A pro-independence blogger at the centre of a row over antisemitism has labelled one of his accusers a “lickspittle smearing turd”.
The writer of the Grousebeater blog warned the Scottish Labour MSP he faces legal action for defamation.
Gareth Wardell accused Neil Findlay of making false accusations after the MSP openly accused the blogger of antisemitism and implied he was racist.
The row follows a post on the Grouse Beater blog that attacked trade union official Rhea Wolfson over her role in the Glasgow City Council equal pay dispute. Wardell accused the GMB official of hypocrisy. However a reference to Mein Kampf, a book written by Adolf Hitler, by the blogger sparked claims the article was antisemitic given Wolfson is Jewish.
Following the article’s publication, Labour MSP Neil Findlay called on SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to carry out an investigation after several SNP councillors retweeted the article. In his letter, Findlay described the article as “antisemitic”.
He wrote: “I am writing to you today calling for an urgent investigation into the promotion of an antisemitic blog being promoted [sic] by SNP councillors and local parties.”
The Labour MSP – who is Scottish Labour’s trade union liaison – also implied the blog was racist, adding: “Our parties clearly have different views in [sic] the role of the trade union movement in Scotland, but regardless of that we should stand united against hatred and racism.”
Responding, blog writer Gareth Wardell has now issued a warning to Findlay. The blogger tweeted: “My first port of call is a certain Neil Findlay, errand boy for the GMB’s gutter work, by bringing false accusation to the chamber of our Parliament at First Minister’s Question Time. I call him out for the lickspittle smearing turd that he is.”
The tweet was a reference to a question posed by Findlay during First Minister’s Questions.
The blogger also tweeted an uncompromising response to demands from SNP headquarters to party officials and members to withdraw their support for him.
“What shameful bastard in the SNP wrote to branches asking them to withdraw support of an author on the basis of a few words written on paper? Who did that? Who told people seeking a better society be fearful of intellectual expression, respect the dispicable acts of our enemies?”
The SNP has come in for heavy criticism from many in the party, and wider Yes movement, over its decision to suspend Wardell following the attacks from Neil Findlay and others. The party has been accused of reacting to pro-Union media coverage and assuming guilt instead of standing by a member until investigations have concluded.
Following his suspension, the blogger also revealed he is taking legal advice on whether to sue the Daily Record newspaper for defamation over an article it published which appeared to make false claims relating to his blog.
The row over the blog has prompted some in the Jewish community to lend their support to the blogger who has himself Jewish links. His article has been described as insensitive and poorly worded but not antisemitic.
There is, as yet, no indication from the SNP as to when they may reach a decision on Mr Wardell’s position as a member of the party.
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