Twitter vs the Republican right.
Although I'm on Twitter, I'm not convinced by it as a social tool - it's not even as good as Facebook status discussions, which is saying something. However, I get it for business, and I get it for campaigns. Tonight's a great example.
As Obama tries to do something about the American pay-or-die health care system, his opponents have attacked him for trying to recreate the evil socialist NHS.
One of them went far too far and put it about that Stephen Hawking would have died if he lived in Britain. See how many problems you can spot in that one claim.
It's sparked a furious round of twittering (tweeting still sounds twee, sorry) with people posting their defence of the NHS with the hashtag #WeLoveTheNHS.
You click that link, read a flurry of anecdotes, jokes and arguments for, and it tells you immediately that there have been something like "300 more results since you started searching". It's currently the third most popular topic on Twitter, and the BBC, the Telegraph and others have noticed too.
There's a backlash, obviously, with the wingnuts going hard for the socialism stuff. And in one sense they're right. The NHS is socialism in action. I've paid taxes over the last year and not been to the doctor once. When I was unemployed I went to the doctors when I needed to and didn't worry about the cost. It's from each according to his ability, to each according to her need.
It doesn't work for lattes or laptop design, neither of which are actually needs, but it's a damn fine model for health care. It's also the best thing Old Labour ever achieved, it's worth protecting, and it's time to roll back the PFI/PPP marketisation forced upon it by both New Labour and every sort of Conservative.
Question, though. If twittering about it hadn't got the mainstream media's attention, how much impact would this have had on the American campaign? Right now, given the way journalists love techo-novelty, I think it'll help. US media will surely cover it, and they'll have plenty of short quotable stories about the merits of living somewhere where you don't have to feel for your wallet before the doctors feel for a pulse.