Here’s a strange tweet. Posted yesterday, I spotted it this morning:
I was surprised at thirteen GPs all being No voters and then all becoming Yes voters. I asked Paul Aitken how his mother in law knew. He was kind enough to reply. Here’s his answer:
So I asked Mr Aitken where the practice was. He said:
[To be honest I wasn’t aware of having had any interaction with him in the past on Twitter, let alone having attacked him many times. For the record, I’ve asked him to identify any of those occasions so, if necessary, I can apologise to him.]
On the main thrust of his original tweet, the fact is that without knowing the name of the practice his remarkable claim cannot be verified. It seems to me to give rise to a number of questions.
First, on my unanswered original point, where is this medical practice with thirteen GPs? It’s clearly in Scotland otherwise none of the people working there would have had a chance to vote Yes or No in 2014. But it sounds enormous. Even the NHS-run health centre I’m signed up to, more like a mini-factory than the traditional contracting practice, only has seven GPs.
Second, even accepting the existence of this practice and its scale, is it likely that thirteen GPs all voted the same way in 2014 and have all since changed their view on separation/independence? Is it also likely that they all changed their view for one reason alone – ‘TM’: presumably he means Theresa May and her carrying forward the result of the EU referendum.
It’s an amazing shift. Not even one recalcitrant yoon-medic left as a No voter (by the way, I’d find a 100% shift the other way just as amazing).
Third, how likely is it that thirteen GPs would all confide their views on this subject to a nurse, even a senior one?
Fourth, even if true, doesn’t the appearance of this claim in public represent at least two betrayals of trust? First, by Mr Aitken’s mother in law retailing what were presumably private conversations to him directly, or via his wife to him. And second, in his retelling of the facts in public.
It’s curious that Paul’s mother in law spoke to him on the very day that the prime minister gave her speech and equally curious that he then banged out his tweet within a few hours of the prime minister sitting down.
Or maybe not so curious because you’ll see from his Twitter profile that Mr Aitken works for an MSP:
It doesn’t take more than a cursory glance at his Twitter timeline to realise that the MSP must be a member of the SNP, although who it is I neither know nor care.
Another glance at the original tweet above and you’ll see that when I copied it (actually at 11 a.m. on 18 January) it had been liked 353 times and copied to other Twitter users, presumably approvingly, 257 times.
So there you have it. An employee of an SNP MSP makes a frankly incredible claim that he cannot and will not justify in public. And over 250 people retweet it.
This is how unsubstantiated claims become accepted as irrefutable facts by the naïve, some of whom have already responded to his tweet – ‘thank you thank you Paul hope’ (sic) and ‘Brilliant!’
Finally, in response to another comment, he writes:
all my doc friends see the importance of a new Indy vote.
Suddenly not only does his mum in law have thirteen GP colleagues who confide their political views to her, but he also has ‘doc friends’, all (so must be quite a few) of whom see the importance of another referendum. Amazing. Where are all these medics? Perhaps I could get a routine appointment with one of them in less than the two weeks it sometimes takes me where I stay.
Not for the first time, the word ‘porkies’ comes to mind where the SNP are concerned. Unless of course Mr Aitken cares to confirm where all those remarkable GPs are. In which case, as with my earlier promise to him, I will apologise.
I’m not holding my breath, though.