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Archives for February 2010

John Prescott - two jags, two jabs and now two phones

Len Tingle | 13:08 UK time, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

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John Prescott

John Prescott might be stepping down from his Hull seat at the election but he has hit the campaign trail running.

He says he's driving a "virtual" battle bus this time around.

The veteran bruiser is using Facebook and Twitter to get to those parts most other politicians cannot reach - young voters.

I caught up with him as he popped into our Leeds studios to record an interview with the Politics Show.

"Facebook is just amazing," he told me.

"I got 5,000 friends straight away. I didn't even know I had 5,000 friends. And I ask them things all the time.

"I was struggling to decide whether to upgrade my phone to an iPhone or a Blackberry.

Straight away they said, "John... get both. You've got two jags why not two phones as well?"

Twitter insights

Len Tingle | 13:06 UK time, Tuesday, 16 February 2010

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Twitter logo c/o TwitterAt a "meet the Yorkshire candidates" event with the Conservatives I heard an alternative view on the advantages of campaigning on Internet social networks.

"Twitter's great," said one of the party hopefuls.

"I don't use it myself but my Labour opponent does. He posts so many messages every day that I know exactly where he is and what he is campaigning about all the time. Best information I could have!"

I'm too interested in finding out whether this electronic insight into the opposition's campaign strategy really does give any advantage to reveal exactly where this is happening.

But clearly somebody in charge is worried.

A couple of days later the Conservatives nationally ruled that its candidates can't post anything on social web sites without clearing the wording with the party's newly appointed "Twitter Tsar".

And who has the right amount of street cred to vet these messages aimed at the "youf vote"?

Step forward former Bradford council leader and now Chairman of the Conservative party Eric "web-maister" Pickles.

Late kick off

Len Tingle | 17:42 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

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Football and netIt's amazing where reporting on politics takes me.

At 8 o'clock on a snowy Wednesday evening I was in a giant disused factory unit on the outskirts of Grimsby.

It was packed with men of all ages, shapes and sizes taking part in a five-a-side football league.

Someone had the bright idea of turning it into an indoor football arena and so many teams want to play that the games go on until 11 o'clock at night.

Why was I there with the cameras from the Politics Show?

Well, this was a private initiative that had been backed with seed capital from a government scheme aimed at creating new businesses - and jobs - in some of our most deprived areas.

The scheme... and another four like it in similar places across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, wanted to head off any suggestion they might be part of public spending cuts made by any future government.

They claim doing that would be an own goal... and few of the teams sweating it out for the championship on the night I was there would have disagreed.

Fast track promotion

Len Tingle | 17:29 UK time, Friday, 5 February 2010

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Nick Clegg c/o Getty ImagesBusiness leaders in West and North Yorkshire like to pride themselves on being "in the know" - but they outdid themselves at the recent annual dinner of the York and Leeds Chambers of Commerce.

Guest of honour was Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg who had told them in advance he had to leave straight after his speech to catch a train back to London.

President of the Chamber Gary Mumby apologised to the 500 guests packed into a Leeds hotel by explaining that Mr Clegg had to leave on "urgent Government business"... perhaps we should be told.

But maybe the business leaders aren't quite sure of what government they'll be dealing with in future after all.

The York and Leeds chamber has annual dinners in both the cities it represents.

As Nick Clegg ran for the train in his dinner jacket in Leeds another Yorkshire politician must be giving his a final brush as he prepares to address the York event later this year.

They've invited William Hague.

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