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Prospective MPs told ‘seek to be the game but don’t get played’

Shadows: Stephen Bediako, Emma Macorison & Tue Hong Baker

“The media can be your worst enemy or your best friend but whatever you decide to do in your future political careers make sure to use the media to your own advantage. Don’t get played but seek to be the game.” OBV Director, Simon Woolley told OBV prospective parliamentarians.

Speaking at the recent OBV and Communities and Local Government (CLG) Parliamentary Shadowing Scheme training day, Woolley emphasized the enormous value of being able to access and influence the media as well as securing its support.

The power of the media and its insatiable hunger to devour was impressed upon aspirant politicians as they embark on their journey into politics.

The group of parliamentary shadows who are on a six-month scheme are being mentored by MPs and Peers. The training day explored ways to gain skills to master the craft of dealing with the media without being overpowered by it.

Media consultant and Blogginportal’s Jon Worth, responsible for the online campaign of Labour leadership contender Diane Abbott MP offered a comprehensive take on how to utilise social networks for maximum exposure.

He warned the participants not to be intimidated by technology but to embrace the opportunity it offers. He told them that they should be considerate in their blogging, as many political scandals start with the click of a button.

Parliamentary shadow Orlanzo Cole, paired with Diane Abbot MP, was impressed with Jon Worth’s steely advice stated:

“I personally perceive the media as being intrusive but I have realised now that I have to overcome this approach. Jon’s presentation taught to me how to use the media and why it can be beneficial to make full use of it.”

Led by senior representatives from the main political parties, the route to elected office was explored, injecting a seductive taste of political reality, to take the group a step closer towards their aspirations.

Cllr Sally Grimson, a candidate at the recent general election spoke of the importance of having integrity as a politician, she said:

“I am forty- six and part of the ‘women in a hurry’ politicians. I am a councillor now and I reckon I may be between fifty and fifty-five before I become an MP. If you have the right intentions and are motivated, nothing should prevent you from reaching your political goals.”

Conservative parliamentary shadow, Ellin Joseph, summed up her future aspirations by adding:

“We tend to see ourselves as fighters rather than facilitators or enablers. It’s a new time now. It’s all about releasing the shackles within. I look forward to contributing. Sometimes you have to stop running and start embracing.”

By Regina Nyametscher

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