The Scottish political arena is a funny place at the moment. Never before in modern history has there been so much dangerous hypocrisy, particularly on social media.
And what’s equally dangerous is that right now this hypocrisy is being doubled by a notion that independence of thought is a dangerous quality in a political movement that seeks to gain independence for a nation.
It’s bad enough that many people appear to be quite content with the instruments of state – and certain members of parliamentary committees – seeming to be intent on covering up the Scottish Liberatores.
(The Pazzi Conspiracy being my favourite from history, and especially poignant now as we currently live in the only country in Europe that actually bans people from attending churches. It’s a pity for Giuliano de’Medici – the great-uncle of Mary Queen of Scots’ mother-in-law – that those rules weren’t around then.)
But the social media response to Wings yesterday really was quite something.
Now my apologies to Rev. Stu, but the hallmark of good journalism is surely accepting that we can legitimately disagree with some propositions made on this site while still greatly appreciating the highly professional content that gets facts out there, especially those pertinent to the independence movement, better than any of the traditional mainstream media.
Therefore I find myself rather bemused that there appear to be some members of the independence movement linking arms with the unionist commentariat to demand that the site is boycotted simply because it hosts some opinions they don’t agree with – most likely the one that women are adult human females.
Now, I understand why those opposed to Scottish independence would want to cancel a platform that has for years debunked Unionist claims about Scotland being too wee, too poor, and generally too dependent on England to become independent, but why on Earth would people that actually want independence do their bidding for them?
But funnily enough, they seem quite content to promote the Unionist press, and many even find it a badge of honour when newspapers that exist to oppose independence with every fibre of their being give them some column inches – most likely about a matter that has nothing to do with Scottish independence (and increasingly something to do with the British militarist system).
I’m certain there wasn’t a boycott on speaking to, or writing in, the cabal of British newspapers that enthusiastically supported the illegal invasion of Iraq that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. I assume there was a reason after all that Tony Blair spoke to a certain media tycoon on the phone three times in the week leading up to the fateful Iraq war vote in March 2003.
How good it must feel to be indulged and patted on the head by the very people that spend their lives denying the people of Scotland their right to self-determination. I’m even informed some of my colleagues aren’t averse to the odd military recce, kitted out in full military fatigues, and some of them even carry cards in their wallets issued to them by the British Army. (Apologies – I digress, and that’s what gets Stu into bother.)
So newspapers that were unwavering and unequivocal in their support for illegal wars are OK, but online blogs that say things we don’t agree with should be boycotted. Isn’t that a strange dichotomy?
There have even been members of my party, indeed Parliamentarians, calling for members of the SNP who promote Scotland’s most-read independence media outlet to be, erm… kicked out of the SNP. I can’t be the only independence supporter that finds it mind-bogglingly odd that more SNP politicians wouldn’t want to use a platform with the ability to reach the wider independence movement to a far greater extent than any other source online?
But hypocrisy is dangerous. And right now being independent of thought in the Yes movement isn’t exactly the safest of attributes to be found in possession of.
It’s water off a duck’s back, I imagine, to strong people like Kenny MacAskill, Angus MacNeil, Joan McAlpine and Joanna Cherry, who don’t shy from tackling tough issues or being a voice of the reasoned majority in heated issues such as protecting the sex-based rights of women in the face of terrible intimidation. Or perhaps as some of my learned colleagues would better put it: Nemo me impune lacessit.
It’s important that people can hold decision makers to account and highlight the hypocrisy of political choices. Whether that was the hypocrisy of elected politicians telling us to stay safe and protect the NHS last summer whilst posing for pictures in pubs – which magically you could safely take your mask off in and only had to adhere to a one-metre social distancing rule for some reason, even though you were in an environment with one of the highest risks of transmission.
Whether it’s that, or highlighting that a strategy to deliver independence predicated on hoping Boris Johnson lets the people of Scotland have a choice on their own future is in fact a strategy not to deliver independence but simply re-election, it’s vital that in political parties we can all feel free to call out hypocrisy when we see it, and to contribute by way of democratic discourse to the political direction of the party.
And nobody should be allowed to dictate that your membership of the SNP should be under threat if you choose to contribute via the most-read independence-supporting blog on this planet.