Sunday, November 22, 2009

A (War)dog inhumanely putdown?

A salutary lesson for all of us involved in political blogging I suppose:
A UNIVERSITY has launched an inquiry into the behaviour of one of its lecturers after he used his pro-nationalist blog to mount a vicious attack on the Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy.

Robert Gordon University is investigating the online activities of Bruce Newlands, a lecturer in construction technology at the Aberdeen institution. Newlands, who writes under the alias of Wardog, used his blog to call Labour MP Murphy "a c***"
while complaining that he had "barged in front of other MPs to get his mug shown on TV".

Newlands, 31, is also alleged to have made unfounded claims about Richard Baker, Labour's justice spokesman, and Willie Bain, Labour winner of the Glasgow North East by-election.

Last night, an RGU spokesman said: "Given that we are now investigating this situation, it would be inappropriate to make any further comment."
I’ve had the pleasure of Wardog’s company here on several occasions; one or two of his comments have been genuinely funny, most however were puerile, a couple were abusive enough for me to have to delete*. Given the, let's be polite here, "shakiness" of his arguments though I’d have honestly put him down as a sixteen year-old internat warrior high on adrenalin and quite possibly the Buckfast rather than a fully-fledged grown-up and presumably intelligent lecturer.

Having said all that and whilst also acknowledging that libel laws obviously apply as much to the blogosphere as to the MSM, it is still a bit sad to see someone’s career possibly being put on the line because of inconsequential nonsense he’s being pumping online to an audience of, at the very most, hundreds.

The partys’ reaction to the whole storm in a kennel is exactly what you’d expect:
An SNP spokesman said: "All such offensive comments by individuals are to be totally deplored – whether it be this, or indeed the one made by Wendy Alexander's spin doctor when she was Labour leader."

Yeah it’s bad...but, hey, whatabout...

And Labour online, holier than thou?
A Scottish Labour spokesperson said: "We hope other political parties exhort their bloggers and fellow travellers to express their political views in an appropriate way, or else disassociate themselves quickly."

*My better half has just pointed out that Wardog's last contribution on here was a "thank-you" for a post I did alerting folk to a BBC portrait gallery of the soldiers of the Great War. So, not quite the one-dimensional character I've perhaps painted him as here.


Aye We Can ! said...

wardog was one of the better nat bloggers, always fair and rarely abusive. The Murphy blog was way out of charachter

There are lessons for us all in this episode though

(1) There are always more effective ways of engaing opponents than calling them C*** (2) When the mainstream media come a calling dont expect perspective or a right to reply (3) Blogs matter enought to get noticed these days

O'Neill said...

wardog was one of the better nat bloggers, always fair and rarely abusive

That wasn't really my experience on here, but it's not the real morale behind this story.

You've listed three of them, the fourth I'll add is that from an outsider's perspective the Scottish online war between the SNP and everyone else is the dirtiest I've seen, put your head too far above the parapet and someone on the other side is going to make sure you go down.

Grassing to employers, printing work addresses, linking into pornography in the comments zone and even in the case of SU, the odd threat seems to be all par for the course. Makes me rather thankful that the worst I've had was someone putting up a pair of their dangly parts in my Followers section!

O'Neill said...

"That wasn't really my experience on here, but it's not the real morale behind this story."

Or even "moral"...

tony said...

I have seen this guys comments elsewhere Oneil and found him to be clever and informative, I can't think why you had that view of him. We all have our off days and I have no knowledge of his more expletive comments to you.

Regarding his views on Murphy though, I would contend that this was veritas. He is doing his utmost to fool large sections of the populace and I could think of worse, believe me.

O'Neill said...

I have linked to four Scottish nationalist leaning blogs on here (including Aye We're ready!)where there is rational argument and debate; Wardog didn't deliver that for me but I guess it's a matter of personal preference.

Re the Murphy comment, I'd repeat what AWC said, much better ways of engaging with political opponents than basement swearing, but again it seems to work for some blogs so I guess a matter of personal preference.