I go away for a couple of days and all hell breaks loose on Scottish social media. On Thursday evening, a well known author and pal of yoon journos got into a Twitter spat with a Scottish MP. The occasion of the harrumphment was that the female MP took offence at what appeared to be praise from the author towards the person behind an anonymous Twitter account who had promised to donate some money to the author’s charity. It’s perfectly fine to praise a person who donates to charity, but what the MP took umbrage about is that the anonymous Twitter account is the Zika virus of social media.
The person behind the anonymous account, who appears to be suspiciously pally with yoon journalists, is notoriously foul mouthed and has subjected a number of prominent women to some disgusting misogynistic abuse. He’s said things about Magrit Curran that even I thought were beyond the pale, and no one would ever accuse me of being Magrit’s biggest fan. He regularly refers to female SNP politicians by the c-word. But this is all fine, because he’s a well connected unionist.
Apparently it’s all just banter and satire. Who knew? If I had realised that all you need to do in order to qualify as a satirist was to call someone a f***ing c**t, I could have saved myself the bother of penning thousands of words of witticisms and bon mots. Only of course, it’s only satire and banter when it issues from a yoonatic, that sort of language from an independence supporter would be all over the front pages of the newspaper until Nicola Sturgeon personally apologised.
The famous author with her legion of fans has interacted with this anonymous person on numerous occasions, and is apparently one of his online friends. This in no way implies that she condones, approves of, or supports his abusive foul mouthed rants, yet she has never once called him out in public for his misogynistic public abuse even though it is reasonable to assume that it is unlikely that she is unaware of it. That’s what pissed off the MP.
The unionist press is pefectly happy to smear independence supporters by association with someone abusive, but don’t dare imply that the same might be true of a unionist. Having read the tweets, it didn’t seem to me that there was in fact any implication from the MP that the author supported misogynistic abuse, there was only an allegation that she was supportive of a particular person who has made misogynistic comments in the past. But then I’m not a lawyer, and neither is a writer of fantasy fiction.
However that didn’t stop threats of legal action. It’s very easy to threaten legal action claiming that your character has been defamed when you’re a squillionaire, even if it is the case that the defamation is a fictional fantasy that exists only in your own umbrage. She responded by dot atting the MP’s Twitter handle, which is the social media equivalent of calling on your 6.6 million followers for hauners. And then the MP was subjected to a barrage of very real abuse and defamation from outraged fantasy fans that has forced her off Twitter.
Entirely predictably, the story appeared in the mainstream press within minutes. Literally. Within 10 minutes it was in the pages of the Independent. And equally predictably it was the story of the fragrant author slapping down an uppity nat. There was no reporting of the abusive tweets, and there are many of them, from the person behind the anonymous account. There wasn’t even any acknowledgement that they existed. Neither was there any detailing of the numerous previous interactions between the anonymous account and the fragrant author, some of which appear to suggest that they know one another in real life.
The way all this was handled in the Scottish media can be summarised as follows: Tee hee, we know who he is. He’s a pal of ours, and we’re not telling you nuhin. It’s just banter anyway, have you got no sense of humour? Humourless nats. Blowing a joke out of all proportion. It’s the one party state in action. That’s the Scottish media in action, one yoonerism after another. Diverting blame to where they believe it properly belongs – onto the shoulders of independence supporters. It’s our own fault for provoking the witty anonymous misogynist. There can be only one victim in the Scottish unionist narrative, and it’s the Scottish unionist establishment. This is the only country in the world where supporters of a right wing establishment can pose as edgy and radical outsiders.
All of this was as predictable as the appearance of a one sided story in the Scottish press. It’s that imbalance which really gets under the skin of independence supporters. The Scottish yoondom media demands that as a movement the entire independence campaign takes collective responsibility for the obnoxious behaviour of a tiny minority. All of us as independence supporters are apparently to be held collectively responsible for the foam flecked utterances and actions of the three guys and a dug who make up the Scottish Resistance. Yet don’t dare imply that a Unionist is in any way shape or form responsible for the actions or words of another Unionist no matter how disgusting or outrageous they may be.
It is of course wrong to blame one person for the actions or words of another. Your average No voter is in no way responsible for the words of a foul mouthed anonymous account on Twitter. Equally the average Yes voter is not responsible for the words and actions of the Scottish Resistance. Using the words or deeds of a small reprehensible minority to castigate or invalidate third parties is wrong. Yet that’s exactly how the mainstream media operates with respect to Scotland’s independence movement. Two or three guys make a misguided protest against a teacake company, and it’s a characteristic of the entire independence movement. A single UDI sticker appears on a pound coin in Dundee and all of a sudden it’s the fault of everyone who voted yes in September 2014. I am not my brother’s keeper, unless I’m a yes voter. Then I’m my brother’s keeper, my father’s, mother’s, second cousin twice removed’s, and the ex-girlfriend’s of my aunt’s work colleague’s next door neighbour’s son’s. The Unionist media smear us all by association, but are outraged should anyone imply that they have a responsibility for their own supporters.
This is what sticks in the craw, the imbalance and the hypocrisy. Scotland’s Westminions demand that the independence movement is held to standards that they themselves refuse to be held to. The story of the author and the MP is just the latest chapter in a novel which will end with the Scottish media eating itself to death. It’s death by banter.
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