My main issue with our new Minister for the Internets is the scant regard he has for the general web community. At times, it’s almost as if our ways are completely alien to him, and stuff that seems obvious or second nature to us completely escapes him. That, or he’s one of those two-faced bastards who really don’t give a tuppeny stuff.
[Psst! I suspect the latter given the way he’s repeatedly turned a blind eye to local Tory web activists smearing an opponent as a paedophile (and me as a computer criminal). You need to be a special brand of bastard to stand by and allow that kind of stuff to go on in your neighbourhood when it suits you.]
Recently, I revealed that Jeremy Hunt doesn’t maintain an archive on his ‘blog’; he just throws old entries away, comments and all, never to appear again. He doesn’t even understand (or care) how impolite this is to the people who trust him with those comments.
And now the election is over and he’s got what he wanted from his Twitter audience, Jeremy Hunt has just deleted almost every tweet he made during the election. Tellingly, he has had time to make dozens of manual deletions, but has not even bothered to update his profile, which still reads as follows:
Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for South West Surrey and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Here’s a screen capture of the only tweets left on his Twitter account today:
And here, for the record, are twenty of the tweets that Jeremy Hunt tried to erase from history.
Note how it begins with a pledge to his constituents; the link to this has been erased, and the pledge itself is also due for deletion soon (along with everything else that turns up on his ‘blog’). Does Jeremy Hunt not know or care what message this sends about his commitment to that pledge or any other?
– My pledge to South West Surrey: http://www.jeremyhunt.org/
12:41 PM May 3rd via web
– Good canvassing in Haslemere yesterday, visiting Frensham, Wrecclesham, Godalming & North Farnham today
9:06 AM May 1st via Twikini
– Nick Clegg contradicted LD policy on benefits, Steve Webb says JSA should be unconditional #leadersdebate
9:47 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Oh so Nick does support anmesty now….#leadersdebate
9:27 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– U turn on anmesty by Clegg after u turn on euro – what next? #leadersdebate
9:25 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Ahem Brown visited manufacturer today where worker told him company was flourishing DESPITE him #leadersdebate
9:15 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Clegg shameless u turn distancing himself from euro which he championed last year #leadersdebate
9:06 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– So Nick Clegg has never accepted donations from fund managers then? Mmmmm#leadersdebate
9:02 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Best explanation from DC ever on why Conservatives will rein in bankers #leadersdebate
8:59 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Who are the vice chancellors of parties Nick?#leadersdebate
8:46 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Keep grinning Gordon wins us millions of votes #leadersdebate
8:44 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Just arriving in Chippenham to help our brilliant candidate Wilfred EJ & greeted by a downpour. Need a Wiltshire cuppa
12:30 PM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Just been canvassing in Portsmouth with our candidate Flick Drummond & didn’t meet a single LibDem voter
11:05 AM Apr 29th via Twikini
– Wilkinson_David: Off to BBC London Election Special in Stratford with @jowellt @jeremy_hunt @thomasbrake @georgegalloway Hope I can get a question in
4:48 PM Apr 27th via web
Retweeted by Jeremy_Hunt
– #leadersdebate Gordon Brown just made biggest gaffe of campaign but denying responsibility for Labour leaflets
9:02 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
– Don’t think Miriam will be inviting DC for tea and cake #leadersdebate
8:54 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
– @leadersdebate best exposition ever from DC of Big Society
8:50 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
– @leadersdebate Clegg ‘u can’t keep a lid on sin’ does he want to be next pope?
8:39 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
– @leadersdebate Nick Clegg script: there’s always an easy answer even when there isn’t e.g nuclear
8:33 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
– @leadersdebate Brown hasn’t flown because he shut the flipping airspace
8:27 PM Apr 22nd via Twikini
[Twitter users may note that Hunt begins the Leaders’ Debate a little bit confused about the difference between a username and a hashtag. I’ve left these dead links in place, as they’re instructive. You may also note that there are no replies. Yes, this sample is typical. To Hunt, Twitter was very much a one-way channel.]
UPDATE (1pm) – Jeremy Hunt has responded by (finally) updating his profile… and deleting the three remaining tweets on his account!
I think by this stage it’s pretty safe to guess what the underlying message is from the new Minister for the Internets:
UPDATE (8pm) – Almost forgot to update with a link to today’s Telegraph article, including a response from Mr Hunt’s office:
Telegraph – Jeremy Hunt deletes all tweets critical of Nick Clegg and Liberal Democrats: Many of Mr Hunt’s tweets criticising the Lib Dems are potentially embarrassing given the Lib-Con coalition, but a spokeswoman for the minister denied there was any attempt to airbrush the past. All of the South West Surrey MP’s campaign tweets have now been deleted because his ministerial role represents “a new chapter and we are starting afresh”, she said. The spokeswoman added: “They were pre-government and we are now tweeting post-government. He is going to carry on tweeting, and his updates will appear on the DCMS website.” She confirmed that Mr Hunt updated his Twitter account personally, and would continue to do so. He has more than 3,000 followers.
Jeremy Hunt later attempted to reassure us in person with this tweet, in which he appears to imply that some concerns may not be genuine:
Problem is, no-one’s really buying it, and that he thinks this to be the issue shows once again that Hunt hasn’t even begun to get it.
[Psst! Jeremy! It is not just about what you do/don’t have to hide. It is about the way you pretend that things were never said. It is about the way you refuse to stand by what you publish and simply erase it instead. If those tweets were of no consequence, then why not leave them be? If you regretted them and didn’t wish to stand by them, why not issue a retraction and/or an apology to Nick Clegg (and others)? Oh, and perhaps have the courtesy to explain to us voters why your position has changed on any/all of it. Don’t pretend the latter concept is insignificant or alien to you; during the election and long before that, throughout your political career, you’ve challenged others to stand by or account for their past statements, and you damn well know it.]