Scottish independence referendum, plus jokes.

Wings Over Scotland


An orgy of self-flagellation

Posted on May 05, 2013 by

The Scottish press has chosen its latest martyr well. Perhaps aware that the average politician – whose day job is basically one long playground name-calling session – doesn’t tend to cut a very convincing figure as the subject of “bullying”, this week the print and broadcast media chose someone a little more sympathetic to portray as a broken, pitiful victim of the Evil Cybernat Hordes: a poor vulnerable wee lassie.

selfflag2

A tiny 4’11″, Susan Calman is nevertheless a former lawyer (who’s worked on Death Row in the USA) as well as a comedian, and one might reasonably expect that she’d be fairly used to both being asked for evidence and being heckled. It’s quite difficult to imagine that any time she was challenged in a courtroom, with someone’s life hanging in the balance, she crumbled in tears at the shock of anybody requesting that she support her case with some sort of verifiable facts.

And as the privately-educated daughter of a knight of the realm, who’s appeared on national TV almost-naked and painted bright green in the persona of an aggressive sexual bondage-goblin, or demanding (successfully) to have someone urinate in her mouth, it’s also not unreasonable to assume a certain degree of robust self-confidence might be present. Indeed, Ms Calman herself concurs with that assessment, telling the Scotsman in 2006 that when it comes to abuse from audiences:

“Being a lawyer has given me a lot of confidence and there’s very little that fazes me.”

Yet this strong, confident, successful woman of the world, who also managed to come through a challenging adolescence as a lesbian, has been suddenly set before the concerned Scottish public as a helpless, quivering, sobbing wretch, reduced to this pathetic state by – well, nobody seems to know quite what, with days of searching the internet for the offending comments turning up a big fat blank.

And the oddest thing is that the Yes camp has meekly gone along with it all. SNP MSPs and Yes Scotland figures, and several normally-rational pro-independence commentators (not just the usual WetNat suspects), have lined up to bemoan the – alleged, unproven – attacks on Calman, treating them unquestioningly as fact. Why?

Is it really just because she’s a woman? Can it be that simple? Does the No camp merely need to react to any criticism or challenge by putting up a crying female and playing the “misogynist bullying” card? It’s a disturbing thought.

selfflag1

The other thing that’s been hard to avoid in 2013 is articles professing to examine why the Yes Scotland campaign is failing and what it can do to turn the situation around. But wait a minute. Every opinion poll published this year has shown a narrowing of the gap between Yes and No. In October we were being told incessantly that support was down to 23%, yet in 2013 it’s constantly been in the mid-30s, with only a 5% swing required to take the lead.

By doing little other than sitting back and letting the No camp drive its own supporters away with increasingly shrill, hysterical negativity, Blair Jenkins’ organisation is still making solid progress while keeping most of its powder dry until nearer the vote when people will be paying far more attention. Yet the media narrative is of failure.

Just as with “Calmangate”, we’re invited to pontificate over “solutions” to a problem which exists only as an unsupported assertion, subtly setting the agenda of the debate on a false premise that isn’t very far removed from “Have you stopped beating your wife?” – and in the case of poor wee defenceless Susan Calman, so traumatised by being quite reasonably asked if she can support her own claims that she’s closed down her Twitter account and gone into hiding, barely removed from it at all.

selfflag3

This site absolutely condemns personal online attacks. We get deluged with them every day (including, ironically, by Susan Calman), and quite apart from being ugly, they’re utterly counter-productive. We’re happy to leave that sort of thing to the Unionist side, which is the worst offender by a spectacular distance, and as such we actually fully agree with the broader thrust of Ms Calman’s original blog post.

But it is NOT “bullying” to ask for evidence for serious allegations and to question the veracity of those allegations if it’s not produced. It is in fact the most basic primary function of journalism, and anyone who portrays inquiry as abuse must be treated with the greatest suspicion. Wings Over Scotland supports all of its factual assertions with sourced and linked corroboration, and we expect the same standards of anyone else.

Many on the Yes side have allowed themselves to be played for chumps this week, intimidated into compliance by the cynical portrayal – whether by the media, Calman herself or both – of Susan Calman as a victim. “Calmangate”, like the broader strategy being deployed around it, reeks to high heaven.

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89 to “An orgy of self-flagellation”

  1. G. Campbell says:

    Peter MacMahon on Sunday Politics Scotland discussing this now.

    Fellow journo Kirsty Scott says most of the abuse is coming from the nationalist side.

  2. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    Calmangate
    Reification is key to capturing an idea. Rev, it was staring us in the face for days now, and you found it! I’m so glad that you are keeping up the pressure on this one. The Truth will Out!

  3. Stuart Black says:

    A warning to the faint-hearted, brace yourself if you follow the link to the naked green goblin…

  4. Eva says:

    I have just made the mistake of watching the Sunday Politics on BBC1 only to hear two journalists there being permitted to observe, unchallenged, that though both sides in the indyref campaign make abusive, personal attacks, the CyberNats are far worse than their Unionist opponents. Again, as ever, this was an unsubstantiated allegation. No evidence was presented, none was requested. There was the familiar repetition of allegations presented as fact. Of course there was mention of EVEN BBC journalists being accused, wrongly, of bias and again no evidence was presented. Apart from you, Rev, for whom I am eternally grateful, and a couple of similarly minded bloggers, where are the honest, investigative journalists? Is there no writer in Scotland today skilled or brave enough to report the truth? I tried an online complaint to the BBC and of course the damn thing froze halfway through. I will try again unless I lose the will to live.

  5. AnneDon says:

    Well put. The lowliest essaywriter in social science is expected to back their assertions with sources. That no longer seems to be the case with journalism in this country.
    If a paid news media is to survive, it needs to assert its professionalism by doing more than repeating assertions as though the claim was proof itself. By that standard, [particularly] television journalism fails every time, whether in the indy debate in Scotland (with its undoubted unionist bias), or the UKIP debate in England, where no context is provided on the endless tv shows to explain the figures they are quoting.
    It used to be said that television news couldn’t show the full details of issues because of time constraints; now we have 24 rolling news channels, and even less analysis, as they fill their airtime with speculation and rumour, rather than good, hard data.
    It’s also hilarious when tv commentators complain about ‘soundbite politics’ – something their professional ADD has brought into being, and continues to prize above ‘boring’ factual current affairs.

  6. DougtheDug says:

    I’m good at finding things on the internet and I’ve found nothing which corroborates the “shit storm of abuse” which Ms. Calman claims to have received. The only thing found so far is that one deleted tweet which was mentioned on a previous thread and that was a comment on her stage act not on her personality, sexuality, gender or physical appearance.
     
    That’s not to say she didn’t receive abuse comments via personal email or texts or the telephone or even face to face but so far no evidence has been presented.
     
    A point I made in a comment on the article “Saltired” over on Bellacaledonia  was that since nobody from the “No Scotland” camp has come up with quotes of abuse to beat the Yes side with then nobody from that side has any evidence either and I’ll bet they were searching for it even more frantically than our side was.
     
    I still can’t believe that elements within Yes Scotland and the SNP have accepted these claims meekly and without a shred of evidence to back them up. It’s the reaction of someone who’s been told how bad they are so often they simply accept the next baseless assertion of wrongdoing as fact. It seems the “No Scotland” tactic of relentlessly asserting that the internet is filled with evil cybernats has browbeaten some in the Yes side into accepting myth and accusation as a fact.

  7. G. Campbell says:

    The cybernats are now going after their own side, claimed Peter MacMahon on SPS, citing Andrew Wilson being attacked for praising Douglas Alexander in his latest Scotland on Sunday piece. There a 10 comments on that article at the moment and none of them come close to abuse. 
    Is difference of opinion to be prohibited now.
    http://www.scotsman.com/scotland-on-sunday/opinion/comment/andrew-wilson-destructive-personal-abuse-has-no-place-in-decent-political-debate-1-2920681
     

  8. Training Day says:

    Yep, as others have already posted, the Politics show was nothing other than a rehash of the same unsupported assertions.  Kirsty Scott was allowed free rein to claim that most online abuse ‘seems to come from the Nationalist side’ (evidence for this came there nane) and that ‘it’s been a tough couple of weeks for the SNP’ (evidence for this came there nane).  There is little point in examining the contribution of Peter McMahon, whose sister newspaper today claims that the academic whose work prompted that newspaper to portray the saltire as a swastika is himself the subject of death threats. 
     
    Doubtless though, the above paragraph constitutes ‘death threats’ in BBC/Scotsman world.

  9. Ron says:

    Wasn’t the attack on Isobel Fraser the only recorded bullying/personal attack on a BBC journalist by an elected politician?
     
    And it’s the nationalists who do the bullying. *sigh*
     
    Ironic the claims today came on the program Isobel Fraser USED TO present, albeit not the one she was abused on.

  10. Robert Louis says:

    I wholly agree with this article.
     
    I am heartily sick and fed up with the YES camp/SNP meekly agreeing with the utter bullshit and faux outrage coming from bitter together.
     
    Here’s a wee thought, how about the SNP and YES campaign stop being so feart, and actually check some facts, before placidly knocking their own supporters, most of whom are NOT abusive in any way.  Please stop this nonsense about all cybernats bad, as it is just NOT true.
     
    In the meantime, might I respectfully suggest that given the seriousness of the accusations being made, that we get Susan Calman, who started all of this, to put up or shut up.  I have yet to see one single shred of proof that death threats were made against her, and that they were made by an independence supporter.
     
    This whole scenario is baloney, and yet again, the YES camp have fallen for it hook, line and sinker.

  11. Ron says:

    Was there not evidence to a westminister(?) committee which showed the majority of abuse came from the unionist side? Can anyone point me to that evidence? I’m wondering how they did the research, and if it could be distributed widely.

  12. Angus says:

    I have phoned the bbc to complain about the opening statements where Miss Calman was reported to have had death threats against her (unproven) and where Nicola Sturgeon HAS had death threats against her (actually undisputed) and asked why the unproven allegation was then led onwards to allow the female commentator (never ever heard of her) to say that the majority of the abuse comes ‘from the nationalist side’.
    I stated that myself and my friends find this sort of discussion where the unfounded allegations are somehow turned into the story as an insult to myself and others political beliefs and that it is a form of demonisation by innuendo.

  13. Laura says:

    Brilliant summary once again Rev. Stu.
    Nothing further to add other than the communal phrase
    - ‘I smell shite’

  14. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Stuart Black
    Too late, alas! I’m not sure what is more nauseating; the repetitive prurient script or the image.

  15. Tweets and moans can’t break my bones, but damn the truth can hurt me.

  16. pmcrek says:

    To be fair to Yes Scotland, can you imagine the MSM coverage if Blair Jenkins popped up at the start of this affair and said, “proof …?”. Perfectly reasonable question of course, until it is filtered through the MSM.
     
     

  17. Robert Louis says:

    Why do the SNP keep on taking this kind of thing on the chin.  Just because somebody supports independence, and makes abusive comments, it hardly makes it the responsibility of the SNP or YES campaign.  I cannot for the life of me, understand why they do not just turn around and say, the person is a member of the public, they were not officially representing the SNP or YES campaign.
     
    The entire reason this keeps on happening, is because the SNP keep on assuming liability, when in reality it has nothing to do with them.  Bitter together ( who must be laughing their socks off) will keep on beating them with this stick, until such times when the SNP make it clear it’s not their responsibility.  David Cameron does not assume responsibility for every right wing nutter in England, does he??
     
    Please stop taking it on the chin, SNP.  It is only making matters worse.

  18. Bob says:

    Ron:
    Dr Mark Shephard of Strathclyde University last month hosted a discussion in the House of Commons – Discourse on Scottish Independence – Politicians versus Publics. Dr Shephard is in early stages of investigating social media comments on the Scottish independence debate to explore the nature of posts and their possible effects on behaviour.
     
    The findings, based on analysis of online comments under articles on independence, show the vast majority of posts are anti-SNP/independence and anti-Salmond rather than anti-English/anti-union.
     
    In terms of language, too, comments about the SNP and independence are much more vitriolic than about the union and UK.
     
    Interestingly, Dr Shephard identifies people gravitating towards the SNP as a result of the negative attacks on Scotland/independence. For every 220 online attacks on independence, one person starts to support it.
     
    Quote from: http://jenniferdempsie.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/negative-cyber-politics-is-problem-for.html?

  19. Geoff Huijer says:

    One wee peek at any newspaper’s online comments
    gives ample evidence of who the ‘bullies’ are.
     
    It is the reason I no longer look at any newspapers
    online – the anti-SNP/Independence rantings served
    with vitriol and lashings of hatred are an affront to
    any intelligent person seeking information, debate or reasoned
    argument.

  20. HandandShrimp says:

    Firstly, in my experience there are far more Yes supporters on the internet and active in blogs and comments than the No camp so any activity is going to look predominantly from the Yes side. However, those that do participate on blogs and comments on behalf of BT easily have an equal proportion of those who are unpleasant and abusive.
    Certainly on the Guardian comment pages there are any number of anti SNP and anti-Scottish comments. I have even seen it said that some of these are made by Yes supporters to make the No camp look bad. However anything said about the No camp is cast iron definitely from the Yes side. Cake and eating it springs to mind.
     
    I have no issue with an idiot being held to account from either side if they start issuing death threats or start stalking or harassing people but I expect it to be done on actual evidence. What the BBC and Scotsman (and to much lesser extent the Herald) are indulging in is simple black propaganda. Faux outrage at something that no one has given a scintilla of evidence for and then banging on about it every day as if it is received wisdom that their own lies are truth. I see hitherto neither Kevin nor Severin on the Guardian have not touched this with a barge pole and Ruth and Co are not getting too involved either.
     
    Increasingly, this looks like a Labour BBC hatchet job with the connivance of a comedienne that relies on the BBC for a number of her pay cheques (who seems to have developed cold feet). One thing that Alexander is right about is that this political battle has become dirty and we can clearly see who the moral pygmies are (no offence to pygmies intended). This needs to be bust wide open. BBC – any whistle blowers out there that would like to call time on this? Susan Calman herself even?

  21. Kendomacaroonbar says:

    I’ve watched Politics Scotland programme this morning and listened to a Scotsman and Guardian journalist make statements that although ‘trolling’ happens from bothsides of the argument, that abuse directed at those individuals with differing opinions comes predominately from the seperatists. No request for clarification from the interviwer, no balance…job done.
    I have always been of the opinion that the establishment won’t allow Scotland to choose independence..I am reminded this morning that this will still be the case.
     

  22. Mac says:

    I have to agree that the YES campaign have behaved in spineless fashion in accepting fact-free allegations of abuse.

  23. pmcrek says:

    @Robert Louis
    The SNP, YesScotland etc.. have very little influence in the Scottish print and TV based media. I cant see anything anyone can do about it, any non-meek statement by the SNP or Yes Scotland on this would simply illicit an even greater rampage by the MSM against them. Every statement would be twisted out of context, resignations would be asked for etc.. you know thats what they would do, because thats exactly what they want to do.

  24. Mosstrooper says:

    AAARRGGHH! I followed the green goblin link. My eyes, my eyes.
    THAT is supposed to be funny? Is there not a Trades Description code?
    I had only heard her on News Quiz and she was dire. I actually switched over to Radio Scotland she was so bad. Should she not be back on death row for the murder of Scottish comedy.
    I may have been guilty of litotes there, conflating her output with comedy

  25. Graeme Purves says:

    “It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the SNP” is obviously in the brief for the week. Angus Macleod slipped it in on The Bateman Show yesterday.

  26. Patrick Roden says:

    Hey everyone, the SNP/ yes approach to Calmangate is simple, agree with the assertion that abusing someone for having a diffirent view on independence is unexeptable.
     
    Can’t we see how it would play if people from the Yes campaign tried to make even reasonable comments about Calman?
     
    It would be reported that Yes was promoting the abuse of people who supported the union. In one swoop they would dissenpower bloggs such as Wings, as the MSM painted them as vehicles of online hatred and abuse.
     
    The Yes simply must let all challenges be like water off a ducks back, by agreeing with the premiss that it is wrong to abuse people with a diffirent viewpoint.
     
    What the MSM and in particular the BBC want more than anything is a good soundbite type headline that will paint Scottish Nationalism in the same light as Extreme right wing Nationalism, with the intolerance etc that this brings.
     
    The SNP must therefore  always be mindful to put forward the image of a party that is completely reasonable.
     
    Lets not do the BBC’s work for them.
     
    Great article Rev.
     
     

  27. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @ Bob
    Greatly informative post. Thanks.
    Rev, looks like there is an article for you here :)

  28. The Man in the Jar says:

    I have been having a good old rant regarding this very subject over on the “Small is beautiful” thread this morning. Please indulge me when I copy a small part of that rant here.
    “For those who wish to see a comment from one of our lovely neighbours here is a wee gem from Debate.org (Should Scotland become an independent nation?) And they have the cheek to decry cybernats?

    Anonymous saysApril 30 2013 06:24 PM
    “Happy to have Trident back, thanks. Re-target on Edinburgh, Glasgow etc. Do you really think the “British” are any better or different to the Yugoslavs? Looking forward to a violent, bloody and vicious war. Than a closed border, forcible repatriation of ethnic Scots, cessation of trade and commerce. And veto Scotland’s attempt to get back into the EU.” All the more reason to build up our armed forces and be rid of a nation of half wits like you.”
    http://www.debate.org/opinions/should-scotland-become-an-independent-nation
    Unbelievable that we get hit with this sort of crap and yet we get tarred with the same brush. I am becoming very annoyed at the official independence organisations sitting back and taking it on the chin. Yes to a positive debate but at least acknowledge that the so-called abuse when it happens and if it happens goes both ways. It is obvious that we independence supporters far outnumber the pro union supporters when it comes to the on line debate. Where is the Bitter Together equivalent to Wings or NNS? I think that it is the volume of informed comment from the indi side that annoys the no campaign and their compliant MSM the most. consequently it is the easy way out to blame “the cybernats”

  29. muttley79 says:

    @DougtheDug
     
    I still can’t believe that elements within Yes Scotland and the SNP have accepted these claims meekly and without a shred of evidence to back them up. It’s the reaction of someone who’s been told how bad they are so often they simply accept the next baseless assertion of wrongdoing as fact. It seems the “No Scotland” tactic of relentlessly asserting that the internet is filled with evil cybernats has browbeaten some in the Yes side into accepting myth and accusation as a fact.
     
    It is not just elements of Yes Scotland, and the SNP, it is figures in leadership roles.  Nicola Sturgeon accepted that the claims about the abuse of Calman was correct without asking for evidence.  She is a lawyer as well!  This episode has confirmed to me a few things.  Firstly, the MSM in Scotland, along with the No campaign, have descended into outright black propaganda against the Yes campaign and independence supporters.  They simply cannot take being put under pressure by pro-indy blogs, such as WoS, National Collective, Bella C and others.  Secondly, unfortunately it looks like the Yes campaign and the SNP are not going to stand up to the MSM’s claims.  It is going to be left to pro-indy blogs to demand evidence for their claims, as Rev Stu has been doing this week without success.  In other words, the Yes campaign is going to try and win the referendum by being nice. 
     
    @HandandShrimp 
     
    Increasingly, this looks like a Labour BBC hatchet job with the connivance of a comedienne that relies on the BBC for a number of her pay cheques (who seems to have developed cold feet). One thing that Alexander is right about is that this political battle has become dirty and we can clearly see who the moral pygmies are (no offence to pygmies intended). This needs to be bust wide open. BBC – any whistle blowers out there that would like to call time on this? Susan Calman herself even?
     
    I have wondered for a while if there was anyone at the BBC in Scotland who is getting disillusioned with the propaganda we are now witnessing.  I don’t think it will happen.  However, if it did it would certainly be interesting! 
     
     

  30. Les Wilson says:

    All this stuff needs to be monitored closely as the Unionist Conspiracy will stop at nothing, there are no depths to which they will not fall.Everything must be substantiated, all the time,to expose the Unionist MSM manipulation of well, anything!
    However, their fallback in a close run vote is just that, the vote itself.
    All the Unionist will play the “Proxy” vote to the hilt, they will try and rig the vote itself by any means they can. We need to prepare for all this and I hope the SG ARE preparing, for as sure as the sun rising they will do everything to cheat us.
    The Unionists NEED Scotland for so many of their own needs that they cannot allow Independence in their eyes. We all need to be on our game and thwart them at every turn.

  31. Ron says:

    @Bob
     
    thanks! That was the one.

  32. handclapping says:

    @Mosstrooper Aren’t death threats bad enough that you must fire rhetorical arrows at us on our Sunday day off?

  33. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Patrick Roden
    Excellent analysis. Politics is like chess, where one has to think strategically, i.e., what will unfold several moves. Tactical losses, like sacrificing a pawn, are acceptable if they draw the opponent into checkmate!

  34. Marker Post says:

    This “bad couple of weeks for the SNP” is a theme I’ve been noticing more and more in the past 6 months.

    Another example in the Scotsman today, “The fresh push from UK ministers comes at the end of a torrid two weeks for the pro-independence campaign over the question of what currency Scotland would use”.

    It’s almost like there’s a black-ops campaign being run…

  35. Craig P says:

    Keep at it Rev because there is something not right about this whole affair. Remember last year when the police released stats that white on white violence had increased? Cue 3 or 4 days of full spectrum media commentary about how the Scots had become increasingly racist to the English, usually then going on to lay the blame at Alex Salmond’s feet for telling us we are different. 
     
    Then, a week later, a more detailed breakdown of the stats was released, and guess what? The attacks were mainly on white Scots, attacks on English had in fact *decreased*. This was reported in two places, the Scottish Government website, and Newsnet Scotland. Silence from everywhere else. 
     
    Calmangate has the same whiff of fact-free demonisation. 

  36. McHaggis says:

    OK, I’ve asked journalists and editors at The Scotsman directly to provide links or any other evidence to Calman ‘Threats’ or ‘Vicious Abuse’…
    I understand Calman herslef either never actually saw either but was told it existed.
    To me, The Scotsman has either been 100% complicit in reporting what are almost certainly lies, or has accepted that its own journalists are 100% sloppy in doing what is supposed to be their job.

    Which is it?
    is the story a lie or is it the reporters couldn’t be bothered to even check?

  37. McHaggis says:

    BTW Rev, I assume the Lawyers have never responded to your last letter to them?

  38. Mac says:

     
    There is growing evidence that the YES campaign are weak in responding to baseless allegations made against nationalists.
     
    Where are the robust challenges that basically says to unionists “put up or shut up”?

  39. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Marker Post
    It’s almost like there’s a black-ops campaign being run…”
     
     
    Not quite, but rather
     
    There is a black-ops campaign being run!

  40. HighlandMartin says:

    I’ve got to say I’m totally dismayed by the interventions by the Yes team into Calmangate this week.  The guilty ‘interventionists’ allowed themselves to be lead by the nose by the Unionist press.  The first I knew of this was the original story in The Scotsman and my interest was purely raised by the fact that there were a lack of them.  There was also the ‘coincidence’ of Brian Wilson rant the same day. 
    I smelt shite indeed.
     
    The Yes team had at least two days to separate out the wheat from the chaff and to come up with questions that could be levelled at the level of journalism.  They didn’t and consequently just gave oxygen to the snowballing waft of shite.
     
    The parallel that Nicola Sturgeon received ‘a death threat’ was too little too late and completely spelt out to the wrong people.  I have no doubt that Ms Calman gets abused in her daytime job, It would probably reasonable to say that Ms Calman over embellished things a little and headed for cover after realising the capital that the ‘press’ would make of it.  The Yes campaign have only themselves to blame for not nipping this in the bud earlier, politely, firmly knocking the ball back into the unionists court.
     
    I hope the Yes team take a more proactive stance and it wouldn’t hurt to agree from time to time with general opinion that they smell shite too.
     
     

  41. molly says:

    Two wrongs don’t make a right ,I appreciate that but the aim does appear to be to ‘cow’ the evil cybernats. However wasn’t it Tom Harris MP (as Labour media tsar ) who last year had to step down from that role (after portraying Alex Salmond as Hitler), wasn’t it Willie Rennie MSP who was lambasted for his offensive poster (aimed at Alex Salmond ) and wasn’t it George Foulkes MP who had to have it brought to his attention how inappropriate his tweets were ?

    When Catriona Renton ,BBC broadcaster was approached in a perfectly civilised manner( a couple of weeks ago in George Square), the member of the public queried the numbers in attendence quoted by Miss Renton in her report. Her response was “why are you attacking me “. This to me speaks volumes about what is happening below the surface.

    For years the docile mob (us, people living in Scotland ) have moaned and muttered but in effect allowed the agenda ,whatever that maybe to be set and lets be honest most of us, have just put our heads down and got on with it. Now though, the ‘agenda ‘ is being challenged,whether that be on the net /mobile or complaints procedures and the great and the good don’t like it. Rather than broadcasting to a homogenous faceless audience, the audience can now hold you to account-instantly. 

    As for the YES campaign , I don’t think they are just sitting there ‘taking it’, but what would be the benefit of a huge slanging match ,you would be walking right into the trap.The diversionary tactics would end up winning ,rather than the ‘real ‘debate, besides I turned my laptop around last night and let my visitors see the ‘keep calm etc England Independence ‘post, suffice to say no words were needed. 
     
     

  42. Indion says:

    Bob @ 1:18pm: Thanks for that.

  43. Roddy Macdonald says:

    The thing that amazes me is that in among all the hugz on twitter now are umpteen people purporting to have seen the ‘dreadful bullying’.  This despite Twitter Search and Google’s servers being tested to destruction this week by Cybernats searching for it and finding nothing but tumbleweed.

  44. Hetty says:

    It is a bit daft allowing the bt lot to dictate the agenda at the moment, the YES and the SNP 
    would be wise to state that without actual evidence the the claims by calmastare dubious.
    it seems a good distraction for the bt lot to make this into a huge story as well as being a good way for them to avoid any kind of decent and proper debate or to tell us what they are offering the people of scotland with a no vote. I think we all know why this is. Ms calman being in hiding seems a tad ott given that Nicola S and Alex S have been threatened much more. Calman must present evidence for her own integrity, I’d have thought. Otherwise theres no case to answer for sure! I have said it before the bt lot will try everything and anything. It won’t stop there. We certainly need our lookouts and websites like this one if we are to avoid the utter propaganda and unscrupulous tactics of the bt lot. 

  45. Marker Post says:

    On a whim, I typed “propaganda techniques” into Google, and found what could well be the unionist playbook from a community college in California:
    http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/as/404.htm
    Name calling: This techniques consists of attaching a negative label to a person or a thing. People engage in this type of behavior when they are trying to avoid supporting their own opinion with facts. Rather than explain what they believe in, they prefer to try to tear their opponent down.
    Glittering Generalities: This technique uses important-sounding “glad words” that have little or no real meaning. These words are used in general statements that cannot be proved or disproved. Words like “good,” “honest,” “fair,” and “best” are examples of “glad” words. [Better together, anyone?]
    Transfer: In this technique, an attempt is made to transfer the prestige of a positive symbol to a person or an idea. For example, using the American flag as a backdrop for a political event makes the implication that the event is patriotic in the best interest of the U.S.
    False Analogy: In this technique, two things that may or may not really be similar are portrayed as being similar. When examining the comparison, you must ask yourself how similar the items are. In most false analogies, there is simply not enough evidence available to support the comparison.
    Lots more where this came from at the above link.
     

  46. JLT says:

    I still can’t believe that elements within Yes Scotland and the SNP have accepted these claims meekly and without a shred of evidence to back them up.
    ——————
    I think the Yes campaign know exactly what this is; that it is just another hysterical rant, and therefore, rather than complain about it and drag it out into the open arena, it might just be best to let this die its own death.
    The other thought is, that the Yes campaign, are giving the Unionists a lot of rope here, in the hope that the Bitter Together mob will make the mistake of hanging themselves when it is proven that there has been no such tsunami of abuse (you will get the odd idiot who probably did send her emails, but as the Rev says, he gets it here all the time! – and he’s not complaining to the media about it!!).
     
    My hunch is, that it is the first train of thought. That Ms Calman, for some unknown reason, has taken a bit of flak, had a hissy fit, and ran to the media to complain.
    In which case …if she is going to do stand up comedy, then she better have a suit of armour on in the future and a set of ear plugs, for the public now know, that she is seriously easily wound up, and she will …will …get heckled because of that! - a comedian’s worst flaw !! (maybe it’s time for another career change, Susan!)

  47. The Man in the Jar says:

    The only positive to come out of this is that regardless if you are a comedian (Calman), folk singer, (Karine Polwart) historian, (Dr. Fiona Watson) Any European politician, or indeed anyone with even a slight media presence then you had better watch what you say around the Scottish MSM and / or on line twitter etc. This hopefully will eventually backfire on the unionists. We can only hope that it doesn’t put such people off commenting altogether.

  48. Susan says:

    These photos are awful.  Especially on a Sunday, although I have no idea why!  Please, no more, they are not really even that relevant.  Cheers. 

  49. kininvie says:

    Just back from a couple of hours canvassing for Yes.  How many times was Calmangate raised? Zero.
    On the other hand, there are still plenty of folk who ‘aren’t interested’ – and plenty who say they need more time or information to make their minds up. These are the people we need to bring round, not the couple of dozen working themselves into a froth over abusive twitterati.

  50. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Please, no more, they are not really even that relevant.”

    Wasn’t planning any more. But, um, they’re pictures of self-flagellation, in an article called “An orgy of self-flagellation”.

  51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “rather than complain about it and drag it out into the open arena, it might just be best to let this die its own death.”

    Then they should keep their mouths shut, instead of giving the papers an excuse to run it again the next day.

  52. Yesitis says:

    The Man in the Jar
    The only positive to come out of this is that regardless if you are a comedian (Calman), folk singer, (Karine Polwart) historian, (Dr. Fiona Watson) Any European politician, or indeed anyone with even a slight media presence then you had better watch what you say around the Scottish MSM and / or on line twitter etc. This hopefully will eventually backfire on the unionists.
     
    Exactly.
    With over a year to go, these past few weeks and months have been good training for those who are considering entering the fray to represent the Yes vote. Better to make your (perceived?) mistakes now and to know what to expect from the No campaign/BBC/unionist MSM, than to continue to appear to walk into set ups closer to the referendum.
     
    Surely now, there can be no doubt that the BBC and almost all of the Scottish MSM are complicit members of the No campaign, and should be treated accordingly.

  53. HighlandMartin says:

    Then they should keep their mouths shut, instead of giving the papers an excuse to run it again the next day
     
    Uh huh.
     
     

  54. JLT says:

    Rev. Stuart Campbell says:
    5 May, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    “rather than complain about it and drag it out into the open arena, it might just be best to let this die its own death.”
    Then they should keep their mouths shut, instead of giving the papers an excuse to run it again the next day.
    —————–
    True …to a degree. My guess is that, the Yes campaign have condemned what may be perceived as ‘bullying’ from a very small minority. I’m guessing Ms Calman received quite a few emails about her comments, but a % of those comments, would be ‘…abuse’.
    As for Ian Bell, he is just summarising the week itself, and given an opinion.
     
    But, I believe that the Yes campaign have made a statement, condemning bullying, and are therefore saying, that it is done and dusted. An apology of sorts from the Yes campaign you could say, even though it had nowt to do with them.

    However, if Ms Calman, the media and the Better Together mob are determined to flog a dead horse with this one, then it may come back to bite them.

    If Susan Calman wants to make a big deal of it by saying that she is shutting down this, shutting down that, then she seriously needs to look at the path of career she is taking; if she can’t hack it, then she needs to get out …or is Susan doing this to promote herself (it wouldn’t surprise me! – wail to the media …and then ‘look at me, look at me’ – how many celebrities have done that?).

    Sooner or later, the public will get fed up with this, or get seriously annoyed. Either way, it is up to the No campaign to end it, or possibly face a backlash…because, people will want proof in the end that this abuse is continuing, and that it is happening on a grand scale.

  55. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “These are the people we need to bring round, not the couple of dozen working themselves into a froth over abusive twitterati.”

    The problem is, those couple of dozen all work for newspapers and the BBC.

  56. JLT says:

    Tell you one thing, Rev,
     
    Ian Bell, as each week goes by, is nailing his colours to the mast! Good to know from his piece in the Herald today, that he intends to vote ‘Yes’.
    Hopefully, other journalists, who are also like minded, or swithering to vote ‘Yes’ will soon do the same, and start promoting a ‘Yes’ vote…

  57. Jiggsbro says:

    or is Susan doing this to promote herself (it wouldn’t surprise me! – wail to the media …and then ‘look at me, look at me’ – how many celebrities have done that?)
     
    I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies. It could have been a ‘leaked’ sex tape.

  58. muttley79 says:

    @JLT
     
    Ian Bell has supported independence for ages.

  59. JLT says:

    ‘I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies. It could have been a ‘leaked’ sex tape.’
    —————
    ‘…gasps (in shock) …Jiggsbro …tsk-tsk …and on a Sunday too….’ (LOL)
     
    Ach, at the end of the day, this whole Calman thing means nothing to me. I never heard it, I don’t want to hear it, I don’t care! What does bother me, is that, this young lass wants to be a comedian, but how she has handled some bad abuse, to be quite honest, she has handled it rather badly. To run to the media whining about it, has only fanned the flames. If she had kept quiet, ignored it, then this would have died within a day or two.
    That is why I wonder what is really going on. Is this a case of using some ‘bad news’ to promote ones-self; especially with the Fringe only 3 months away …the idea being, people will remember her name! Either that, and as I have said above, she can’t take flak, especially when it is bad. Believe me …I bet ALL celebrities get a % of abusive flak coming their way all the time, but you don’t hear them greeting about it!!
    I did see the HIGNFY, and to be honest, some folk found it offensive, others didn’t. To me, I smirked at some of the lines, but as to the audience participation …well, if that is how some of the London folk think, then so be it …they won’t be winning hearts and minds up here with that attitude !!!
     
    At the end of the day …this will all be forgotten about by next weekend.
     
     
     
     

  60. JLT says:

    muttley79 says:     
     
    @JLT
     
    Ian Bell has supported independence for ages.

    —————-
    I know mate, but his piece today I believe, really nailed his colours to the mast. He is becoming more and more vocal about it, and that’s brilliant. We need more journalists like him to do that, especially if it flies in the face of his paymasters. We don’t have enough journalists like him, especially when at times, it feels like a tsunami of pure lies from the others…

  61. annie says:

    There is a danger that if we start to feel agrieved at Yes Scotland then we will stop supporting them financially – a couple of weeks ago when the BT camp released their funders information there was a surge in small donations to Yes, myself included, in direct response and this was confirmed by an email from Yes at the end of that particular week.  Just something else to consider.

  62. G. Campbell says:

    I missed this earlier. Hugh Andrew, Managing Director of the publisher Birlinn, wants to protect freedom of opinion by, um… cracking down on freedom of opinion.

    “they expound Fascism. They expound hate, hatred of anyone of different views, hatred of the ‘English’, they believe in their right to threaten and abuse anyone who disagrees with them. They bear all the self-imagined hurts, wounds and grievances which lie at the root of fascism. And there should be no place for them in a democratic party in a democratic country.”

    “Three academic works, three sets of attacks, three assaults on free speech and on free opinion. Am I alone in thinking there is something deeply sick at the heart of Scotland?”

    http://www.thinkscotland.org/thinkpolitics/articles.html?read_full=12104&article=www.thinkscotland.org

    So get yersels telt, cybernats. In future, if you really feel the need to vent your spleen, please make sure you put down all your complaints in book form and then submit it to a publisher. Otherwise, keep your traps shut.

  63. Robert Kerr says:

    O/T a tad,
    Been to supermarket, no Sunday Heralds left, a huge pile of forlorn SoS being ignored.
    Be of good cheer,
    Some months ago I helped fund a documentary on the MSM bias, 
    http://www.sponsume.com/project/make-believers-documentary.
    Be interesting when it is released. Especially the timing.
    We a shall triumph. 
     

  64. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Some months ago I helped fund a documentary on the MSM bias,
    http://www.sponsume.com/project/make-believers-documentary.
    Be interesting when it is released. Especially the timing.”

    Will be VERY interested to see that. When’s the release date?

  65. CameronB says:

    I knew that Birlinn published a lot of challenging titles and would regularly bump in to Hugh, who I worked near for years. I was never really certain of his politics, though he did strike me as a man who was highly regarded by himself.

  66. AmadeusMinkowski says:

    @Robert Kerr
    Brilliant news! Can’t wait to see it.

  67. Iain Henderson says:

    The press has always been biassed. I mean generally, although the current anti-independence bias is symptomatic. They try to influence democracy by misrepresenting or distorting the  truth, or even inventing truth when none  exists to suit their needs (usually the election is over before any court case brought by the  victims eg labour party victims of repeated lies told by tory press during the Thatcher years)
    The internet levels the playing field somewhat.On on  level its just direct marketing, I believe I read at the end of last year that more people read sites like Wings an  Newsnet Scotland than read the Scotsman. However I believe more importantly the internet really does call other journalists to account., it strengthens the hand of those sympathetic or neutral to our cause, and weakens those against us.
    On calmangate, we need to keep pressing for answers. Clearly but politely. we do not need  to justify our questioning, that’s them trying to diffuse the problem by turning the  questions on to us. The fact they are trying that shows its a weakness.

  68. McHaggis says:

    Last real update I had was an April release… bit of slippage obviously.
     
    I hope its a decent documentary cos I also helped pay for it :0)

  69. Taranaich says:

    You know, part of me wants to make completely innocuous and altogether statements about Susan Calman, just to see if it ever pops up anywhere as an example of a “death threat.”
     
    “I’ll see that Susan Calman gets eaten by a Vermicious Knid.”
     
    It’s ludicrous, because Vermicious Knids do not exist, so how could anyone take it seriously? Yet it’s probably the closest I’ve seen so far to constitute a threat on Calman’s life.  Or how about this:
     
    “I will make sure Susan Calman dies of natural causes comfortably in her bed at a ripe old age many decades from now.”
     
    Christ, I even feel nervous posting innocuous nonsense like this, because what if someone actually does deliberately misconstrue it?

  70. Bobby Mckail says:

    Yep have to say I’m with Rev on this one. The SNP gave weight to the Susan Calman “threats”  Which did lead to further coverage of it today. When the fact is there is absolutely no evidence to support what has been accused.

  71. Rod Mac says:

    there is selective censorship and distortion throughout the Scottish Media.
    These same newspapers that are screaming from the rooftops about Freedom Of speech ,mean only for them not for the masses.
    I like Ian Bells writing , I find both he and Iain MacWhirter about the only 2 journalists in Scotland worth reading.
    Today I posted a comment IMHO a reasonable comment ,most certainly no abuse ,no threats
    I merely asked Ian where was the proof of Ms Calman’s assertions?
    I asked why a respected journalist like himself was prepared to give credence to Ms Calman’s accusations  without a scintilla of proof.
    My comment was of course not posted ,even although my real name is attached to my posting .
    I am disappointed a respected journalist like Ian Bell has decided to airbrush it seems any comments that question the validity of Ms Calman’s outburst.
    Indeed like a lot of people on here I am sick of YES Campaign and SNP allowing these false accusations being made against all pro independence supporters .
    If they cannot stand up for us now and take head on these people trying to discredit us ,how can we be sure that post independence they will protect us against anything.
    I know that they are adopting a tactic of “don’t scare the horses” ,however when a pack of wolves are in the corral eating the horses ,it is time to bring out the shotgun!

  72. Gizzit says:

    Surely if these allegations had any substance, they would be the subject of a police investigation, and the perpetrator(s) would be charged and prosecuted?
    Let the watchword henceforward be “Evidence or retraction”

  73. PRJ says:

    Negative campaigns are more memorable than positive campaigns especially when they reinforce an existing belief.
     
    Once the participant begins using negative campaigning at a high level, it is very hard for other participants to stick only to positive comments. The emotional impact of a negative campign also increases over time. Frequent repetition of the negative claim can lead to many people taking the statement as fact, especially when the electorate is highly emotional.
     
    The recipient cannot afford to leave these kinds of claims unanswered. However, an negative claim cannot be answered with the same effectiveness by a positive claim. No matter how accurate it is, a logical rebuttal does not have the same impact as an emotional claim.
     
    There are a number of techniques used in a negative campaign. Among the most effective is running press releases attacking an opponent’s personality, record, or opinion. There is no positive content in an attack. Because attack campaigns have no positive content, they have the potential to be more influential than positive campaigns in shaping voters.
     
    Dirty tricks are also common in negative political campaigns. These generally involve secretly leaking damaging information to the media. This isolates the participant from backlash and also does not cost any money. The material must be substantive enough to attract media interest. Other dirty tricks include trying to feed an opponent’s team false information hoping they will use it and embarrass themselves.
     
    Often a campaign will use outside organisations, such as lobby groups,online forums, media groups and employed individuls tasked to launch attacks. These can be claimed to be coming from a neutral source and if the allegations turn out not to be true the attacking body will not be damaged if the links cannot be proven.
     
    Part of enforcing a negative campaign is to deploy what it describes as this helps enforcing belief or meaning behind any statements. The goal is to ensure that when negative statements are released grassroots supporters can take ownership of the campaign and share the “facts” in online media and forums ensuring the campaqign is relentless.
     
     

  74. annie says:

    Dont forget while we’re on here discussing Ms Callman we’re not discussing the positive case for independence and how to get the message out – could that be the real reason BT are pushing it. 

  75. Jeannie says:

    @annie
     
    Dont forget while we’re on here discussing Ms Callman we’re not discussing the positive case for independence and how to get the message out – could that be the real reason BT are pushing it.
     
    Exactly.  I was reading an article by Tom Gordon in today’s Sunday Herald and I felt really excited and energised for the first time in ages.  A group of economists and academics have written a discussion paper about the Common Weal, which has been circulated by the Jimmy Reid Foundation.  It contains some really interesting suggestions for how an independent Scotland could function.  There’s loads of stuff there we could be getting our teeth into.  The Susan Calman issue? – yesterday’s stushie.  This new stuff is much more exciting and just what we’ve been waiting for.
     

  76. Albert Herring says:

    Several people, including myself, have posted comments on the Ian Bell article pointing out the complete lack of evidence to back up Calman’s claims of online abuse. None have been published.

  77. Marcia says:

    Jeannie
    I think you are right, the Calman stooshie is a device to shut down debate. They don’t want positive messages in favour of Independence to get publicity.

  78. Jeannie says:

    @ Marcia
    @Annie
     
    I think what’s really good about about this discussion paper is that it’s not coming from politicians, therefore it can’t be dismissed by the media as SNP policy nor even to do with the Yes Campaign.  The suggestions are coming from civic Scotland, from the Universities, so it will be harder to close the discussion down – assuming, of course, the media choose to engage with it at all. 
     
    I think we’ll be able to tell how effective these suggestions might be at encouraging people to vote Yes – the tried and true method seems to be that if something effective is occurring, the media will invent a stushie to distract everybody and ensure nothing positive gets discussed.  We need to make sure they don’t get away with it and one way of doing that is for us to keep “on task” and keep promoting a vision of what Scotland could be like.  By all means, challenge their negativity, but do it the once and move on or make sure, if we’re going to keep on about it, that we ourselves give equal publicity to the positive, visionary stuff.

  79. scottish_skier says:

    The calman story will have zero impact on anything. Well, ok, it possibly will damage the pro-union campaign if it does something.

    Unless the actual threats were there for all to see plus they had come e.g. from someone of at least some significance in the YesScotland campaign plus that person was subsequently protected by the yes campaign then all the calman story will do is make people trust the BBC etc even less than they already do.

    It is all about the bigger picture.

    The electorate are sick of being treated like idiots. You only have to note what just happened in England to see this is not just confined to Scotland.

    I’m happy for the BBC/MSM to continue to undermine the trust people have in them. Has worked a treat to date.

  80. Mac says:

    A Tory Deputy Speaker fighting allegations of rape and Nationalists fighting allegations of abusing and sending death threats.
     
    What is the difference? One is claiming their right to being innocent until proven guilty, the other has been found guilty despite their innocent.

  81. The Flamster says:

    Apparently the BBC have been banned from Ibrox Stadium and Murray Park due to reporting which lacks logic, balance and fairness.  Could the bias of BBC be the one thing that Yes supporters and Rangers supporters have in common?
     

  82. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    I don’t think there is any point whatsoever in the SNP or the YES campaign opposing or arguing about this matter. That would only give it a wider distribution and a credibility that is harmful to us.
     
    Alex Salmond knows exactly when to stay silent in the face of vitriolic misinterpretation and distortion and we should take a leaf out of his book.
    In the meantime the fragrant Ms Calman should be exposed online
    Anybody who uses the net and a good any more are aware what is going on here and are aware that most of the abuse comes from the other side – and the net, Face book, Twitter etc etc allows us a huge tool to combat the distortion of the facts anyway.
    And I don’t think the average man in the street gives a toss anyway 

  83. Clydebuilt says:

    Alex Salmond knows exactly when to stay silent in the face of vitriolic misinterpretation and distortion and we should take a leaf out of his book.

    agreed
     
    however maybe we’ve missed a trick. If proof had been requested by the YES side then the public would start to question what they are being hearing, undermining the MSM

  84. Albert Herring says:

    “however maybe we’ve missed a trick. If proof had been requested by the YES side then the public would start to question what they are being hearing, undermining the MSM”
     
    Could still happen. “Our IT department has conducted rigorous searches and have been unable to find the alleged abuse. Perhaps Ms Calman could help us get to the bottom of it”

  85. David Smillie says:

    CameronB.  Hugh Andrew’s a LibDem as far as I know.

  86. Luigi says:

    I sense quite a few frustrated independenistas this evening. Don’t worry, all this Calman nonsense will soon burn out and have zero impact on the referendum. Strategies win long struggles, not tactics. The unionist tactics, aided by their MSM bombers, have been brilliant, but their strategy is hopelessly flawed. It is true that the YES campaign have recently ceded huge areas of useless territory to BT. However, it is territory not worth fighting for. BT are spending huge amounts of resource fighting pointless battles, and even BT’s huge resources are  not unlimited. In the long-term, they have been out-manouvered by devo-max and cannot hold the line. BT are walking into a trap of their own making, let’s not follow them into it. A slug-fest at this stage would only suit the NO campaign. Stay cool and trust the leaders. They know what they are doing.

  87. Stuart Black says:

    @Rev Stu: Regarding the Make Believers documentary, here’s the last update I got which seemed to indicate that, despite some editing problems, they expect to release it some time in April.
     
    Little Delay -
    The footage sent to me is in a format that refuses to convert into a format consistent with the rest of the project. I have asked them to download it again but in the correct format. Everything else is ready to go. I reckon 3 to 4 days editing with a few for refinement and the job is complete. So still on schedule for an April release which is good. Delayed but still within the parameters of an April release. Note: Between 09/04/2013 and 23/04/2013 I will be away on holiday and will not be replying during this time.

    Martin”
     
    As soon as it is available, the sponsors can download it – or receive a DVD, depending on how much you lobbed in – and I and no doubt others here will keep you informed and get a copy to you as soon as possible.
     
    Just hope it has been done well, there’s no shortage of material.

  88. Stuart Black says:

    So, it has slipped a bit, given we are into May now, but hopefully it should be available soon.

  89. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    This Calman stunt is exactly the same as the “Alex Salmond is a liar” stunt. An accusation is made. No evidence is supplied. (or it is proved to be untrue). The accusation is headlined . The established facts are ignored. Our enemies across the media drop the accusation innocently and without substance into all sorts of articles and we move on waiting for the next distortion.
    Personally I would make sure that cuddly, poor wee Susan was destroyed in the eyes of the audience she needs and we have the capacity to do so on line on the social media etc.
    This is not a game we are involved in



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