Clare and the Viper Part II: Show Down at the ODT

Last week I blogged about Clare Curran and Tat Loo’s exchange on Twitter. There were some links in there that pointed to this dispute being part of a longer running disagreement between the two. Tat Loo is Colonial Viper on the Standard, and he was one of the people that Clare Curran was accused of trying to silence from commenting on Labour party issues, or at least control how they were commenting.


Well it looks like the battle has broken out into the mainstream media. David Farrar over at Kiwiblog has blogged about a report in the ODT. The ODT starts:

The weeping sores of Labour Party divisions following a devastating election defeat are not confined to the Wellington Beltway. Political editor DeneMackenzie finds Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is fighting her own opposition.

It continues:

Mr Loo remained a strong supporter of former Labour leader David Cunliffe, who wants the job back but is facing a challenge from Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson, formerly of Dunedin.

Ms Curran and Dunedin North MP David Clark both supported Mr Robertson previously and can be expected to provide similar support in the Labour leadership contest.

And there is specific reference to the Twitter exchange:

Mr Loo was annoyed Ms Curran ”jumped on Twitter” to castigate him, believing she let herself down in her reactions.

”MPs should look after their own side and leave the party organisation to the party.”

Now I am not going to get involved in trying to figure out who is in the right and who is in the wrong about internal party issues around the status of branches. But this goes to show that MPs, and high profile members of parties, should be careful about how they use social media. Social media can draw attention to issues that may not otherwise gain attention. Social media provides a traceable, provable record of statements. If you don’t want something reported about, don’t post it on social media.


It is interesting to watch how issues and disputes that in the past would have stayed inside the party and out of the public eye are now being carried out in the public eye. There are a number of people from different factions within the Labour party who are using social media to discuss the Labour leadership race. I suspect that part of the issue between Clare and Tat comes down to this issue. Since one is an MP and one is a former candidate who is still engaged in the party, one element in their thought processes when engaging on social media should be “is this exchange in the best interests of the party”?