An online campaign – run by a Scottish politics blog – to support efforts by the SNP and Plaid Cymru to feature in UK-wide televised debates currently involving only the leaders of the Labour, Tory and Lib Dem parties was passed on by an estimated 1500 different Twitter account holders, to almost 50,000 people, within the last few days.
And yesterday – as SNP leader, Alex Salmond, was announcing a £50,000 fundraising campaign to mount a legal challenge against the BBC debate on Thursday to include only Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg in the debates – the campaign was the second-busiest ‘Trending’ topic on Twitter.com
Already, ITV and Sky have screened leader debates.
The campaign is being run by www.bellacaledonia.org.uk. Says its editor, Mike Small: “According to our records, the campaign has been tweeted about by 5877 people since yesterday. We asked people to spread the word about the campaign – called ScotlandSpeaks – by recruiting ten people to further spread the word.
“Using Twitter, we were able to pull together folk across Scotland – not just SNP supporters who thought this was unfair. Gaelic tweets added albaspeaks and Welsh writers used walesspeaks, adding to the impression of a wider excluded community coming together.”
He added: “The TV debates are a deliberately false representation of the options available to people in Scotland and Wales. This is a media manipulation presented as ‘putting the politicians on the spot’ but which has actually been the result of months of careful negotiations from Tory and Labour spin-doctors. It’s basically a narrowing of the political choices to just three white men with virtually identical policies which excludes the leaders of Scotland and Wales, the vision of the Greens and others.”