Sunday, 5 April 2015

20 year-old MP? Will teenage Tweets cost her?

Mhairi Black: the 20-year-old student poised to unseat Douglas Alexander.

If the pollsters are accurate, Black could be going all the way to Westminster. According to a February poll by Lord Ashcroft, Black is 8% ahead of her rival. Victory would be a remarkable feat and make the SNP candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire South the youngest ever MP, as well as overturn the 16,610 majority of one of Labour’s biggest hitters in Scotland, shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander.
So, that sounds very promising ... but this aspiring politician has already, at the ripe 'old' age of 20, seen postings from her (slightly!) younger days come back to haunt her - a good lesson for everyone in this online, social media age.

Black tackled the selection process in the way she is tackling the election: singlemindedly. The first girl in her primary school to be selected for the football team, she clearly has determination and drive.
But it was just a day after her selection that the first hard political knock came. In what seems an oversight by the SNP PR machine, Black’s Twitter account still held tweets from when she was a teenager. During an especially tense match between her beloved Partick Thistle and rivals Celtic, she had tweeted: “I’ve only just realised – I really f***** hate Celtic” and “Celtic, yer a joke! #scum.”
“Yes, making the front page was a surprise,” she said ruefully. “My brother came through and said: ‘Have you seen this?’ But then he said: ‘You got a bit heated during a football match. Tony Blair started a war. Let’s put it in perspective.’
“So it was a shock to the system, but you have to think about what your political opponents are doing, trawling through to find old messages written by a teenager and holding them relevant in a country where 100,000 children are living below the poverty line. Maybe their priorities are a bit skewed.”

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