Tag Archives: political abuse

Jardine: As nationalist anger overflows, old fears return

The 2014 campaign for Scottish independence was grim in so many ways. One of the most awful was the febrile atmosphere and the friendships and families torn apart. Some of those rifts have never been healed.

A few weeks out from the poll, I wrote about how worrying and awful it was at the time.  This is what happened when I put up a pretty benign Facebook post:

A friendly and thoughtful discussion ensued on it and then a real life friend who isn’t a party political activist but who supports independence commented that the “names of the traitors have been duly noted.” Because I know hime well, I knew he was trying to be funny, but in the current febrile atmosphere, his words may appear threatening to some. I felt it necessary to tell everyone that he was a nice guy and not a nasty cybernat but is that the sort of language we should be using at all?

I’ve been talking to people who are ardent “No” voters who are scared to stick their heads above the parapet and display any sign of their allegiance because they are scared of attracting unwelcome attention from the more excitable nationalists.

This atmosphere is horrible and we need to find some ways of  making things better because we can’t go on allowing our politics to be conducted by abuse and intimidation.

With the Scottish Government’s stated intention to hold a second referendum year certain to be denied by the UK Government who have the power in this matter, Christine Jardine uses this week’s Scotsman column to look at what that might mean.

She wrote it just after the disgraceful scenes in Perth last week outside the Conservative hustings where nationalist supporters threw abuse, eggs and had a right go at BBC journalist James Cook who was just doing his job. Again that “traitor” word was used.

Christine recalls some frightening moments during the 2014 referendum:

Anecdotally I’ve heard of a comedian at the Fringe describe 2014 as a friendly affair.

They must have been in a different referendum from me because my experience was certainly not that, but was instead a constant barrage of bitter divisive comments and actions.

I was one of many campaigners followed by nationalists who photographed us or posted horrible tweets about us.

On one occasion, on the eve of the vote itself, I found myself surrounded by a crowd or around 100 Yes campaigners waving flags and shouting.

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