I wrote the other day about SNP members and how they behave online. In accordance with my normal practice I have published all the comments people then made and you can see them below the original article. My thanks to everyone for taking the time to comment. Notwithstanding the occasional ‘moronic,’ ‘drivel,’ and ‘bile’ most comments are reasoned and reasonable although I disagree with many.
A number of my mainly critical commentators posed me questions or challenges. People can draw their own conclusions from most of those questions but there are two issues I want to respond to here.
My first point is perhaps the more fundamental. A number of comments sought balance from me. If I were recording what I claimed was abuse from one side of the debate, I should also do so from the other, No, side. This misses completely what I was aiming to demonstrate. The article was not about general online abuse: I’d agree that much worse can be found and with how some correspondents characterised it. But this was about the fact that there are people who make explicit their membership of a political party and still write in that way. If someone cares to put together a compilation of similar comments made about an SNP politician by known or self-proclaimed members of another political party I will consider publishing it on this blog.
Second, a number of people made the assumption that I was pro-Labour and/or defending Kezia Dugdale. Again they miss my point and my disclaimer about that. Interestingly, most of those people also thought that Dugdale had said something in her original tweet that she did not. She said ‘ … you’re building a Scottish bridge with Chinese steel.’ Many assumed she had said ‘You should use Scottish steel.’ She didn’t. This led to hostile comments on Twitter about the demise of the Scottish steel industry, and in particular the closure of the Ravenscraig steel plant. Some assumed Labour had a hand in that closure but of course it was an action carried out by British Steel under a Conservative government. I’m not going to get into a debate about the decline of heavy industry in the UK/Europe, let alone steel making in Scotland. But its causes are many and not simply capable of being blamed on one political party.
To set Dugdale’s comment in context, she was responding to complaints that some Scottish Labour leaflets had been printed in England and merely noted that the Scottish government also sourced contracts and materials from outwith Scotland. As I said in my original article, I’ll wager £100 that not all the items in the SNP’s online shop are manufactured in Scotland even though I’m sure many are capable of being made here. The offer still stands if anyone can prove me wrong on that point.
1. I said I had published all comments I received. One has been subsequently deleted. The author set up his details so anyone clicking on his name would be taken to a page on the SNP’s web site seeking to recruit members. Naughty boy, Allister. Clever but not clever enough
2. 17:00 6 March: oh dear, Allister’s come back hiding behind the same SNP ‘join us’ address, opining that Ms Dugdale was right to ‘have the pish ripped out of her,’ and offering the view that my original post was worse than any of the rudeness I listed. All of which proves my point. Also deleted.
3. Further advice from Allister (a) Grow a pair (b) Publish me. My answers (a) I have a perfectly adequate pair thank you (b) No. That’s it. The editor’s decision is final.