Fringe Meeting on Blogging 3 – Jessica Asato on Integrating Social Media

Labour Party

Jessica Asato ran social media for David Miliband in his Labour Leadership campaign. She is currently Director of the Labour Yes to AV campaign, and is also a Cllr for St George’s Ward in Islington. Here she talks about how social media can be harnessed by politicians when campaigning. My apologies for the shaky camerawork.

Blogging for Labour

Labour Party

Some first quick thoughts on tonight’s “Blogging for Labour” fringe meeting. I was delighted almost 100 people attended even without the prospect of a free meal! Many thanks to all the panel members. John Gray for giving an insight into the perils of libel actions and the need for more guidance on legal issues.

Jessica Asato talked about how Twitter had brought more activists and importantly advocates to David Miliband’s campaign for Labour Leader. With many present tweeting (note the heads down in the photo) a hashtag would have brought everybody on Twitter together online. Next time!

Mark Ferguson talked about how many people had sat through less than riveting General Committee meetings, and highlighted how some Labour supporters found more interesting debate on sites like Labour List which he edits.

Kerry McCarthy turns to twitter first thing in the morning (I still go for Radio 4). She explained how she could debate with and at times advise members of the public on Parliamentary procedure through tweeting. As the photo shows she won the award for most demonstrative hand movements!

In the audience were bloggers Political Scrapbook, Cllr. Stephen (Cowan report), Jon Worth (Euroblog), Tracey Cheetham (A View from the Public Gallery), Mark Nottingham (From One End of Kent), Colin Ellar (Mayor of Hounslow) and several more bloggers.

I will write some more thoughts tomorrow when I have more time. Thank you to everybody who came and to Cllr. John Paschoud from Lewisham for his technical support.

About the Speakers at my Fringe Meeting – Jessica Asato

Labour Party

I was delighted when Jessica Asato agreed to speak at my fringe meeting.  Jessica is one of the few Labour women experts in social media, and I very much hope she will inspire more women to make use of the many and varied political online opportunities.   

As most of you know, Jessica Asato is Acting Director of Progress and an Islington councillor representing St George’s Ward.  She will speak at the fringe meeting in her capacity as social media organiser for the David Miliband campaign.

Prior to working at Progress, Jessica was a researcher at the Social Market Foundation think tank for three years, and spent a year working as a freelance researcher publishing reports on the issues of demographic change and paying for long-term care.

Jessica is, in addition, a former Chair of the Young Fabians, and has been an Executive Member of the Fabian Society since 2004. She is also a former Vice-Chair of Young Labour.

She is at present a governor of Tufnell Park School and acting Joint-Chair of the sexual health charity Brook.  In 2008 Jessica set up the Gareth Butler History Trust to raise money to pay for disadvantaged students to go on school history trips.

My fringe meeting is on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Central, Charter 1.  The other speakers are top Labour blogger Tom Harris MP, Alex Smith, editor of LabourList and Councillor John Gray from the London Borough of Newham.

About the Speakers at my Fringe Meeting – Tom Harris MP

Labour Party

During the next few days I thought I would give a brief pen-portrait of each of the speakers at my fringe meeting at Labour Party Conference, How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition.  First off is Tom Harris MP.

With his lively mix of political commentary and personal anecdote, it’s not surprising that Tom Harris, MP for Glasgow South, has established himself as a firm favourite in the ever-expanding blogosphere.  His blog, “And another thing…”, has, in recent years, accumulated a whole host of awards, along with more that 50,000 viewings a month.

This popularity is, in part, a reflection of Tom’s writing style; a former journalist, he writes eloquently, enlivening even the duller policy issues. Perhaps more significant, however, is his willingness  to challenge received wisdom and offer a distinctive personal perspective, informed by his Scottish roots and long history of Labour Party involvement. Tom’s nine years in Parliament give him that all-important insider’s insight whilst, having grown up on a Ayrshire council estate and experienced unemployment and deprivation first hand, he is able to offer an outlook that is sometimes missing from mainstream media.

So, if you haven’t already had a look at Tom’s entertaining offerings, read his blog now at:

My fringe meeting is on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Central, Charter 1.  The other speakers are Alex Smith, editor of LabourList, Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign and UNISON activist, Councillor John Gray from the London Borough of Newham.

Labour Bloggers fight the Coalition

Labour Party

The highlight of this year’s Labour Party Conference to be held from Saturday 25 to Thursday 30 September in Manchester, will obviously be the announcement of the election of the new Party Leader.

 However, life still goes on, and I have decided to organise a fringe meeting at the Conference on political blogging – bloggers for Labour no less.

 The meeting  How Social Media can drive a Wedge into the Coalition will be held on Monday 27 September at 6.00pm in Manchester Charter 1 in the secure zone.

 I will chair the meeting and am very pleased to have as speakers:

 Tom Harris MP for Glasgow South, Labour’s top MP blogger

Alex Smith, Editor of Labour List

Jessica Asato who is running David Miliband’s social media campaign

Councillor John Gray, blogger and UNISON activist

 With such a distinguished line up of speakers, I would now very much like to have a large, interested and appreciative audience.

See you in Manchester

St George’s Ward, Islington North

Labour Party

St George’s Ward in Islington North have selected a three high-powered candidates for the London Borough elections in May, Jessica Asato, Acting Director of Progress, Alex Smith who runs Labour List and Gary Heather of the CWU.  They don’t come much more impressive than that.

Yesterday afternoon I was pleased to take up the invite to the lunch the Branch was holding following their Sunday canvassing session.  I was, unfortunately, late due to my appearance on the Politics Show, and I apologise for not making it until near the end. 


It was, however, very good to be there and catch up with Labour Group Leader Catherine West, who I have met on several occasions at Islington functions.  Catherine is active on women’s issues and also a strong supporter of Chinese for Labour. 

Very best of luck to all three St George’s Ward candidates in May – a formidable team who I am sure will be very successful.