Not your typical political Twitter feed

There are many world leaders that use Twitter to broadcast their messages to the public. Being politicians, the messages they post — or “tweets” in Twitter-speak — are generally rather impersonal and vanilla, and being very busy people, they seldom interact with their audiences if their tweets are genuinely their own.




Thus, it can be more interesting to follow retired politicians who are a bit freer to speak their minds. Unfortunately, among Canada’s six living former prime ministers, only two have known Twitter accounts.

Jean Chretien, 79, who was Liberal prime minister from 1993 to 2003, apparently tried his hand at Twitter with three tweets between 2009 and 2011 before seemingly losing interest. His first tweet, interestingly, gives away Chretien’s frustration with retirement and being away from the centre of the action.


Chretien’s immediate predecessor Kim Campbell, 66, who was Progressive Conservative prime minister for a few months in 1993, maintains a slightly more active Twitter presence. Her tweets can be infrequent at times, though, and there is little interaction with followers.


Campbell did make a point however of welcoming former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, 76, to Twitter earlier this week. After just three days, it’s still a little bit early to pass judgment on Albright’s Twitter feed, though the personal touch indicates a good start.


Further out into the world, foreign affairs junkies might enjoy following Malcolm Fraser, 83, who was Australia’s prime minister from 1975 to 1983. Fraser took an active interest in foreign affairs during his seven and a half years in the top job, and it shows in his Twitter feed, which often includes links to articles along with his own personal view.

Though he led Australia’s conservative Liberal-National coalition while in office, today Fraser is clearly estranged from his old party, cheering in one tweet the defeat of one of their more controversial MPs.


Yet for sheer bluntness, it’s hard to top the apparent Twitter account of Paul Keating, 69, a later Australian prime minister who held office from 1991 to 1996. Keating was known during his political career for his sharp tongue, publicly calling his opponents a long list of colourful names: “foul-mouthed grub”, “vermin” and “a political carcass with a coat and tie on”, to name just a few examples.

Seventeen years out of office haven’t dulled Keating’s verbal instincts. In the tweets below, he appears to take on a broadcaster he disapproves of. In other tweets, he calls the Australian environment minister a “worthless twat”, asks if the new, physically fit prime minister is going to “kiss his own arse”, and suggests that reducing Australia’s immigration intake might make it worthwhile to “combine fluoride and viagra in the water”. To his credit, though, Keating is one of the most interactive ex-dignitaries on Twitter, frequently responding to those who have tweeted him.


In addition to posting to this blog, I also post short commentaries and links on my Twitter account: @kevinmcdougald


About theviewfromseven
A lone wolf and a bit of a contrarian who sometimes has something to share.

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