SNP members and how they behave online

On 27 February Kezia Dugdale, MSP and deputy leader of the Scottish Labour party, tweeted

Dear SNP activists moaning about labour leaflets being printed in England, you’re building a Scottish bridge with Chinese steel. Love Kez.

I missed the beginnings of this mini-controversy but it seems that because the Labour party had some election leaflets printed in, shock horror, England they were fair game for at least some nationalists. They, of course, see something like this as proof of betrayal of Scotland and evidence that the Scottish Labour party is just a branch office of the ‘Westminster’ party.

Me? Simple soul that I am I’d say ‘What the heck? It’s one country still and why shouldn’t any party get any of its material produced anywhere it wants?’ One of the more astute responses asked where the SNP sourced all the knick-knacks in its online shop (key rings, mugs, T-shirts up to size XXL for the larger party member – that sort of stuff). Answer came there none of course. But I’ll lay £100 it’s not all manufactured by Yes-supporting businesses in not-so-bonnie Scotland.

The comment about the SNP shop was part of a substantial Twitter storm that followed the original tweet, with literally hundreds of responses. There were the usual for and against points made and the discussion quickly veered off, as it does, into all sorts of issues, some related and some not.

I was struck, as I often am these days, by the number of people contributing to the discussion who made their allegiance to the SNP clear with a twibbon, a hashtag, or a statement on their Twitter profile. I could not imagine doing that myself unless I were the member of a political party (see Disclaimer below) so assume that all these people are SNP members. If they’re not they’re getting a free ride without paying a subscription.

I thought I’d have a look at how the combined wisdom of those adherents comes over. I didn’t look at anyone who although clearly a nationalist, does not make their support of the SNP explicit. This, bear in mind, is about how they deport themselves, not an analysis of the substantive arguments they make. Those are few enough and mostly to do with the lack of a significant Scottish steel industry (to which one might add ‘bridge design and construction’). I have attributed comments and classified them to reflect their range and nature. The categories, as you will realise, are not mutually exclusive and there may, may, be a touch of levity in my treatment of a few of the comments. Some certainly deserve it although others do not.

General abuse

  • @scotsmum1966 – do your day job absolutely pathetic
  • ‏@hc1802 – Horribly spiteful remark from someone who is meant to gain respect from people [personally, I can’t see how the original tweet was ‘spiteful’] … you muppet
  • @Selki13 – time to run to the BBC & Daily Record & scream about nasty cybernats again [she hasn’t as far as we know]
  • @Rossmatthews86 – I do hope you are drinking Kezia, if not, your coming down with a serious case of the stupids
  • @cgg2033  – numpty
  • ‏@PatricksPeople – Never the diplomat, always the mouth. Dance on Scotland’s grave, would you?
  • ‏@Rossmatthews86 – this is not a parody account. Kezia is that stupid.
  • ‏@teuchtermac – Murphy was at Uni for 9 years & still didn’t manage to get a degree.Kezia sounds same
  • @katiec1314 – u can just feel the love emanating from her cant you. At least her dad has the right attitude [he is said to be a nationalist]. Must be so proud
  • @Riddrie – I love listening and watching #DeputyDug #FunnierThanFualtyTowlers (sic)
  • ‏@JohnDowson66 – Dear Kez, you are a halfwit, Love John

Derogatory nicknames for Ms Dugdale

Others use some of these names as well.

Patronising comments, mostly ageist and sexist

On the difference between Conservative and Labour

  • @julieannaaitken – your unionist ilk shut down Ravenscraig. We had heavy industry, all destroyed by blue or red Tories

Phoney upset

Bad language

Not as much as I’d expected but still some.

  • @Newpandaintown – my dad … was slavering pish about steel during indyref
  • @Sharonwifey – good news is her dad has also confiscated her twitter so she can’t tweet any more shite…
  • @Messcotti – You can cover a turd with glitter…

Accusation of trolling

  • @dagwells – third rate trolling, must try harder [someone who’s unaware, or purports to be unaware, of what trolling really is. The original tweet certainly isn’t trolling]

Language to disparage Labour

Unrealistic expectations

  • @dishgirl4 – Give 2 fingers to Wasteminster & reopen the steel industry in defiance!

Plain wrong

Misunderstanding of politics

  • @55depp55 – she’s on FMQs every week blaming scotgovt for alsorts! With no foundation from oil to NHS to Chinese steel?never stops whinging.

You’ll draw your own conclusions from all this. You might say that’s Twitter/politics, what do you expect? You might say, as others have to me, if you can’t stand the heat get out of the kitchen. Dugdale hasn’t, she’s stuck with it and let the ranters rant while staying mostly and wisely silent.

Like me, you might also observe how so many people play the woman not the ball, or the issue. And like me you might start to draw conclusions about the nature of the SNP and its membership. Of course, you won’t find the First Minister or the cabinet tweeting like this, although if you go down one notch to the backbench MSPs and MPs you can certainly find similar examples of graceless language and thought. I remember fondly Pete Wishart characterising me and the 55% who voted No in the referendum as ‘Nawbags,’ [non-Scots: play on the Scottish word ‘bawbag’ – scrotum] which he seemed to think equivalent to the social media shorthand ‘Yesser.’

A while ago I wrote about online abuse and nationalism, contrasting words Alex Salmond had used about the subject with a stance taken in very different circumstances by Jimmy Reid. You might want to have a look at the two approaches yourself.  It’d be nice to think nationalists online took a lesson or two from Jimmy Reid. I doubt that they will.

Disclaimer: I am not a member of Labour or any other party. This article is not written in support of either Ms Dugdale or Labour but as readers of the No Thanks! blog will be aware, I follow the less attractive aspects of the SNP with a jaundiced eye.

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20 Responses to SNP members and how they behave online

  1. Alison Kennedy says:

    Fifi LaBonbon was in fact a name Ms Dugdale called herself while writing comments in The Scotsman under instructions from George Foulkes.


    • Roger White says:

      Thanks. I’ve approved your comment because my policy is to do so unless someone’s abusive which yours clearly isn’t. But I have to say I haven’t got a clue about your claim or its significance to my article.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      I’ve now had a hunt round Google about this. The *best* i could say (unless you produce clearer evidence) is that it’s ‘case not proven.’; And even if it were, so what? I suspect that the user of the phrase did not intend to be complimentary.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ross Matthews says:

    You do seem to shy away from how groundbreakingly moronic kezias implication that we should be using scottish steel is. Ravenscraig is closed. To suggest she may have been drinking alcohol as I did in my tweet I feel is fair, for two reasons;

    Firstly, it was stupendously poorly thought out. Secondly, she tweeted it on a Friday evening, a time when many people to partake of refreshments.

    Your attempt to besmirch the rightful lampooning of such a ridiculous tweet from someone who should of course know better reeks of a desperation to paint the SNP as something they are not whilst trying to detract from kezias blunder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. If would care to balance this article with some examples from so called No voters esp. during the referendum, then maybe you could say you had a point. I would suggest you would find that the most abusive/wrong tweets are from people who you would have an allegiance with. As for your title The Nation said etc… just add it to the wrong pile from the No side.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. dickybeau says:

    I wonder if you have followed Nicola Sturgeon’s timeline or that of any of the key SNP politicians. I don’t want to excuse what others say. There are nutters on all sides. I visited the telegraph and Scotsman in recent days and below the line comments are at best fearful but clearly misoginist and downright offensive.

    As far as I am aware Sturgeon is on record as denigrating abuse. It’s difficult to see how the abusive individuals are all SNP unless you can confirm the badge.

    However, the most offensive stuff I read during Indyref came from mainstream journalists like Chris Deerin or Alan Cochrane. Iain Smart, the well known labour lawyer beats them all hands down every week yet is NEVER disowned by Labour. I gave up my own solicitor becaysevof his abusive online comments. He was a unionist and is a labour supporter.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. iain says:

    Here are some belters for you to comment on

    Liked by 1 person

  6. stevenroy27 says:

    You appear to have completely missed the point. Her reply was incredibly stupid, insensitive and lacking in common sense as there is no Scottish steel available. Any traditional Labour voter would object to a senior member of the party making such a comment. A lot of people are particularly sensitive about steel, coal etc so to make such a comment shows incredible ignorance of the people the Labour party is supposed to be trying to attract in Scotland.

    I find it amazing that this close to an election when Jim Murphy’s stated aim is to get Yes voters to vote Labour that she would make such a comment and commentators sympathetic to Labour like yourself decide to attack the people you are supposed to be trying to attract.

    The fact is the SNP is building a bridge and Labour seem incapable of building bridges with anyone other than the Conservatives.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Okay i’ll give you the fact she did not run to the BBC & Daily Record, but at least we know why she tweeted such drivel now..


  8. May I suggest a change in the title of this list. I am not an SNP member but have many friends and family who are. They are on the whole decent and polite people who conduct themselves pretty much in keeping with the national average. Yes we can all trawl through comments and compile a list of the worst we can find in order to discredit our political opponents. We can even catalogue them into their offensive categories. But is it a true reflection? Or should this be re- titled something like; “I dislike the SNP and have therefore made a list of the worst I could find” That would be more truthful, but then I suppose it would be more difficult to play the victim and claim the moral high ground. We could play a few rounds of “your trolls are worse than our trolls” But again this is futile. There are things that unite us and things that divide us. I say we focus on the positive aspects and work together to be all we can be. If people are unhappy with any political figure let’s vote them out , get rid of them and vote for who we do want. Many of my SNP friends really are very excited about this election. I wonder if Ms Dugdale is?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrew says:

    What I see here is an article delivered in defence of Kezia.

    In doing so, you have made some tenuous claims about abuse, and what constitutes trolling.

    Some comments are indeed abuse and no doubt some are trolling, however in terms of language used and bearing in mind th tone of Kezia’s opening gambit, some are merely delivered in the same vein or in what would be considered an exasperated tone.

    I believe you have over-reached on this one, starting initially with what might be a justified critique of some twitterers, but you appear to have got carried away turning your own blog into a bit of an excercise in extended trolling.

    I believe you may actually have placed yourself in a position where you could be liable for a cease and desist letter from some you have claimed as trolls or abusers.

    Finally, I would like to ask a question or two.

    1) having placed her very clearly imnature response into the twittersphere, do you believe no one has the right to criticise via the same format expressing heartfelt feeling regarding her immaturity?

    2) are you suggesting that Kezia’s lack of informed position was unlikely to infuriate not only those who support independence but also former Labour member who lost jobs because of Westminster policies and therefore be seen as incendiary?

    3) and in ligh of that, that not only was Kezia’s comment ill-judged, but likely to draw criticism?

    Lastly do you also record the threats and abuse meted out to SNP, SGP, RIC, SSP etc by what is commonly known as Britnat trolls?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      Andrew – I’m getting quite a few comments here, as you can see! I’ll consider a ’round up’ response after a while but just wanted to make clear that I did not accuse any of those cited of being ‘trolls or abusers.’ I regard the things said as abusive (dictionary ‘extremely offensive or insulting’ – you could debate the extremely) but of course one comment doesn’t make a person an abuser in a general sense. Even less did I accuse any of being trolls.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. velvetrose says:

    You failed to mention that Ms Dugdale said we should of used #ScottishSteel ..You do know we have no ScottishSteel .. Cheers #MagaretThatcher


  11. Tam says:

    wow, if you think that’s bad language you should have a look at some of the unionist stuff, and then get a wee report done on that. Go on, I dare you. Love Tam

    Liked by 1 person

  12. chris says:

    some great responses to this one sided article.well played!


  13. dickybeau says:

    Your article set me thinking Roger. I re-read the comments made here and it is clear you are an apologist for anyone else that isn’t the SNP. The article is like a re run of the referendum campaign where ANY abuse from supporters of Yes/SNP is magnified while the other side is ignored. I suppose I had wanted you to be balanced but realise that you are not capable of achieving that because you are blinded by your own abusive position. Your abuse is that you only see what was fired at Kezia Dugdale. Someone posted a link to Britnatabusebot but you can have a look at stronger united on Twitter or any of the muddier unionist followers to see the level of hatred spouted. For my own part I tried to question the lib dem candidate for Gordon about the unbalanced position that unionists adopt over Scotlabd against any other country in the world. She was unable to explain why it was ok for the Danes or the swedes of the Austrians, the Moroccans, the South Africans, to name but a few, should be ok with governing themselves but not the Scots. Her attack on Alex Salmond IS personal and, in my opinion, abusive. It’s not a representation of how lib Dems policies but a personalisation of politics that represents a descent into the gutter.

    I for one am angry about it, I’ve been called a virus, a separatist, an idiot, a nazi – the cleanest of words that can be printed and some of these from mainstream politicians I’ve had dogs set on me on the doorstep, I’ve seen a fellow elderly woman who was campaigning in the street spat at, another elderly woman physically pushed about by a prominent No campaigner and, far worse, I have seen Tories, LibDems and Labour politicians unite to grossly mislead the populace locally. From my own local MP, I see him deliberately lie in the local papers almost weekly (it’s Alan Reid by the way). So a few hot words on Twitter don’t come near to my experience of a consistent, demeaning and viscious othering of supporters of SNP or Yes. And hot news, it is still happening.

    So my question to you is, having started this, are you willing, in the interests of balance, to publish evidence of abuse coming the other way?


    • Roger White says:

      dickybeau – thanks for your thoughts. I said to someone else I’d consider a ’round up’ response to all the comments and I’ll address your question in that. Probably tomorrow but it may drift a day or two.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. This article is futile and a petty dig at the pro-indepence campaign and the SNP in general . I would have had more respect for this clearly biased article, from the unionists point of view, if you had made a clear and balanced rhetoric. Ms Dugdale made a moronic statement and was quite rightly taken to task over it. The fact is that there are abusive and troll like replies on all forms of social media, whether it be in a political forum or any other topic, this seems to be the norm these days. You have clearly set out with an agenda that only nationalists are responsible for putting the boot in after ill advised comments from the unionist side of the fence. If you look through the various sites be it YES or NO campaigns, the spurious bile from both sides is evident to see, by all means put across a view point for the side you support but follow it up with reasoned argument and justification not some half baked insinuations and adolescent propaganda to try and curry favour with some undecided voters who might possibly read this drivel.


  15. PaulQ says:

    Incredibly one-sided post! Which makes it completely pointless.


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