I was going to write a letter to Nicola Sturgeon.
It would have been in response to the sustained abuse this blog has received from supporters of the Scottish National Party who have now been labelled ‘cybernats’ – the abusive trolls who lurk around Facebook, Twitter and the Blogosphere, waiting for someone to write anything remotely critical of their party and then launching vicious verbal attacks on them – occasionally supported with threats of physical violence.
Here’s a mild example of one such outburst, with the profanities ‘starred’ out. Here’s a fun game to play at home – see if you can replace the stars with letters creating words that aren’t profanities! It might be harder than you think:
“Aye but you are a c***, and yes I do support SNP but that’s not why I said yur a c*** c***, I called you a c*** because you are sticking your English-Welsh whatever the f** yi are nose into Scotland’s business and trying to cause trouble by talking utter f***** s****, not only are you a c*** yur a f**** i****. I am sure you are a government backed troll trying to get reactions and start arguments in a sad attempt to discredit the SNP. The internet was full of gov backed c*** trolls like you in the lead up to the referendum. Now f** off f** face no one is listening tae yur p*** C***.”
It was meant to be threatening but was unintentionally hilarious due to the silly pidgin Scots these people try to adopt in their writing and the suggestion that This Writer – of all people – is working for the Conservative Government!
I got as far as writing the letter and printing it out, with this and other examples to support my call for her to take action, but it stayed on my printer tray for nearly a month because other matters took precedence: The government appealed against the ruling on my ‘DWP deaths’ FoI request; Mrs Mike’s mother came to visit; I co-organised a community/music festival… you know how one thing drives out another sometimes.
“The Scottish First Minister made clear it is ‘not acceptable’ for people to use social media to ‘threaten violence, or hurl vile abuse, or seek to silence the voice of others through intimidation’.”
The article quotes her as follows: “I am making clear today that the SNP will take steps to warn those whose behaviour falls short of the standards we expect.
“We will tell them to raise their standards of debate, to stick to issues not personalities, and to ensure robust and passionate debate takes precedence over abuse and intemperate language.
“I am also making clear that where appropriate we will take disciplinary action. In the SNP we have a code of conduct and online guidance for our members.
“Where that code is broken, members should have no doubt that we will use our disciplinary processes.”
This is praiseworthy. For once, Vox Political fully supports Ms Sturgeon’s policy.
She could go further, though.
The example of abuse quoted above is from a person whose relationship to the SNP – beyond “yes I do support” – is not known. She has not promised action to curb non-members of her party.
Is it all right, then, for people who support the SNP but are not members to continue abusing the rest of us?
Perhaps I will send that letter after all.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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