So, let me see if I’ve got this right?
Messer’s Angus Robertson; Stewart McDonald MP, and Alyn Smith MEP have in no uncertain terms condemned the on-line behavior of some purported SNP members, in consequence, some of those purported members have decided to resign their assumed membership.
Angus Robertson is quoted as saying “This can’t go on. People can’t go on thinking they can sit in front of their keyboards and do nothing but send abuse to people they don’t agree with. You wouldn’t do it in public, you’d be thrown out of a pub for doing it, you’d never do it at a family event, why on earth would you do it online”
In real life, would anyone accept a salesperson unleashing a torrent at abuse in response to your choice of product being other than their promotion? Moreover, would their employer tolerate such behavior towards a potential client?
During my career as a union officer, I dealt with many cases of gross professional conduct, prime amongst such cases were that of bringing the company into disrepute i.e. Behavior that paints the company in a poor light thus alienating existing or potential customers. The same principle applies to political party membership, as in any collective, no matter a member’s frustration on a matter, their actions shouldn’t bring the collective into disrepute.
Personally, I’m skeptical of the quoted numbers of abusive SNP members on social media, especially as anonymity allows anyone to purport to be anything, they choose including false membership of political parties. However, I do accept there are some amongst us less temperate than the course of cordial debate would expect.
I’d aver there’s simple solutions to the issue;
The @theSNP’s fact-checking and rebuttal service, must up its game in several areas.
Although I note an increase in tweeted rebuttals over the past few days, in the period leading up to May 6th, 2019 the service had tweeted just 29 times whereas the opposition parties had unleashed a tsunami of SNP disinformation across social media, inter alia Broadband (reserved), Tax; Employment law (reserved) hospital infection rates etc., in apparent confidence that only SNP members would attempt to rebut, rather than the party itself.
The paucity of rebuttals I’d aver, is directly correlated to the number of folks the service follows, which is currently one! That being @SNP.
“Michael Corleone” (The Godfather), said “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Leaving councils out of the equation, the SNP face 94 opposition MSPs and 614 opposition MPs, for the rebuttal service to have any credible function it’s arguable keeping just one friend close and 708 opposition MSP/MPs at a distance, needs to change and that change needs to be swift, we’re are in uncertain times politically and can be sure the opposition parties will want to exploit that uncertainty.
The service must also increase its presence to the SNP membership. The @SNP follows 1,666 and has 224,400 followers, compared to just 4,840 following @SNPMedia.
With just 4,840 followers, it comes as no surprise that some members in absence of fact, play the person rather the ball when challenging the opposition, I fully understand the frustration (but not the abuse), however, an effective fact checking service should provide members with the tools with which to rebut false information sans ad hominem attacks.
Messer’s Angus Robertson; Stewart McDonald MP, and Alyn Smith MEP, were absolutely right to bring the issues on on-line abuse to the fore of our thinking and without pulling their punches, some suggest their terms of reference “”cowards”, “weird”, “creepy”, “snarling”, “vicious”, “poisonous” and “vile” were unpalatable, to mu mind not as unpalatable as being the precipitant of such abuse?