A media person who I respect said on Twitter the other day that he ‘hated’ tribal hashtags like #voteSNP and #SNPout.
A bit like Roald Dahl’s Mr Hoppy in Esio Trot – ‘Poo is a strong word in any language’ – hatred is also a strong word in any language.
I don’t expect my media person meant hatred in a literal sense but I would query whether the #SNPout hashtag is ‘tribal.’ It seems to me that both it and its rival #voteSNP are strictly factual, or at least advocate a strictly factual course of action.
As the BBC pointed out recently, the SNP are past-masters at the art of the hashtag. In fact it called their use of them ‘highly disciplined.’ Er, yes, discipline …
In a behind-closed-doors session [at the recent SNP conference], delegates voted to toughen up the rules for Westminster MPs. The new standing orders state that any MP must “accept that no member shall within or outwith the parliament publicly criticise a group decision, policy or another member of the group” (The Herald, 30 March 2015).
That’s discipline for you.
Meantime, if you want tribalism, the SNP itself and its members can give you that in spades too. No other political party in the UK has such a strong sense of ‘us and them.’ No other political party is so sensitive about criticism. The followers of no other political party have such unrealistic adulation for their leaders (although those putting in a claim for UKIP members and Nigel Farage are welcome to do so).
In this context, the use of the hashtags I’ve cited by either side seems trivial. I might of course feel differently if either adopted #deathto[name of politician] as a rallying cry, although the distasteful #creepyJim used by some nationalists about Jim Murphy might be a first step in that direction.
Anyhow, with their ‘discipline’ it’s pretty darned clear the SNP and their supporters are going to maximise the use of #voteSNP in the run-up to the general election. That’s why I have no hesitation in tagging my political tweets #SNPout #GE2015. Let’s all do the same.
Oh, and do watch out for the poo that often accompanies tweets using the #votesnp hashtag.
Thanks to Tactical Voter at @SNPout