I sent out a tweet several days ago voicing my disappointment at the way some Scottish politicians and councillors have been conducting themselves across social media, their behaviour often coming across as borderline abusive, derogatory, and somewhat troll-like.
Councillor Stephen McCabe giving a prime example here:
A response to the tweet I posted led me to the blog of one Mr. Terry Kelly, a Labour councillor for Paisley West. I had never read this councillor’s blog before, and upon clicking the link I was absolutely disgusted and furious in equal measure.
This is the sight which first met my eyes:
The language Councillor Kelly chooses to use is incredibly strong, and his vitriolic words scrolling across my screen gave me the immediate mental image of the rambled scrawlings of a raving lunatic.
However Labour councillor Mr Kelly is no lunatic, his words are carefully constructed with clear agenda – To cast a dark swastika shaped cloud over the SNP and the yes movement.
His constant comparisons of the SNP to the Nazis, Alex Salmond to Hitler, and the supporters of yes to Moseley’s Blackshirts are a disgustingly purposeful way to create doubt amongst the undecided voters and even soft yes voters to the extent they wish to move themselves as far away as they can from the yes “camp”.
“In addition we have a very grim and growing crisis on our hands with the activities of the so called ‘cybernats’. snp/separatist/cybernats, credulous individuals who have been worked up in to a frenzy of anti English hatred over the years by salmond and the snp. Their hate filled rancour has been unleashed on anyone who dares to argue against independence, they are also bullying and harassing people and making threats against anyone whom they deem to be a “traitor” to Scotland. This bunch of morons were created calculatingly by salmond and the snp and they are now out of control and can no longer be reined in. When the snp/separatist/cybernats get beaten at the referendum as they surely will we can expect civil disorder and violent behaviour by this mob, we can only hope that the authorities are prepared for it. This is the true face of nationalism, not since the days of Moseley and the fascist blackshirts has British politics seen anything like these thugs save for their fellow nationalists in the BNP.”
Who wants to be part of a fascist movement filled with thugs, apart from fascists and thugs? No decent person (and thankfully us decent folk make up the majority of society) would wish to be associated with such a group – and that is exactly what people like Terry Kelly are banking on.
I set my cringe mode to ultra tolerance and gritted my teeth to stomach reading several more of Councillor Kelly’s blog posts and comments, my blood pressure rising in line with my rage as I ventured further into the depths of his bitterness.
“The SNP have a tendency toward racism in relation to our English neighbours, that as others have found before brings them can bring a measure of success because some people buy the poison that they spread, some people need someone to blame, for the Nazis it was the Jews for the SNP it’s the English. There is no doubt in my mind that if Scotland were to separate from the UK it would suffer badly and since there would be no English to blame the nationalists would find someone else. Probably someone with a different colour of skin or a different accent like the Irish or the Polish community would become the enemy within”
The SNP have English politicians, English members and even English supporters of independence. To say they hate the English is, quite frankly, ridiculous nonsense.
The independence movement is a largely peaceful and democratic movement of people from all walks of life, of various nationalities and from across the political spectrum – a fact that Terry Kelly and his ilk know fine well, but choose to ignore.
I have never personally seen or heard any independence campaigner utter anything remotely anti-English. Now that’s not to say it hasn’t happened or doesn’t exist – unfortunately there are people out there on both sides of the debate who will no doubt air disturbingly xenophobic views, but there are people like this in all walks of life; this behaviour isn’t an exclusive trait of the independence movement, it’s a global trait and one which needs addressing.
The way to eradicate this bile is not to point the finger of blame at one group, whilst sheltering the guilty amongst your own crowd.
I am incredulous to believe that the council which Terry Kelly is part of deems his online behaviour acceptable, not when news stories of council employees being fired for airing similar views on social media have been reported in the newspapers, so what makes councillors like Mr Kelly exceptions to the rule?
We are constantly reminded that the eyes of the world are on Scotland as the referendum draws closer. What does the world think when it sees the likes of Terry Kelly, an elected representative of the people of Paisley, being so openly scornful of democracy in action?
This is does lead me to ask one important question: does Scottish Labour endorse the views of Mr Kelly?