Five days away from social media

Stob Coire Sgriodain from An Dubh Lochan

OK, so it’s not a catchy title like 24 hours from Tulsa but, Lord, it was a blessed relief. Some walking somewhere in the Highlands that shall stay anonymous for its sake and mine. A beautiful area where the road signs (and the Co-op aisles) announce themselves quite properly in English and Gaelic since the area is bilingual. Although even there, the banner at the edge of the village says ‘Shinty this Saturday!’ not … well, whatever the Gaelic for ‘Shinty this Saturday’ is.

I didn’t see a sign of any local political activity during the whole week. Sensible people. I had to get back to the big city before I got stuck behind a taxi whose rear was festooned with the dross of the cerebrally challenged – ‘Proud member of the 45!,’ ‘indyref2’ [keep up son, it’s ‘Scotref’ now for the politically pure of heart – as if we’ve never had a referendum before], and several saltires. Of course.

Perhaps a little disingenuous to say I had no access to social media since I picked up the rudiments from the BBC news app on my phone. So I learnt about the atrocity in Westminster, the sensible decision of the Scottish parliament to postpone the second day of their two day (!) debate on a rerun of the 2014 referendum, and the petulant behaviour of SNP cabinet secretary Roseanna Cunningham at that decision. By the way, what did they decide? I haven’t heard and I don’t care. It’s 99% irrelevant to just about anything that’s going to happen over the next few years.

I had made my own futile and miniscule attempt to influence the debate. Along with many others I’d noticed the Greens seemed to be weaselling their way out of their manifesto commitment to hold off supporting another referendum until there was an upwelling of citizen demand for it. I e-mailed the only sensible Green MSP I’m aware of, Andy Wightman, to urge them not to support the SNP. Decent man that he is, I had the courtesy of a long reply (‘due to the number of emails I have received I am unable to answer them all individually’ – I’ll bet) but only confirmation that they intended to maintain their position as the gardening branch of the SNP by voting with them. Sorry Andy, my words rather than yours of course, but collectively you need to sort out what you are, separatists or environmentalists.

On my return to the land of obsessive nationalist politics I thought I’d ease my way gently back on to social media with the innocuous tweet, ‘Five days off Twitter & back to the same tedious irrelevancies from multiple online nationalists’ (because about ten minutes in I’d already seen half a dozen tedious etc etc). Proof that they never sleep came with swift ritual denunciation of my brief comment. I won’t bother you with the detail but a more supportive tweeter summed up the style:

Any attempt to point out facts or reality to them is invariably met with “Wow! Bitter! Scared! Angry! Yoons!”

Oh well, it was a good few days away. If you want to impose your own metaphor on that rather lowering hill at the head of this post, feel free. It’s a Munro but you’ll have to guess which one.

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2 Responses to Five days away from social media

  1. Sam Duncan says:

    I remember taking a day-trip to Dumfries in the summer of 2014 and being pleasantly surprised by the complete absence of referendum propaganda, from either side. It was bliss.

    The idea that mass engagement in that campaign was some kind of great achievement utterly baffles me. Contentious politics is not a sign of a happy, prosperous, country at ease with itself. In contented nations, politics is a minority interest, like sewage engineering. (And yes, that may be a deliberate insult to politicians, but I honestly believe there’s a genuine comparison to be made. Drains are important. Necessary, even. Most people need to pay attention to them occasionally. But if they’ve become a national obsession, something has gone horribly wrong.)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Roger White says:

    I agree about the drains! Transformation of public health in 19th century Britain was substantially achieved by clean water to drink and sewage systems. I’ve visited some great Victorian sewage pumping stations in my time *cue nationalist mockery*


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