence of parties, or party like organisations, there is less structure and training around the importance of staying on message and keeping things civilised. Most of the local body politicians I follow on Twitter are very good. In fact in some ways they are better than national level politicians at sticking to the topic of debate and engaging in meaningful debate. However there are some who fail this test. Today I spotted this tweet:
Now this is obviously going to elicit a response. The response starts out well. Until Christopher’s third tweet.
If he had left it after the second tweet, it would have been a good discussion. However he didn’t.
So far, neither side has covered themselves in glory when it comes to the issue of engaging in high quality, informed debate. However It is the next element of the exchange that raises questions about judgement.
Now I may be alone in my reading of this, but I see this as Christopher Dempsey accusing Dick Quax of being a pedophile. Is this acceptable behavior for an elected official? Should we expect more of our elected officials? Even if they are only members of local boards? This is not the first time that Christopher has sent questionable tweets.
Around the time of the downing on MH17 he sent the following tweets:
Christopher is establishing a track record of someone who shoots off at the mouth without thinking of how it reflects on himself or his position. If we as a country want to lift the quality of the debate, then we should be holding all those in public office to a higher standard.
Christopher Dempsey has replied to my tweet about this blog post:
So as per the request of Christopher Dempsey:
Yes it does state “view my own”. However I do not think that excuses his comments. Nor does it remove the fact that his comments also reflect upon him, as well as the position he holds. Personally, for elected officials I think views my own qualifiers on profiles are a cop out. If you are an elected official, you are elected for your views. You will rightly be held to a higher standard of behaviour. Just because you say it is your view does not remove the fact that you are an elected official. Your actions also reflect on those who voted for you.