THE GENERAL ELECTION is becoming ever closer – according to most of the opinion polls. But opinion polls aren’t always right – what else can we use to test the parties’ popularity with the punters.
In terms of national party leaders, the big news concerns Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) – who is celebrating reaching 1.1 million followers. Visitor to his twitter page will find 7,930 tweets dealing with aspects of Labour policy and the General Election. Jeremy joined Twitter in February 2010 – way before he became Labour Leader.
Theresa May (@theresa_may) is languishing some way behind. Her 318,000 followers will be able to browse only 252 tweets, posted since she joined Twitter just one year ago.
Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron (@timfarron) wins points for being on Twitter longer than either of the main party leaders: he joined in October 2009. Alas, even over this long time period, his 70,700 tweets have brought him just 13,000 followers.
The Green Party has two people sharing the job of Leader. Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) also joined Twitter in October 2009. Her 17,400 tweets have pulled in 223,000 followers. Co-Leader Jon Bartley (@jon_bartley) has clocked up 11,600 tweets since February 2009, bagging 20,500 followers.
The leaders of the two nationalist parties have a smaller catchment area to appeal to.
Leanne Wood (@LeanneWood), Plaid Cymru, has been tweeting since April 2008. She’s issued 21,800 tweets – attracting 40,300 followers.
Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) has tweeted 16,400 tweets since she joined Twitter in June 2010 – which has brought her a massive 682,000 followers.
Finally, UKIP leader Paul Nuttall tweets under the handle @paulnuttalukip (to avoid confusion with all those other Paul Nuttalls out there, presumably). Since he joined Twitter in October 2010, he’s managed only 5,980 tweets – and 40,600 followers.
Is it a case of the more tweeting, the better? Or does the public believe that politicians should stop tweeting and get down to some real work? Time will tell…
How do our local candidates fare on Twitter?
Bethnal Green & Bow
Rushanara Ali (Labour)
Joined Twitter: February 2011
Charlotte Chirico (Conservative)
Not found on Twitter
The Bethnal Green & Bow Conservative tweet welcoming her selection had 4 retweets and 10 likes. BGB Conservatives joined Twitter in June 2013. They have 1,291 tweets and 823 followers.
Ian de Wulverton (UKIP)
Not found on Twitter.
William Dyer (Lib Dems)
Joined Twitter: April 2009
Ajmal Masroor (Independent)
Joined Twitter: August 2009
Alistair Polson (Green)
Joined Twitter: February 2010
Poplar & Limehouse
Elaine Bagshaw (Lib Dem)
Joined Twitter: February 2009
Joined Twitter: March 2009
Jim Fitzpatrick (Labour)
Joined Twitter: October 2012
Bethan Lant (Green)
Joined Twitter: March 2012
Nicholas McQueen (UKIP)
Not found on Twitter
Oliur Rahman (Independent)
Joined Twitter: November 2010
Christopher Wilford (Conservative)
Joined Twitter: March 2014