Death by banter

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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27 comments on “Death by banter

  1. Dorothy Devine says:

    Absolutely on the button.

    I look forward to the fragrant Ms Rowling attempting to sue and having to reveal all in court.

  2. Luigi says:

    The real shocker for me was the number of unionist journalists that follow the spanner creep and seem to know him/her very well. Bona fide, once-respected journos, apparently more than just loosely associated with this vile character. Now all in denial and diving for cover.:) I think this nasty affair has inadvertedly stirred a up quite a hornet’s nest. The wagons have been circled and the squirrels have been released. The poor dears still haven’t gotten over the fact that they won two years ago. 🙂

  3. John says:

    So, just to be clear because I’m a Twitter novice, this “dot-at” means that every one of the twitterer’s followers gets alerted to the squabble?

    When you have over 6 million followers that’s a really aggressive move. Hope that comes out in court.

  4. macart763M says:

    Well said Paul.

    The yoon commentariat mantra – ‘One rule for us…’

    Its who and what they are and also why they are becoming ever more irrelevant and ever more desperate in seeking ways to overcome their growing irrelevance. They’re powerful (still) and they are also afraid. For all that power, wealth, connections, their day is almost done and they can see it coming.

    The louder they shout and the more they throw their weight around, the more they find it is to an ever dwindling number of those willing to give a shit. I doubt they’d be missed if half of them followed through on their threats to up sticks in the event of independence. Hell, would anyone notice by that point?

    I don’t know much about such folk myself, but on evidence of the weekend just past they’re not worth getting to know.

  5. carthannas says:

    John: It won’t even make it to court if for no other reason than that Ms Rowling won’t want it all to come out. Despite the media blackout this affair must have tarnished her image somewhat already.

  6. Davy says:

    Yep its funny watching the unionist media turn cartwheels to have a go at any SNP/independent supporter, even when the evidence shows their own side is the culprit.

    Rowling/spanner, spanner/Rowling how can you deny the assocation, and if you sit beside shite don’t act surprised if some of it lands on you.

    As for spanner, I would bet he was quite pleased with himself when this all started, but now he appears to have been sniffed out I wonder how his bosses and friends view him now after reading a selection of his tweets.

    What comes around !!!!

  7. Dan Huil says:

    “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.”

    Exactly the point. Thankfully more and more people in Scotland recognize such britnat hypocrisy and will soon act accordingly.

  8. davidbsb says:

    I used to be impressed at the young reading books by the Yoon author you allude to. But I saw the latest cash-in thing on shelves at the weekend and turned my nose up in disgust. I feel soiled now to have paid cinema entry fees to watch the movies.

    Why do non Scots think its any more of their business who runs my country, than say who runs India, or the State Of Massachusetts ? This colonial attitude has no place in the post imperial world. The sooner we cease to be a colony the better.

  9. What is it they say? Treat others the way you want to be treated. Talk to others the way you want others to talk to you. Respect is earned, not given.

    I am not sure that threatening potentially life-destroying legal action against someone who points out that you are following a nasty misogynist on Twitter is the best way to go about getting respect really.

    The MP concerned could have gone about things a different way and was just a bit silly and naive me thinks.

    But the response? Well that was taking it to a whole new stratospheric level and nothing naive about it at all.

    However, as you highlight Paul, there is nastiness on both sides. But the idea that all this has only happened since 2014 is laughable. I remember the Thatcher years and the miner’s strike far too well.

    • WRH2 says:

      It may appear the MP was a bit naive but I think she did something quite important. She exposed the cesspit into which the media and their cronies have descended and she seems to have spooked them big time. Just look at the list of spanner followers! I bet they aren’t happy about us plebs knowing that they seem to think that kind of abuse is Ok. Kind of takes the shine off their halos. Maybe we should think about having badges along the line of “Je suis Charlie” to show our solidarity with her.

  10. Amy McCafferty says:

    Another great article Paul.

  11. Steve Asaneilean says:

    That should have read “way-of-life threatenin”.

    How does one edit posts on here again Paul?

  12. Death by banter, indeed.
    Jakey is Donald Trump in drag.

  13. J Galt says:

    Christ if I had Squillions I’d find better things tae dae than engaging in this low grade twitter ambush shite!

  14. angusthedug says:

    She really has shown herself to be a nasty piece of work and my first thought was “Is this what vast wealth does to a person?”. But then I thought of the Weir’s, who still seem to be honest, decent and down-to earth people, and I’m now more of the opinion that she has always had this odious streak, but her money now allows her to spread her malice with a deal of impunity.

  15. macart763 says:

    I just clocked the Record’s front page. Oh Jeez!

    Apparently they want the SNP to deliver their vow for them. Y’know, the vow the Record Vowed had been delivered already? That vow.

    Aye, the FM and the PM have to put their heads together and get it all sorted.

    And the Record seriously wonders why no one gives a flying **** about mainstream media in Scotland. 😮

  16. david agnew says:

    a small anecdote – this morning saw a tall woman in hiking gear outside smiths in Glasgow Central busily trying to hide the national with copies of the Scottish Daily Mail. I went up to her, said excuse me – I’m not a boor – and took a copy of the national from the back. I went on in to pay and left her to her silly pointless little games.

    She can’t hide the truth anymore than she could hide the national. The union is dying.

  17. The original tweets between Natalie and Jakey were probably seen by a few of her close circle of “friends”. Jakey then alerts 6 million plus tweeters starting a firestorm while shouting “defamation! over here! look I’m being defamed, I’m gonna sue, I’ve been defamed”! The alleged defamation would have been seen by nobody if she hadn’t got out her big old megaphone. Oh the irony!
    The vile spanner tweets which she found so amusing? They’ve been disappearing faster than a fart in a hurricane.

  18. Itchybiscuit says:

    “One Press to rule them all and in the darkness, bind them”.

  19. Steve Bowers says:

    They wield the goad with happy abandon, time and time again, it’s deliberate and calculated, sometimes it’s very hard to ignore, that too is deliberate and calculated, then they flick the switch of their pet journos and off it goes.
    You’d hope the “ordinary” people will know this by now and laugh

  20. Andrea says:

    Well, my money is on John McTernan as a potential candidate as the anonymous Brian Spanner QC. 1) He’s a Labour ‘communications’ wizard, 2) a champion of the Better Together campaign, 3) a really nasty piece of work, and 4) Has a history of using the C word against anyone who crosses him. He built up quite a reputation for it in the Former Australian PM’s office….

    Suppose that means I might get sued now… good thing about not having a brass razoo!

  21. Doesn’t ‘She Who Must Not Be Named’ simply ooze ‘entitlement’? And what a viciously puerile scenario is revealed in the ‘Spanner’ cabal, complete with insecure ringleader, protected by a veritable ratpack of wormtails.

    But to extort money based on threats? Isn’t that a crime, called ‘black mail’.

    I wonder which of her characters ‘She Who Must Not Be named’ aspires to? Perchance, poison-pen hack, ‘Rita Skeeter’?

    But I can’t visualise ‘She Who Must Not Be Named’ tweeting her ‘victims’ without a 30 foot python slithering around her chair, whilst she gently ‘lisps’, ‘Ssoon, ssooon, another victim thisss way comesss”

    Oooh. I quite scared myself there.

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