My Week: Justine Roberts
The head of the Mumsnet website finds that political leaders are suddenly beating a path to her door
Saturday 21 November 2009
I drop the kids off at school and then head to Kentish Town for a typical day at the office where I'm MD of Mumsnet, the online site for parents.
During the drive I listen to a discussion about internet libel and how we're becoming the suing capital of the world. So when I get to the office I get in touch with the people and see if we can help join a campaign arguing to change the libel laws. After work I go for a power-plate session. I pick the children up cook supper, and do bath and bed.
I cycle into work today. An article comes out in a newspaper calling the forthcoming election "the Mumsnet election", saying that politicians were beating a path to our door to have online discussions with our users. We'd had Brown on for a live discussion and he was keen to come back. Cameron was coming on. It talks about how it's a crucial constituency and Mumsnet is totemic of the women they're trying to reach. We had been questioning why all these politicians were so interested in us and I think the article summarised it really well. I liaise with Cameron's office about his appearance on Thursday. Media interest grows and Newsnight says it wants to film during the Queen's Speech to see mums' reaction to it. I go home and answer my emails till midnight.
I go on a radio show to discuss internet safety and children. I have my hair done and do another interview and have my picture taken. I do a Radio 4 show from a radio car outside the office.
I go on Woman's Hour and we have a great discussion about the vote and why women and parents are an important target. We talk about how women veer politically left after having children because they are in childcare roles and interact more with the state services. When men become fathers they veer right as they start caring about things like tax. I then go to Conservative head office for the online discussion with Cameron. It's fairly stressful because his laptop gets disconnected. He does well under the circumstances. There's a certain amount of hostility because the mums feel like they have to re-create the hard time they gave to Gordon Brown. It's not the GMTV sofa here; it's tough and we have an intelligent audience. In the evening I go to David Hare's play The Power of Yes at the National. It feels like going to an A-level economics lecture.
I do another interview and go on The Daily Politics show where I'm excited to shake hands with Roy Hattersley who has no idea who I am but I'm thrilled to meet him! I go and see Newsnight and CNN as well. I take my daughters to football training and then go to friends for dinner. It has been the most surreal week, being thrust into the media spotlight. It's fun but bizarre. Definitely not my normal life.
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