Is this SNP MP threatening a journalist?

There was an interesting little exchange on Twitter yesterday. The easiest way to get into it is to view the series of tweets involved. That’ll make for a messy read but bear with me.

It started with a tweet from the excellent Stephen Daisley, who tweets as @JournoStephen Digital Political Correspondent at @STVNews. As you can see he was retweeting two messages from John Nicolson SNP MP

daisley1He’s managed to cut off the edges of Nicolson’s original tweets but you’ll get the gist of what he was saying.

Daisley’s tweet drew forth the following response from Nicolson


then from Daisley


and from Nicolson


Silence (probably wisely) from Daisley so Nicolson has another go


When he retweeted this Daisley added the cheery ‘Hi again.’ Which as far as I can see (this being relevant as you’ll learn shortly) is where the exchange ended.

I came in rather late to all this but added


which depending on your point of view is either a statement of the bleeding obvious or an unwarranted slur on a noble and upstanding politician.

Of course, in one sense this was no more than a minor Twitter spat. But just cast your eye over the Nicolson contributions. It starts with that casual accusation that Labour did not care for the people of Scotland and many Labour politicians put self over constituency and country. As you’ll see I responded with an ironic ‘Nice,’ but part of me wanted to ask if people like Nicolson ever go on holiday (it’s the parliamentary recess people).

After that initial sally, Nicolson gets into his stride with his, to me, veiled threats of ‘are you working or not?’ and ‘are you editorialising?’ It’s a veiled threat because Nicolson is himself an ex-journalist


(his Twitter profile) and would choose his words very carefully. He could have responded with a joke (very Twitter of course) or he could have written privately to STV if he was really concerned. Best of all he could have just shut up.

All this is of course no more than an example because the SNP trail is littered with frankly dodgy attitudes towards the media, from the demonisation of the BBC specifically and the MSM (mainstream media) generally to Alex Salmond’s behaviour towards journalists during the referendum campaign. It’s important to document even these small indiscretions. They are part of the nationalist psychology of ‘If you’re not with us you’re against us.’ Not healthy at all. Especially where the media are concerned.

By the way, when I went to check John Nicolson’s Twitter timeline I got this


(I took his profile above from somewhere else on Twitter). So there you go. Blocked. The only contact I’m aware of having with Nicolson is in the exchange reported here, and that’s indirect. It did include a tweet from an anonymous (aren’t they always?) supporter of his I haven’t reproduced here who assured me Nicolson was a real journalist (ex-, surely, since he’s a politician now?) and Daisley was a rank amateur by comparison. I think I’ll go with the rank amateur this time.

The new Scotland. Enjoy.

Footnote. If you haven’t seen Stephen Daisley’s work as a commentator I’d recommend it highly. His wit is barbed and he’ll target anyone and anything that deserves it, not just the SNP. There’s a nice recent example here.

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10 Responses to Is this SNP MP threatening a journalist?

  1. Mark says:

    Roger, good article I too was concerned about the not so subtle threat. Funny you’ve been blocked.. So have I and you will have been able to see the one and only exchange I ever had with the man. Somewhat petty i feel.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jack ketch says:

    Don’t be surprised, they block anyone who asks any challenging questions. Murphy’s page and many other Unionist politicians received a dog’s abuse. Whilst one mention of Tasma being an ex. Tory and how this sits with the FM is enough to get you blocked from her page. The usual nationalist domineering tactics I’m afraid.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      My experience is mixed. Some (Nicolson, McGarry, Monaghan for example) have blocked me instantly for scarcely raising an eyebrow at them or even for just leaving their Twitter name in a reply to someone else. On the other hand Pete Wishart, who many unionists are unremittingly rude about, has left me unblocked despite a few barbed comments from me, not least about his unsavoury New Year ‘Nawbags’ greeting (that however has backfired on him as some use it as an ironic badge of honour). Isn’t their Westminster parliamentary group looking for a communications bod at the moment? I suspect once they get their feet under the table they’ll rationalise how the 56 deal with social media. Meantime if anyone would leak me a copy of any existing guidance they have I’d be happy to receive it.

      I suspect there may be an article at some stage in how the Westminster contingent handle social media. I might grit my teeth and have a go at it sometime. Thanks for your comment.


      • Roger White says:

        Odd to be replying to myself but it’s a way of noting that Pete Wishart did block me somewhere along the way. Twitter being what it is I usually get to see any particular horrors he perpetrates.


  3. Alec says:

    There is something quite unsettling about Nicolson, and I don’t mean his faux Highland accent and dyspeptic delivery style which makes it look as if he’s suppressing gastric reflux. Here he is threatening to do a Raif Badawi or Shi Tao on critics’ reporters.

    This threat against a journalist from another journalist (albeit a third rate one) is shocking. In contrast, this immediate display of hostility towards a throwaway remark by Muriel Gray tweets is run of the mill.

    I long for the day someone makes a complaint to IPSA about one of these goons. They won’t be able to hide behind Nicola’s coat tails then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Roger White says:

      Apart from being mean-spirited the threat of clyping is often ludicrous. There’s a well-known emeritus history professor who tweets from a unionist perspective. Every few weeks someone seems to say something like ‘You’re a disgrace to the University of X. I’m going to report you. You should be sacked etc etc etc’ while not having a clue what the word ’emeritus’ means. I’m not saying these people are necessarily SNP members but they’re definitely nationalists.

      By the way, I’m not sure I’d use the word ‘goon’ but you understandably feel strongly about his behaviour so I’ve left it. Thanks.


  4. Alec says:

    See how he speaks to his constituents. That sounds defamatory.


  5. Fork Boy says:

    A lot of words used to make one small argument – You think the phrase ‘are you working’ was a veiled threat. It wasn’t.

    A blog was not really required for this now was it. This was a rare instance where the 140 chars of Twitter would have been more than enough space to make your thin point. Heck you could have included a few emoticons, some unnecessary punctuation, written a hello note to your mother and still had space for this faint footnote of an insight.


    • Roger White says:

      Yep, I OKed your comment. Maybe you didn’t expect that but it’s not abusive (my criterion for excluding) though I’m afraid it adds nothing. All I can say is I disagree. Readers can check what we both said and draw their own conclusions. Good luck.


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