Sunday, November 29, 2009

A second Cybernat falls on his keyboard...

Blimey, they're dropping like flies at the minute:
The SNP Government was last night embroiled in a dirty tricks row after an aide to a senior minister quit over smearing political opponents on the internet.

Mark MacLachan, who worked in Constitution and Culture Minister Mike Russell’s constituency office, had attacked rivals on his blog since February.
The blog in question, "The Universality of Cheese", is not one I've read, thankfully:
Mr MacLachlan suggested some Labour politicians got a sexual thrill from bullying women, branded a prominent Tory "the biggest liar in the Scottish legal system", and posted a picture of Gordon Brown in a noose with the headline "duplicitous lying bastards".

He also alleged a married Labour MSP visited gay cruising spots, badmouthed the daughter of Lord David Steel, the former presiding officer at Holyrood, and described several opponents as "c***s". Mr MacLachlan had been employed at public expense since 2007.
Plenty more where that come from, if you're interested then read the article. Not very pleasant stuff, but it's unpleasant stuff which didn't help the SNP's cause even before his outing, which makes you wonder why the party hasn't done or said more publicly in attempt to call off the attack hounds from the more extremist wing of cybernatery.

This today from David Maddox should also really make the SNP PR boys have a long hard think about what's being said and done in their name:
The reason the comments are no longer allowed after my stories is because cybernats - by which I mean the extremist element that supports the SNP and manifests itself under anonymous names - were putting up comments actually threatening me physical harm and asking people to track down my home, car etc.

At that point it was decided by the newspaper's management that comments should no longer appear after my stories.

While I think it is a shame to close down the debate, I agreed with the decision, not least because my windows have been smashed eight times in the last two years, which makes personal security for me and my family a high priority, even if the vandalism was probably done by local kids.

I confronted via e-mail a couple of the pro-Nationalist posters who put up these threatening remarks and one, who at least had the decency to apologise, admitted to being a party member
If I had been Maddox in these particuliar cases, I'd have left that "confronting" up to the police to be honest but again, if the SNP are serious about developing "civic" side of its nationalism, this is not the kind of support it needs.


*Thanks to SM753 for the original alert.

8 comments:

Urban_Underclass said...

Oh dear, hmm...

I suffer from a rare condition called scottophobia, I don't know what triggered it, maybe an early childhood exposure to bagpipe music, maybe it's the sight of hairy legs under kilts, maybe Greaham Souness.

Anyhoo, I never went North of Leeds, just to be on the safe side. I'm a Newcastle Utd supporter, but wouldn't dream of going to a home game, I love Geordies, but, it's too close to the dreaded country. I suppose the closest I've ever been was Belfast.

Needless to say I don't read Scottish blogs. I've seen a lot of this carry on on redneck, bible belt right wing blogs, where anonymous posters let fly with the most horrible comments about Islam, African Americans even Democrat politicians.

Just to show them up for the cowards they are, I 'came out' online and revealed my true identity, to try to shame them into doing likewise or moderating their opinions. Needless to say it didn't work. But it was a good exercise in self censorship. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but at least it makes me think about what I write and realize that the person I am addressing is a real, flesh and blood human being.

Some people seem to think they are in a role playing game where you score points for the nastiest comment. They are spiritually sick.

Rory

Aye We Can ! said...

you slightly over egg this, but it is a real problem the SNP needs to confront.

Different country, different counyext but is the a parallel problem with cybernats in NI?

O'Neill said...

"But it was a good exercise in self censorship. I wouldn't recommend it for everyone, but at least it makes me think about what I write and realize that the person I am addressing is a real, flesh and blood human being."

You're abraver man than me Rory bearing in mind the kind of nutjobs out there in cyberspace. I try (and don't always succeed admitedly) in following my own comments policy. A good rule of thumb is could "I defend this post to family and friends if the MSM got hold of it and my identity was revealed?" In the vast majority of cases I think the answer is "yes".

O'Neill said...

"slightly over egg this, but it is a real problem the SNP needs to confront.

Different country, different counyext but is the a parallel problem with cybernats in NI?"

I'll answer the second part first and by doing so hopefully reply to the "over-egging part".

In the blogosphere and comments section of the Belfast Telegraph, UTV the BBC I haven't honestly seen the same level of vitriol that I see in for example the Scotsman and the Scottish blogs. Three main reasons for that I think, two positive one negative. The negative one is that there isn't a great deal of real interaction anyway between various Unionist and nationalist/Republican blogs- I've had very, very few N.Irish based Republicans (in comparison to English/Scottish/Welsh nationalists and people from the ROI) commenting on here over the time of my blog. Even the biggies like Slugger are more echo-chamber rather than bear-pit for most of the time.

Also comments-zones are much more closely moderated here and what passes over your side of the water very often wouldn't see the light of day here- obviously you're then dealing with an Open v A Civil Society debate there, but having had to put on moderation myslef here 6 months or so I've seen a definite improvement on the quality of comment alongside the inevitable fall-off in the numbers both contributing and reading.

Also in NI the memories of real conflict are still very real and raw and as a result I think the vast majority of people are much more circumspect about going OTT with comments about the other side. they do happen but the amount of self-regulation is surprising sometimes and quite often it'll be someone from the "same side" doing the telling-off.

Tying that in with "over-egging the pudding" with regards the cybernats' fun and games, Scotland has been lucky enough not to have experienced real civil conflict and so as a collective (not talking about you here obviously!)- your bloggers do perhaps do not feel the need to employ anywhere near the same level of self-restraint and control that we (as a collective, there are one of two unfortunate exceptions)do. Now, obviously give me cyber-conflict over the real version anyday, but imo still too many of the SNP-aligned blogs and commentators on The Scotsman do their and your cause a real disservice by dragging the debate down to base-level.

Urban_Underclass said...

Yeah, I've noticed that on most NI blogs you get very little cross community interaction. I'm not too familiar with the place but I would guess it probably reflects the reality on the street.

Rory

Aye We Can ! said...

Thanks for the insight on cross community blogging in NI. Perhaps Peter Robinson and George Foulkes could go on a job exchange, and i reckon that might soon change - george would take about two days to wind up the Sinners!.

Cybernats are though a big problem and something the SNP by their silence and denial ( "ours are no worse than theirs" ) have been slow to address. Maybe they will now.

By "over egging" I mean if you look closely most nat bloggers are actually quite polite indeed rounded. There is a distateful minority for sure that needs dealing with. But I am not sure they are as numerous as it appears - the same people seem to do a lot of posting over a lot of sites, judging by the time stamps on their posts are insomniacs! I suspect for them it's a form of therapy, but of little consolation to their targets.

Ironically the two recent casualties, Wardog and Universality of Cheese were on the whole quite civil - but kind of lost the plot it post Glasgow North East. Maybe it's easier being polite when you are winning!

Just as well they have shut down or they might be calling Urban_Underclass someting quite rude

O'Neill said...

Foulkes at Stormont, heh! heh! Yes please!

There is a distateful minority for sure that needs dealing with. But I am not sure they are as numerous as it appears - the same people seem to do a lot of posting over a lot of sites, judging by the time stamps on their posts are insomniacs!

...or living in anither time-zone perchance?! But yes, point taken.

Edwin Moore said...

What an interesting point on the lack of gab between unionists and republicans in NI; quite startling that, thanks Mr O'Neill.