BT Online Tutorial: Exploiting the Fears of the Masses

We live in a society which is unfortunately driven by media headlines. In particular, what we refer to as the tabloid or gutter press. It’s populist, it’s knee-jerk and it’s a sad demonstration of where we are in 2013.

“PAEDO!!”
“RAPIST!!”
“RACIST!!”
…all words thrown about with the venom of witch hunts. Words banded about often without a court verdict to back them up. As we know, innocent until proven guilty is supposedly the way the law works in this country, but the people want blood, and they want it now!

We also know that mud sticks, and Better Together campaigners have been demonstrating, with increasing regularity and lack of guilt, that they see this as a perfectly acceptable tool to thwart the ‘evil nats’.

I’m not going to name names in this entry, as to do so would only stroke the egos of those involved and give them the attention they so obviously crave. Given the online events of the past couple of days, I’m sure most of you will be able to deduce who it is I’m talking about.

It all started mid-conversation on Twitter. From nowhere, the subject of racism reared it’s ugly head. It was an opportunistic attempt to somehow connect the independence debate, and more directly the ‘evil cybernats’, with racism and xenophobia:

(in answer to “How does this play for indyref? Can you urge others to vote No knowing likelihood is Tory decade?”)

“Better 100 years of Tories than the turn on the Poles and Pakis that would follow independence failing to deliver”

Such is my utter hatred of racism and bigotry of any sort that I feel wrong even just quoting that. It’s not a word I have ever uttered or written down in my life. But aside from personal disgust at his use of the ‘P’ word – something I’m confident that the vast majority of us share – there are two other points to pick this self-described ‘Labour hack’ up on.

The first is his suggestion that he’d rather have “…100 years of Tories…” than live in an independent, and apparently racism-blighted, Scotland. He, as a Labour blogger and supporter, would forfeit any opportunity for the party he promotes and dedicates so much time to – and the policies that he is so (allegedly) passionate about being implemented – to govern again? I know Labour are right into their abstaining recently (“Why vote? We can’t change anything” – one prominent Labour activist actually said that to me recently) , but this surely takes it to a whole new level!

The second and most important part is his assertion that not only will independence ‘fail’ (which isn’t important – it’s just a phrase from the ‘Better Together’ manual) but that that failure will inevitably lead to a vast increase in racist/xenophobic scapegoating. He doesn’t even offer it as a possibility – it’s certain; fate; 100% fact.

Now this has been debated back and forth over Twitter and social media sites ever since, of course. He sees the whole thing as one big joke – ‘winding up the cybernats’. He appears to think that this is some sort of worthwhile activity. He doesn’t debate the actual pros and cons of independence – he just opens his mouth and excretes.

Later in the ‘debate’ (he didn’t debate, he merely offended and continued to crave attention), he tweeted something equally ludicrous and offensive:

“Lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the cybernats. Also lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the KKK in Alabama. LoL.”

Defaming a person by name is illegal. Defaming a group, without naming names, is not. As a lawyer (yes, this bile comes from a lawyer!) he knows this full well, and uses this to his advantage. His implication that ‘cybernats’ are racist is offensive in the extreme, and is a cynical tactic not worthy of any debate, let alone the massively important independence one.

Complaints have been made to both Police Scotland and the Law Society of Scotland regarding this behaviour. Time will tell if they have the powers and/or gumption to do anything about him.

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On the wider topic of the independence debate at large, it is this constant delivering of half-truths, white lies and unverifiable ‘facts’ to their followers that ‘Better Together’ rely on. This isn’t the ‘open and honest’ sharing of facts that they continually claim to be interested in – these are blatant attempts to vilify independence supporters in the eyes of the undecided, and worst-case scenario soothsaying with the sole intention of nurturing doubt in the voters’ minds. And it demonstrably works… on some. It is their equivalent of pointing at someone and shouting “PAEDO!”, and the people that fall for it demonstrate nothing but their own naivety – they are made fools of by the very people they support.

It’s disgusting and it has to stop. Now.

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