As I wait for the gas man to come and fix my boiler, I am listening to Yvette Cooper, MP on why George Galloway won the Bradford West by-election. She, like many other political participants, has dubbed what she believes to be a on-off success the George Galloway bandwagon. I, however, am not so sure.
Before going any further I must stress that I am not a particular fan of George Galloway, nor do I agree with all of his politics. Nonetheless he is an interesting character and a gifted communicator who is able to capture the issue of the moment. He is responsible for providing one of the finest political moments of recent time: giving evidence on Capitol Hill to the United States Senate.
Single-issue politics increasingly manages to grab the attention of our younger generations. The tsunami-like popularity of social networks has enabled these issues to become generated by people and organisations that operate without large party machinery, political persuasion and corporate donations. Twitter in particular lends itself well to single-issue politics with a demand to get your message across in just 140 characters. Those who are able to distil a campaign down to an issue that can easily be tweeted and shared benefit from a massive communications network to help transmit their message. As millions unite behind a single cause, victory come within range. As for Mr Galloway, this ability has become the hallmark of a outstanding candidate; certainly not a bandwagon.
But as social media continues to change the political landscape we also become slaves to the process. This is a not a brief romance but a relationship which demands constant attention. Messages must be refined, changed and expanded to add further depth to a cause. Social media lends immediacy to feedback and satisfaction and increases accountability. Woe betide politicians who do not follow through on promises. Those who neglect the process and send out poorly conceived messages instantly fall prey to the twitterati: a sometimes ruthless bunch with an unlimited bank of scathing #hashtags.
So the confident predictions of Ms Cooper that Mr Galloway's new seat will return to Labour at the next general election are dangerous. Rather, I believe future Bradford West victories will be awarded to those able to harness modern communication tactics: operators who manage to keep control of the agenda and set the trends.
Politicians can ignore the social media revolution no longer. Those who remain unable or unwilling to openly engage with their followers are driven as much by fear as a refusal to accept that things have changed. But they have. I want to see fierce debates transcend the House floor to platforms which reach far more people. And for politicians to learn how to get their ideas, opinions and policies across in just 140 characters.
And there I must leave it. The gas man has just arrived!
Follow Phil Shanks on Twitter: www.twitter.com/PhilShanksSays