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.
Then I read this in the Torygraph: “Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to tackle the so-called ‘cybernats’ over online abuse, saying SNP members who ‘cross the line’ will face disciplinary action.
“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.
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“the silly pidgin Scots these people try to adopt in their writing”
……….probably trolls and shills employed by Lynton Crosby on behalf of the Tory Party. Despite the Tories “winning” the GE even they aren’t too thick to realise their hold on power is at best precarious. We all know Crosby’s methods to discredit his opponents, I wish we could find a way to have him deported as an undesirable alien.
I’m pretty sure the ‘wings over scotland’ bloke, who lives somewhere around Bristol is, in fact, a tory supporter.
To cybernats, he is a demi-god…
Having read the article linked from Kitty Jones today to the article in the Intercept by David Greenwald and Andrew Fishman regarding GCHQ activites, I now regard any such provocation as possibly being from CCHQ or from GCHQ, or just a sad and lonely nutter who likes to sit in a darkened room and imagine power and popularity that would come from being a “champion” of something or other, or that they have power to annoy. Indeed they may all be one and the same.
If the SNP are seriously tackling the problem of cybernats, then they need to create a strategy for non-SNP members. They are as guilty as the members of bringing them into disrepute – well, get it sorted!!! Let’s not forget, the same outcome – bringing the SNP into disrepute – wouldn’t be too far a stretch for govt. propagandists would be active there too.
No, of course it’s not acceptable to be abusive of personalities just because they express different views, even if they are arguably way off beam. I don’t see, however, how the leader of the SNP can be held responsible for the actions of those not members of the SNP, it’d be rather like holding you responsible for what the Tories say and do, which would be quite plainly ridiculous.
They would be bringing her party into disrepute, though. Perhaps she should just say that the SNP disowns anybody behaving like that, and repeat as necessary.
It is a fact that there are Zealots from all parties who masquerade as members /supporters of the parties they wish to damage to. The SNP would appear to receive attacks from all Unionist Party supporters. It is also a fact that most sane scots write in English and not ‘Pidgin’ Scots ( unusual term). looking at the present government they do not bother to masquerade they decry publicly whether or not it is true or manufactured lies.
I’m not sure what she could do about these non-members. A threat of disciplinary action, suspension or a total ban from the party only works for members. She could make it abundantly clear that she doesn’t approve of these people and their abuse but it would fall on the deaf ears of the sort of troll you are referring to. I suspect they are the sort who would find any reason to be abusive online and have found the SNP v Unionist battleground an easy environment for their abuse.
There are different levels of troll. There are those who simply nag on endlessly on a topic, because they know it annoys someone else, are pretty annoying themselves, but basically harmless. The type that have been quoted this week should have their accounts on social media closed, not just for the use of offensive language but for the mental sake of their victims. I am no fan of Margaret Curran but wouldn’t wish some of the abuse she has been bombarded with on my worst enemy.
Mike, I think you should not rise to any comments or slurs that are ‘tending to be peofanities or ‘irrational”. It’s not nice nor socially acceptable, but really ignore and don’t rise to it. However ‘their inputs’ are salient to their mindset, just like your commentaries are. You don’t need to, but ‘jump to the other side’ and you might understand degrees of anger against ‘those who’d do us (Scots residents) down’…. You sometimes are clearly seen as ‘anti-Scots’……I always try to hold a balanced view, but rail against ‘abuse’…. Best regards, Denis
I have taken great pains to point out that I’m not ‘anti-Scots’. In fact, I’m very strongly pro-Scots; I don’t want the Scottish people to be led up a blind ally by political opportunists who don’t have their country’s interests at heart.
Being anti-SNP (or at least, against the kind of SNP supporter we’re discussing here) doesn’t make me anti-Scots. I’m sure you’ll agree.
Understood Mike… There are a lot of significant emotions still (? Good or bad???) and some just cannot espouse their feelings without anger spilling out…. Unfortunately. I am heartened that possibly your ‘pro ‘Scots'[Scotland’s People] means you join many of us who rail against all that’s bad with The Establishment and Political system with a London, Westminster/ Whitehwall centric…..
Best regards Denis.
But of course it has been thought for some time that SNP supporters are basically communists and we all know how communism works…let them get on with it.they made their views felt with thuggery and intimidation in the election and it worked…so now the best way forward for the bulk of the UK is to gradually reduce support and funds and just let them get on with raising their own taxes without the help of the rest of us.I believe that the tourism industry in Scotland has taken a nose dive since the election which is a pity but it reflects the sort of attitude thst comes across from the arrogance of the SNP…..I’m sure nobody really cares one way or another bar the very rich with estates in that country..
Why should SNP supporters be Communists? The SNP has claimed it supports a form of Socialism, sure, but that’s a very thin disguise for the real agenda.
Your comment about the tourism industry in Scotland is very interesting. Do you think it’s because people are afraid to visit for fear of running into aggressive nationalists?
I suspect that the tourism industry is suffering because the weather has been pretty dire…June is normally a prıme holıday month. I believe the number of Scots going abroad for a break increased at the same time.
Send the letter. Any reply may be very interesting?
I misread it at first as cybernauts’which sounded like online astronauts.
Best to condemn it now before the “cybernats” start on them.