I was going to write a piece today about the ‘corrosive negativity’ of Scottish Labour politicians and how this, and their failure to articulate a positive alternative to the policies they oppose, is why they have lost two Scottish elections in a row. It was all typed out, it even had a clever corruption of a ‘future fair for all’. But it didn’t sit well with me. As angry as I was that Jim McGovern MP branded the SNP a “racist organisation” last Friday and before that when Ian Davidson MP talked about giving a female MP “a doing” without so much as a slap on the wrist, I just could not lower myself to the standard of debate Labour are setting. But, alas, it is the “CyberNat” that is the bogeyman of Scottish politics. For it is not our Honourable Members of Parliament that must abide by the highest standards in political discourse but ordinary members of political parties and assistants to MSPs. Enough. Many of the people being branded as “CyberNats” are politically engaged and passionate young people even if their passion does lead them to say intemperate things sometimes.
Let’s get real though, for as long as there has been public discourse there have been loony’s, nowadays on chatrooms, forums or the comments section of the Scotsman. The difference is, now our MPs - and even those aspiring to be First Minister - engage them in conversation on Twitter. In the real world even Jim McGovern MP bates the SNP with his ‘racism’ jibes and references to the Scottish ‘Executive’. Is this really the best our politics can be? As a first step may I suggest Mr McGovern withdraws the insulting language he used last Friday. He need look no further than his own words for advice:
“Seriously, I hope I have the good sense and humility to know when I am wrong, although I will certainly have the courage of my convictions when I know I am right. The people of Dundee West would expect no less” (HC Deb 24 May 2005, c597)