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Sir Albert Bore is on Twitter #welcometothe21stcentury

Sir Albert Bore is on Twitter #welcometothe21stcentury

🕔19.Jan 2015

Some said it would never happen. Some said it should never happen. But in perhaps the most unlikely development ever in Birmingham politics Sir Albert Bore has belatedly entered the Twittershpere.

The Labour leader of the city council has not been a great fan of social media in the past and steadfastly avoided having a presence. But with a General Election and council election in the offing, the times they are a changing for Albert.

A Twitter account @SirAlbertBore was registered in his name some time ago but lay dormant until now.

Well, that’s not quite true.

A most unusual intervention, apparently from Albert, did appear about six months ago retweeting British Formula 1 racing driver Max Chilton’s admiration for Reigate-based dance band Disclosure – “Words can’t describe how much @disclosure just smashed that set! 90 minutes of tunes. Reigate boys!”

Why Sir Albert should have wished to draw the attention of his 386 followers to a Surrey dance band is a mystery and whether the retweet was actually his handiwork is up for debate.

The retweet prompted Sutton Coldfield Tory councillor Ewan Mackey to have a little fun at the council leader’s expense, pasting together a picture purporting to show a Labour rosette-wearing Sir Albert at one of Disclosure’s gigs.

The next Bore attempt at Twitter occurred four days ago when he retweeted a Birmingham Post story about Birmingham being named the UK’s most investible city.

Then, the first tweet proper, when Sir Albert thanked @huffPostUK for letting him have his say on Fox News’ astonishing claims about Birmingham being a Muslim-only city where other faiths fear to tread.

The mildly sarcastic article displayed a fine prose style not previously associated with Sir Albert, leading to speculation that the council leader has a ghost-writer who is managing his Twitter account – as is common among leading politicians and captains of industry.

The next, and so far only other Albert tweet, cropped up two days ago and described the sale of the NEC Group by the council as “unequivocally good news” for Birmingham.

Then, in what may be a growing trend, deputy council leader Ian Ward opened a Twitter account.

Sadly, @Cllr_IanWard is yet to tweet anything at all to his 90 followers, although he did retweet Cllr Mackey’s observation about Sir Albert’s Twitter debut.

All of this has clearly amused Cllr John O’Shea, who as @politicalhackuk is rightly regarded as Labour’s number one social media enthusiast in Birmingham. He tweeted: “Following hard on the heels of the @SirAlbertBore account, @Cllr_IanWard seems to have joined Twitter. #ff Not sure who is at controls”.

Now that Bore and Ward are on board with Twitter, all eyes will be on the sole remaining cabinet member to avoid social media – Stewart Stacey. Will the veteran Labour councillor move with the times? Not unless someone else does it for him is probably the answer.

Those close to Sir Albert suggest his Damascene conversion to social media has been driven by the success of the council’s webstreaming of committee meetings. He’s been heard boasting about the thousands of people who have used Twitter to question cabinet members about budget cuts, opening up an unprecedented scale of public consultation.

As to the question posed by Cllr O’Shea asking who is at the controls, the best guess is that Bore’s press officer and head of news at the council, Deborah Harries, is lending a helping hand.

Ms Harries diplomatically comments that Sir Albert’s Twitter account has been around for quite a while.

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