More astute readers will immediately recognise that there is not so much as a scintilla of evidence that any of the ‘people’ referred to in over 500 words of vacuous drivel exist anywhere other than in David Leask’s imagination. Nobody is identified. The only direct ‘quote’ is unattributed. There is absolutely nothing to distinguish the piece from a work of sorely impoverished fiction.
Even by the abysmal standards of the British mainstream media, this is a pathetically poor attempt at a smear. A rather desperate-looking effort to milk a little more mileage out of the clumsily contrived “Cybernat” caricature.
Are there angry people on social media? Of course there are! Are there angry people among supporters of the campaign to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status? Of course there are! But if the role of the journalist were to be summarised in a single phrase that phrase might be, “One who questions, analyses and attempts to illuminate”.
Does Leask ask why these people are angry? No! In fact, he studiously avoids addressing the causes of the outrage he so mindlessly condemns.
Does Leask analyse the nature of the supposed offensive material? No! Like all before him who have attempted the same smear against the Yes campaign, he doesn’t even provide any valid examples of the thing that has apparently provoked him to such paroxysms of righteous indignation. With all the towering arrogance of his obnoxious breed, Leask demands that we not only accept his word that the material exists, but that we take totally on trust his verdict on this phantom material.
Does Leask seek to illuminate the issue he purports to be writing about? No! Were he to turn even the most feeble light of professional scrutiny on the shadowy apparitions he has conjured from the pit of his imagination, they would surely vanish. And the light might instead fall upon the very thing that he is anxious to divert attention from – the dementedly despicable, virulent, vehement and frequently explicitly threatening abuse hurled by his fellow British nationalist fanatics.
Do “Cybernats” exist? Of course they do! But it is a phenomenon of the web. A function of the easy and open channels of communication that are available to all of us courtesy of the internet. As such, it would be contrary to nature if the phenomenon were to be confined to a particular group identified by their political affiliation. The implicit claim that ‘robust’ comments are the exclusive province of independence supporters is sufficiently lacking in credibility as to be laughable.
It is very evident from his petulant, vacuous rant that what David Leask finds most offensive is the democratic nature of a facility which allows any and all of us to take on that questioning, analysing and illuminating role previously reserved to the privileged clique of which he is a part. Offence which is severely aggravated by the fact that he and his ilk now find themselves subject to a scrutiny to which they are unaccustomed. No longer can journalists speak with impunity. And they definitely don’t like being held to account.
The effort to discredit and delegitimise all ‘inconvenient’ online commentary is as much motivated by professional defensiveness as by an ill-concealed political agenda. Bloggers and commenters are impinging on territory which the journalist tribe regard as their own. Judging by the acrid odour coming off their indignant diatribes, there’s some frantic scent-marking going on in an effort to deter the intruders.
Do people sometimes express themselves online in ways that I consider inappropriate or distasteful? Of course they do! By far the majority are British nationalist zealots fervidly defending the ruling elites of the British state. But there are at least a few on the side of the argument which defends the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and objects to the government they elected being overruled by a government they rejected.
Do I object? Do I make the kind of infantile fuss that David Leask makes? No! I do not! Objectionable as much of the British nationalist rhetoric may be; and much as I may be disappointed by Yes campaigners who fail to maintain the dignity of a positive, aspirational movement, I prefer that their voices be heard. Unlike David Leask and those for whom he speaks, I have no desire to stifle and suppress the voices of those who may lack the erudition and the skills and the temperament to express themselves in anything other than the robust terms to which they resort.
My democracy is inclusive. I welcome engagement and participation. And I adhere to this principle even in the face of abusive onslaughts from ‘vile Britnats’. And in the face of marginally more eloquent but still unthinkingly anti-democratic attacks by the likes of David Leask.Views: 3350
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