David Cameron turned estate agent and tried selling Twitter a London address. Peter Judge hopes he succeeds
The politicians’ campaign to get Twitter to base its European headquarters in London is slightly reminiscent of campaigns for London to host the Olympics, and the Football World Cup.
On Twitter, the news caused somewhat less excitement than the doomed bid for the football event, and giving the Twitter executives a nice cup of tea with David Cameron and Boris Johnson last Thursday was a lot cheaper than the £15 million reportedly splurged on failing to get the World Cup here.
Silicon Roundabout after the Olympics?
The campaign is linked quite closely to the Olympics however: Cameron hopes that, after 2012, the newly-rejuvenated East End of London will fill up with tech firms. Intel, Google and Facebook are all planning innovation centres or research labs near the so-called “Silicon Roundabout” in Old Street.
Twitter would be another distinguished trophy to place on that particular mantlepiece.
The Telegraph reported that Johnson and Cameron made their pitch to Twitter last Thursday, and afterwards Katie Jacobs Stanton, Twitter’s head of international strategy tweeted: “”Hugely impressed with PM Cameron @MayorOfLondon & the @Number10gov teams.”
That’s a good start then – although the media fuss about this does make it look a bit like the energy is coming very much from Cameron’s side.
Anyone who has dealt with estate agents knows they can be very persuasive, but the more energy they put into pushing the deal, the more suspicious you, as the customer will become.
However, what is there to be suspicious about here? Twitter will certainly have good and influential tech neighbours, and we would certainly agree that the UK is a good location for tech companies.
The current unrest amongst students and others might make London look less attractive, but coalition policies are not as bad around technology as they might be.
The East End will certainly have good broadband connections, though that may not be the case elsewhere. The tax regime won’t be overly hostile.
And any decline in the number of intelligent graduates won’t show up for another three or four years.