As if the week hasn’t been going badly enough for her, Premier Kathy Dunderdale decided to make it all the worse on Thursday with her scrum about her Twitter account.
Here’s what we have learned:
- Neither the Premier nor anyone else in her office understands how social media works. Her talk about some phantom attaching something to her Twitter account is laughable. The only people who don’t seem to understand how dumb Kathy’s comments sound are her own people since she keeps saying them. Either they agree or can’t stop her. Either way…
- There are no adults in charge. Kathy’s capricious decision to get rid of the account shows not only horribly stupid judgment but a decision-making system based on whim.
- The management problems start at the top: These days, social media should be part of a comprehensive communications plan. The fact that Kathy hasn’t used her account in a year tells us that neither she nor anyone else in her administration has a clue what they are doing or the ability to make positive, productive things happen. No wonder they are crapping out in the polls and headed for record-setting lows.
- Director of Social Media: $56K per year. What does this person do? Why wasn’t this person keeping an eye on the Premier’s Twitter account?
- No government cell phone = Big Issues. A government cellphone ensures that government documents and communications are traceable and accountable. The fact the Premier dumped her government issued Blackberry for a personal phone opens up all sorts of questions - with potentially serious implications - about accountability, confidentiality, and security.
- “I have taken the position personally that I don't want to be engaged.” Add that line to the bit about cellphones, the lack of a communications director, and a few other tidbits and you can start to see a premier getting ready to spend a lot more time with the grand-kidlets. That’s where she wanted to go in 2010 until someone came up with a scheme to make her Premier. She’s already bitching about the job as much or more than Danny did before he quit. Don’t be surprised if Kathy disengages from politics entirely pretty soon.
- "Is there some requirement that I have to read every letter, read every email, have a Twitter account, be engaged in Facebook?” Yes. Premiers get a political staff - Kathy employs 21 people - to help her do all of that. No single person could do it. But generally, the Premier and her staff need to be aware of what is going on and factor that into their plans. The fact Kathy is bitching about that screams out that she is fed up and looking to leave.
- “We live in public life, we're examples to people, we need to be careful about what we're doing.” Absolutely true. Unfortunately, Kathy Dunderdale and her colleagues have spent 10 years showing people how to be petty and personal, as we’ve seen this week with the vicious smear aimed at Gerry Rogers. Then she whines about it when a relatively small number of others sink to the same level. If Kathy Dunderdale or any of her Conservative allies were serious about the tone of politics, they could change it tomorrow by cleaning up their own act.
- She’s very, very angry. At one point early in the scrum, the Premier calls her “Rogers”, a clear sign both of Dunderdale’s anger but also Dunderdale’s fundamental disrespect for the NDP politician. Later, she claims that the anti-Dunderdale facebook group promotes violence. It seems that the entire fabrication about Rogers and threats - and that’s what it is – comes out of Dunderdale’s anger aimed squarely at Rogers, personally. Go back to Point 8.
- There are more important things. There are more important things in the province than Kathy Dunderdale’s personal vendetta against Gerry Rogers. Kathy and the Keystone Kops just don’t want to talk about them. They control the agenda just as they control the tone of public debate. Kathy Dunderdale needs to stop blaming everyone else for her problems and start looking in the mirror.