Councillor Carl Thomson's Deleted Tweets

Regular readers will know that I think Woking Council's subsidy of curchgoers is ridiculous, illegal, and unfair. It's an issue I've raised with local councillor Carl Thomson in writing and on Twitter.

A few days ago I entered into a discussion with him online about the issue. He has since deleted the tweets. But, as we know, the Internet has a long memory - so here they are. I've reordered a few to make our conversation clearer. None of my tweets have been deleted.

It started when I saw him talking about Lords reform.

As far as I am aware, local councillors have very little impact on the subject. Of greater concern to this resident is the religious discrimination promoted by him and the Tory council. I asked about it, and got a very curt reply.

Suddenly, Carl sent this rather passive aggressive tweet. (NB due to GMT/BST this next tweet was sent 15 minutes after the previous one.)

I couldn't see anyone accusing him of corruption, certainly not me. I can't even imagine why he bought it up.

And that's the sum of it. It baffells me why he has deleted the tweets. Sure, he was slightly rude to start with - but given the late hour it's not the worst of crimes. I'm no Paxman, so I can't imagine my questions taxed him - although, like Paxo, I never received an adequate reply.

In the meantime, Woking continues pouring away money to religious groups who neither need nor want subsidising. But that's a subject for another blog post...

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5 thoughts on “Councillor Carl Thomson's Deleted Tweets”

  1. says:

    I have a certain sympathy for politicians on Twitter. If they never get human, it's pointless them being on there imho, as it becomes just another broadcast channel - but if they do engage without running everything past a team of PR experts, their replies can sometimes get massively blown-up by the media and can even lead to them losing their position (although sadly, not in the ever-ongoing case of Nadine Dorries!).

    I haven't checked to see which tweets got deleted, but maybe he just thought better of the conversation in the light of day, and didn't want it to be seen by people who dropped by his profile in the next few days. Deleting tweets is an imperfect solution, but maybe better than leaving snippy messages up that you wish you hadn't posted.

  2. says:

    I have a certain amount of sympathy for politicians on Twitter... if they don't engage then it's pointless them being there (imho), but if they do engage (without consulting a team of PR experts each time) then they run the risk of posting something half-thought-through that can lead to a massive media fuss and even them losing their position - not always fairly, I don't think. I'd rather they were free to be people, imperfections and all, than that they had to self-censor so much.

    Maybe he just thought better of the discussion after he'd stepped away from it, and decided he didn't want snippy messages on his profile for new visitors to see. Deletion isn't deletion these days, but it's still a fairly effective first line of correction.

    By the way, apparently I can't post a comment here unless I enable third-party cookies - it just gets invisibly /dev/null'd :- I don't think that used to be the case, although I can't remember for certain.

  3. Carl Thomson says:

    Dear Terence,

    There isn't any great conspiracy about why my tweets were deleted. When I'm involved in general chit-chat or dialogue I normally remove the messages from my public profile after a few days or so. While I'm sure this isn't proper Twitter etiquette, it's simply how I choose to run my account. As you say, the internet has a long memory and it can be difficult to strike the right balance between being accessible to people on Twitter and removing things which probably don't need to remain publicly available for all time.

    My comment about corruption came from a previous message you sent me suggesting that I voted for subsidised parking for church goers because I personally benefited from it. As you correctly went on to point out, this is a rather silly assertion given that it represents only a small amount of money each year. If I did attend any of the churches involved and made use of the free parking, it would in my view have been a personal and prejudicial interest that should have been declared at the meeting and meant that I couldn't vote on the subject.

    The general point I was looking to make is that as someone who puts a lot of time and effort into serving the community and representing my residents, it is frustrating to be accused of bad intentions and seeking personal gain just because someone disagrees with the way I have voted on an issue.

    On the subject of church parking, we have discussed this before and while I do appreciate the points you have made, I think in this instance we are going to have to respectfully agree to disagree.

    On a final note, I'm not convinced Twitter is the best way for councillors to engage with residents given the limitations of the 140 character restriction, the potential for meaning and tone to be misunderstood, and the fact that such online communication can sometimes encourage a more adversarial approach.

    Kind regards,


    1. says:

      For what it's worth Carl, I really appreciate councillors being accessible on Twitter, and think it's quite important that they do engage rather than just posting short-form 'press releases'. My own local councillors make a fair effort on the engagement front, both individually and via a team account. The latter is my main source of information about what they do as well as an occasional channel for contact - without the human touch of replies and engagement, I probably wouldn't stick around just for the announcements.

  4. Julie says:

    I live in Carl Thomson's ward - he doesn't represent my views (or thoe sof many neighbours) neither does Cllr Bittlestone. There is a history of not declaring interest on matters where churches are concerned. One current member of the Executive is married to an elder at Coign Church - she did decalre this, others are not so open. Coign Church use the HG Wells center - I wonder if they pay a proper commercial rent or if they get a friends discount because of their links with the council????
    Get Surrey held a poll on the free parking for churches last year 70+% voted against it...the council are out of touch and commercially unaware. Little wonder we have huge debts.
    My complaint to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has been ignored for weeks and the minutes of the council meeting where they voted on the parking are still not available on the website. What are they hiding?


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