5 Dec 2009

Salmond on Cybernats

Alex Salmond, to delegates, SNP National Council in Perth, Saturday, 5th December, 2009:

"The Internet Is a wonderful tool. It gives us a means to engage with the public, to motivate activists and to affirm our positive case for Scottish independence.

We must use the Internet for positive campaigns, to build our case and not get engaged in the negative agenda.

The SNP can only win and will only win on a positive agenda"

"Cybernats"- do you get the message?

Pious unionists - is that clear enough for you?

Sunday Update: By popular request, a link to Joan McAlpines excllent article on The "Cybernats" in today's Sunday Times, Scotland.


Jeff Saturday, December 05, 2009  

Fair enough, nothing particularly earth-shattering there to be honest.

Needed to be said though.

Alan Smart Saturday, December 05, 2009  

Jeff: I think in its simplicity it says it all. And from the top guy in front of SNP national council - moves things on in the right direction i reckon

Quinie frae Angus Saturday, December 05, 2009  

Hear hear. We need to pass it on to our fellow bloggers!

J. R. Tomlin Saturday, December 05, 2009  

So Subrosa was HORRIBLY negative, was she?

Do you really think that if you are meek and submissive enough they'll stop attacking you? REALLY?

Ha. I find that amusing.

Alan Smart Saturday, December 05, 2009  

Jeanne, I dont know the details of Subrosa's case, i think it is one of cyberstalking though, the motives behind which are unclear. She was most certainly not abusive as you say and very much hope she will return once the stalker is identified and matters cleared up.

I dont really expect unionists to stop attacking whatever posture one adopts. But if we dont give them free gifts, ammo, it will be more difficult for them to succeed. They might even have to talk about policy issues.

Quinie frae Angus Saturday, December 05, 2009  

No, not at all Jeanne. On the contrary, while I didn't agree with everything she wrote, I found Subrosa to be one of the most interesting, cogent and genuine posters on here and I enjoyed reading her blog. I also think it is really important that we encourage participation in this from older women since they're woefully under-represented at many levels - and in particular in the blogosphere. Subrosa's was a valuable contribution to democracy and I am very sorry to see her go. Haven't a clue what her current situation is all about as I haven't been on here long enough and don't know the history of all the postings, but I do hope we will see her back before too long.

Also, no, in no way am I advocating meekness and submissiveness - on the absolute contrary! We must step up our game, if anything, garner our strength, and be even more vociferous in our campaigning. But unless we do it in a respectful and positive way we will not gain the respect we seek from others - in particular from the general public, where it really matters on polling day, after all. It's all very well us political chatterers flapping our gums away on here among ourselves, but we've got a population to convince of our integrity and fitness to run our country ourselves. If we keep getting sidetracked by hoisting ourselves with our own petards, and letting the MSM string us up as "abusive ranting cybernats" (which I definitely do NOT think Subrosa is, by the way), then we will never get anywhere.

The unionist parties, their supporters and the MSM have some very persuasive arguments (as well as their negative and inaccurate ones, which really infuriate me) with which to win over the public. I don't happen to agree with these and want to see an independent Scotland some day (sooner would be better than later). But if we descend into that same negativity, and allow ourselves to be tarred as "abusive" and "ranting" then we are less likely to get to where we want to go.

It's like AWC says - let's just not give them the ammunition, for goodness' sake! We've got enough of a job on our hands without also having to waste time striving to limit the damage that can be caused by intemperate posting. I can understand why people feel tempted to do it (I often think things, I'm just careful not to publish them on the blogosphere), and I must stress that I think one of the beauties of the blogging is that "ordinary" people ARE getting a say for once, and getting to respond to the media/politician circuit's constant and tediously predictable press release feeding machine. The kinds of remarks that are perfectly permissible in normal face to face conversation in the pub or wherever, can be picked on by a media hungry for a "story" in these desperate days of a "churnalist" media agenda, pressured by the vested interests who own the MSM. People blogging merrily away here have unfortunately fallen foul of that, and throwaway remarks have been pounced upon and these unfortunate people are unwittingly finding themselves blinking in the spotlight of this country's formidable libel laws (see Private Eye ad infinitum for numerous incredible examples).

I feel really sad and disturbed by what's been going on in recent days, and that the very mannerly and inclusive Subrosa has been a victim of this makes me even more scunnered. She doesn't deserve this. But I read her final post, in which she said "It's a dirty world out there; take care", and I think we should pay heed to her kindly advice, and also that of the acutely media-savvy Aye we Can.

Let's not give our opponents the ammo! Or in football terms, the last thing we need right now is to be scoring any own goals!

Quinie frae Angus Saturday, December 05, 2009  

One last thing. The MSM are getting away with accusing the "cybernats" of being much greater in number than the nutters in their own ranks who are also guilty of posting abusive stuff on blogs. (e.g. there is a unionist called WeeGirlie who I find particularly offensive and ignorant in her comments and I wish the MSM would pick up on her). I don't know about the numbers, but I would hazard a guess that it's possible that there is a higher number of independence supporters who have felt compelled to join the blogosphere (me, for instance)simply because we are bereft of any MS medium whatsoever that takes a pro-independence line, that might otherwise satisy our thirst for inclusion in the wider debate. The blogosphere has provided us with the timely life-raft of a medium to give us a voice.

So naturally, if there is a higher than average number of independence supporters on here, per head of bloggers generally, then it is only to be expected that there may be a correlatory higher number of the - shall we say - more extreme? - posters among those supporters. However, I notice than none of the MSM that I have seen, anyway, have thought about picking up on this phenomenon, reasoning with it, discussing it, and who knows, maybe even employing a few more independence-minded journos to make up the shortfall! Goodness knows, it would surely make commercial sense since they they'd add a whole bunch of new readers to their dwindling readerships!

So no, Jeanne, I definitely do NOT advocate meekness and submissiveness. On the contrary, we must continue to argue strongly, intelligently and passionately. But let's stick to policy discussion, and honing a coherent, persuasive argument, rather than resorting to any sort of slanging/smearing type stuff which might allow us to vent our spleen but does much to damage our case.

And Subrosa, please come back whenever you feel able to!

O'Neill Sunday, December 06, 2009  

"...and any SNP party member found engaging in abusive behaviour online will be expelled from the party immediately"...he might have said.

AWC knows it, QFA knows it, Salmond (finally)knows it- but the inescapable fact about political blogging has not yet sunk in with Jean.

You don't blog to persuade or even insult your political opponents over to your side of the argument because the chances of success are minimal. If you're serious about being a successful political blogger then you are blogging to persuade the unconvinceds and waverers over to your side of the argument.

Throwing out abuse, libel, innuendo and anti-Unionist paranoia may indeed be cathartic from a psychological point of view (and save the cat from a kicking) but in terms of bringing people over to your *side*...how effective do you think it is?

Alan Smart Sunday, December 06, 2009  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alan Smart Sunday, December 06, 2009  

O'Neil, I also think you blog ( well I do) to try and influence your own "side", and get them to present their case in the most convincing way. And abuse is just 100% unconvincing, and near always counter productive as recent events have illustrated.

Yeh Salmond might have said it....but I;m happy enough with hat he did say. And the martyr mentality of the abusers is such that , if they are SNP members at all ( as oppossed to supporters), they might like the idea of being expelled for "exercising freedom of expression".

But at least they should now know in party political terms whose side - objectively - they really are helping.

Quinie frae Angus Sunday, December 06, 2009  

I'm possibly way behind everyone else today but I must draw your attention to Joan McAlpine's EXCELLENT article in the Sunday Times Scotland today. (Sorry, haven't a clue how you post a link to it here): "Cybernats are the new Pamphleteers".

I think the Scottish blogosphere is about to be augmented by a whole new bunch of readers/bloggers!

Alan Smart Sunday, December 06, 2009  


Here is The Joan McAlpine link:


Just cut and paste into you browser.

Iv'e also added it as a single direct click in my main blog post above.

Wrinkled Weasel Sunday, December 06, 2009  

Hey, I'm not Scottish, I just think the SNP is the most relevant party in Scotland, and I like their policies, and I am anti-war and I like to point out the positive face of the SNP and I still get called a cybernat.

What do you have to do to appease them? Commit ritual suicide?

Alan Smart Sunday, December 06, 2009  

take it as a compliment!

Quinie frae Angus Sunday, December 06, 2009  

Have you seen the SUNDAY POST'S scoop? Munguin's Republic has a really funny take on it.

Quinie frae Angus Sunday, December 06, 2009  

Having said all of the above re "positive" as opposed to "negative" campaigning, I've just seen Go Lassie Go's latest blog on what happened to Mark Maclachlan, and the over-sensitivity of politicians generally in the maelstrom knockabout that is politics. I can't for some reason, get on to comment directly on her feed, so am posting this here as this was the last place we were talking about this topic.

I think Joan McAlpine makes some really relevant points, and it's good that she's sticking up for Mark Maclachlan when he's been pretty much condemned elsewhere.

Jeanne, I think that was a good point you made too, on Joan's thread.

Hmmm. It's certainly made me think. Think I may have been a bit over-pompous in some of my comments above(although I stand by them generally). I haven't been following the bloggysphere for long enough though, and am only just getting my head round it all and how it all works, who's who etc.

Anyway, I would be interested in your take on it, AWC, when you have had the chance to see Joan's blog post on the matter.

Anonymous,  Sunday, December 06, 2009  

I think what Alex said was excellent.

I can't see why we can't conduct out arguments intelligently without resorting to an overuse of the kind of language for which Mr Mandleson is famed.

We must not stop the fight against the lies and spin and what will be a dirty campaign for Labour to hold seats in Scotland over the next few months.

For some of these guys, this could be the end of a £65,000 a year job and they aren't going to let go of that in a hurry. Not given the unemployment situation that they have created in Scotland.

So let's fight hard, but let's fight without resorting to foul language and unnecessary defamation.

Make sure of our facts, give links where possible and remember at the same time that we are not perfect either.

Quinie frae Angus Monday, December 07, 2009  

I do take your points, Tris.

Can you please explain to me how you put links up to direct people to something interesting you've read? I am cluelesss in that department.

And can I do it just in a comment on a thread, rather than needing an actual blog of my own?

Alan Smart Monday, December 07, 2009  

qinnie - just put you mouse pointer on the specific web address in your web browser and copy and paste like you would text on a word document., You can then just paste it into any comment you post, though it will not create an automatic hyperlink, but rather just a link for other to paste into their own browsers to bring up the article. Basic but effective.

Regarding Joan McAlpine's recent blog post on Mark McLauglin, I loved his blog, regularly contributed to it. But I thought and told him at the time (not just in hindsight) that he occassionally went OTT: I even commented at the time on the post that led to his downfall, suggesting he was courting trouble. At that point I did not know who he was. When it turned out he worked for Mike Russell I was astonished.

In this context i cant really agree with the point Joan is trying to make about the supposed brutality of the SNP leadership towards him. What options did he leave them with after he was outed, caught red handed saying some pretty vile things about their opponents? What else were they meant to do once the NOTW has scoursed over his blog picking up half a dozen or more pretty serious potential libels ( half a dozen in hundred of otherwise amusing posts I know - but you only need one to be in serious trouble). I think the SNP top brass acted in the only way they could, indeed decisively and so limited the damage. If they had adopted a kind of meally mouthed half way house Joan seems to be suggesting, they would just have compounded the problem, made it worse for Mark even. Had the SNP equivocated, it would just have dragged it all out and the media, including Joans own paper would have minced the SNP. And the stuff today pulling Fergus Ewing's researcher back into line etc was just sensible: Think it through, if they hadnt he too would have been toast by Tuesday. He now just looks like he has been a bit naive, too nice, and will live to fight another day

Mark McLauglin ( Monty I call him) will too I very much hope. But not as a paid employee of a Government Minister. He knows this too. It's easier to be nice as a sympathetic columist than a goverment minister, SNP press officer. or researcher caught in the direct line of fire.

Quinie frae Angus Monday, December 07, 2009  

Yes I do largely agree with you, Tris, especially since Mark must have known he was on very dodgy ground given his position. But we've all made howling mistakes in our lives, and it seems a shame that a sledgehammer had to be taken to crack a nut just because of the wearisome intensity of the Labour anti-SNP dogma.

Ho hum. Well, I am busily digesting all these arguments in order to make my own assessments.

If only we weren't having to fight such a war on so many fronts, i.e.: a minority government, a relentlessly negative Labour press machine, an almost exclusively hostile MSM environment, having to fight for air time on an equal footing, etc.

But Joan is definitely right about the role of clever satire and I still feel sorry for Mark in being strung up for the few times he went OTT. We've all done that! He must have been kicking himself. And she's spot on - bet ALL the party high heid yins read his blog and loved it! And these funny satirical blogs are bound to be a much more attractive lure to taking part in democracy to the people out there who find politics in general a right turn-off - young people, for instance.

Oh God, the dilemmas, the dilemmas.

When all is said and done though, it's the non-decideds and the waverers that we need to pull over to our side, and I agree with yourself and AWC that a slanging match is not going to do that, overall.

Thanks very much for the step by step instructions on how to post links by the way. That supplements AWC's earlier tutorial!

Quinie frae Angus Monday, December 07, 2009  

Sorry AWC - all of that last post of mine should have been addressed to you, for some reason I thought it was Tris that had written it when I first looked at it.

Suffering from the bleary saucer eyes of the newcomer to blogging who's been addicted all weekend and fascinated by this strange new world...

Will need to wean myself off it before too long so I can get on with life things!!


Ian Patton Friday, April 01, 2011  

Good to see you back mate! I've been missing my Scottish political hit! :)

... the Canadian Banjo

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