Someone who I must assume from his Twitter timeline is a Scottish nationalist (also ‘Dons fan and occasional oil worker’) posted a photo today on Twitter of my former, Labour MP, wheelchair user Anne Begg. It shows her in her wheelchair sporting a natty ‘I’m saying No’ polo shirt and clutching some ‘No’ literature. A middle-aged man is crouched down on the pavement beside her, smiling and seemingly chatting. He is carrying a tabloid-style newspaper whose words, to me at least, are not visible. It is angled away from Ms Begg, who wears spectacles, and towards the camera. The caption ‘Dons fan’ has given the photo, obviously in response to some earlier comment, is:
What like this? Oh wait that’s SLAB Anne Begg and leader of the NF in Scotland.
Someone remonstrated with him and he said ‘Why doesn’t she move away then?’ The wheelchair being pointed out he came back with ‘Well, she could wheel herself away’ and the exchange continued pointlessly, he declining to back down in his condemnation of Anne Begg.
The exchange made me exceedingly cross, not because he seemed to be a nationalist but because of his sheer lack of common humanity.
The photo was taken back in September. I know because I saw Anne Begg on the Saturday before the referendum at the very spot, the junction of Union Street and Union Terrace in Aberdeen. I was on the other side of the street and the pedestrian light was red so I was able to watch her for a few minutes. Notwithstanding the drubbing Labour got in the general election she was a popular and well-known figure in Aberdeen. I saw her on a number of occasions over the years. Folk were always chatting to her and she responded in the way I saw her do on that Saturday and as she is shown in the photo – with a smile and a few polite words. The fact (sorry, unfounded claim) that the guy who’s engaged her in conversation in the photo might be from the National Front and she might know is pretty cheap. To compound that by suggesting she’s some sort of wheelchair athlete who could have shot away from the man concerned is about as low as you can get without using foul language.
The tweeter concerned is one @mcbainne, Neil apparently to his friends. I’ve muted him. He deserves muting by everyone. A man who can’t see beyond his political convictions to a basic humanity.