My turn to be offended

Am I alone in being struck by the self-righteous arrogance of Angela Haggerty and others who not only insist that different people have different rights but claim for themselves the role of ultimate arbiter of what rights people should have, or be permitted to exercise? By Haggerty’s account, Kezia Dugdale – a British nationalist politician of no discernible merit who just happens to be gay – should be permitted to act with total impunity in pursuit of her political agenda, while Stuart Campbell – a highly effective pro-independence political journalist – should be denied access to the courts in order to defend himself against a politically motivated smear. Or forego his right to avail himself of such legal recourse under threat of ostracism by the Yes movement – which, of course, Haggerty presumes to speak for.

How is this differentiation of rights justified? Superficially, at least, Dugdale is privileged simply because she is homosexual. Being homosexual affords her superior rights relative to Stuart Campbell. Being merely male, white and straight, Campbell’s status is automatically and unthinkingly assumed to be inferior by those anxious to flaunt their righteous radical credentials.

It’s a given that Dugdale gets to decide what is homophobic and denounce someone against whom she holds a bitter political grudge. It’s unthinkable that Campbell should get to decide what is defamatory and seek to defend himself against a petty, malicious slur. And this from those whose wont it is to ascend the lofty pulpit of their own ego the better to assail the rude throng beneath with pompous sermons on ‘equality’.

Perhaps sensing the weakness of a case founded solely on the assumption that a gay woman’s views must be more legitimate than a straight man’s, Haggerty tacks on a couple of other arguments. Firstly, that suing politicians for defamation might deter politicians from saying things that might get them sued for defamation.

And, yes! It is just as daft as it sounds. So maybe we shouldn’t spend too much time on this particular bit of ill-thought nonsense. Other than to say that maybe it isn’t such a bad thing that politicians should be a little bit afraid. Perhaps it’s a good thing that they should be aware they might be challenged. Unlike Ms Haggerty, I have no problem at all with politicians being held to account for the things they say.

Then, of course, we get the now ubiquitous pant-splatter about how whatever someone is doing or saying that doesn’t meet with the approval of the Yes movement’s self-appointed priesthood is ‘damaging the independence campaign’. This may be the most troubling and pernicious notion of all. Now it’s my turn to be offended.

I find it offensive that the cause which I have pursued for over half a century is being usurped by an assortment of statistic-wielding technocrats, posturing pseudo-intellectuals and prating, hectoring self-righteous ‘radicals’ who seek to define the independence movement as an exclusive club entirely owned by whatever elitist clique they identify with.

I find it offensive that these people seem so utterly persuaded of the righteousness of their particular political agenda that they assume the authority to dictate the terms of the debate and police the language of our political discourse.

I find it offensive that, while claiming to be the legitimate voice of the independence movement, these people seem more concerned with controlling discussion, creating and excluding out-groups and condemning ‘heretical’ dissent from their dogma than with speaking out against those who would deny our fundamental democratic rights.

I also find Angela Haggerty’s vacuous condescension quite offensive, but that’s a trivial matter.

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59 thoughts on “My turn to be offended

  1. Peter Stark

    I am awfy glad that someone (other than Stuart Campbell) has picked up on this. I began following Ms Haggerty’s twitter feed some time ago because I found her views to be interesting. However a few weeks ago I noticed a distinct shift from interesting comment, to bat shit mental, served with a good dollop of self righteousness. Verily, enough to induce vomit, and I kid ye not. But, Ms Haggerty does not stand alone. There does seem to be a band of self appointed elites who disparage the views of lesser people, that quite frankly would put me off life, let alone Independence, ,,,,,and that may point to reasoning?

  2. Robin Ross

    6 months down the road – “I was driven out of the Yes movement”, say Ms Haggerty as she picks up her shiny, new SLAB member’s card.

  3. Stewart Reed

    I like you feel offended by these people. I feel offended that I am being told what is and is not offensive. I feel offended by these people who have lied all their lives and when challenged they tell me it is offensive to do so. I feel offended when an elected, and the word elected is used in the loosest possible terms, person can use my parliament to further a personal cause and try to score cheap political points at the expense of an independent journalist. I feel offended that after all the LGBTIQ community has fought so hard to achieve can be so easily demolished by so called untouchables who want to jump on the political bandwagon to further an already flailing career. I feel offended that a so called political group, the Scottish branch office of the English wayward labour party have stated that they will back kezia even though it is a civil and not political matter, using members subscription money to pay the costs. This has prompted me to now offend some people out there by donating to Wings to show that being offended goes both ways but we sensible people who are not too readily offended refuse to be told by people who are easily offended what definition of being offended I should believe in.

    1. Pauline

      I’m offended that you have been offended ! Is it too much to ask that Kez puts her brain into gear before opening her mouth?

  4. MsDidi

    No you are not alone. You have expressed my feelings on this exactly. I had similar thoughts to Stu Campbell about Oliver Mundell’s narrating abilities that day and although I have never felt the need to join twitter, when I read about his tweet later I did find it made me smile! Does that make me homophobic? I certainly am not. I was “flabbergasted” when Kezia Dugdale had her “mental breakdown tirade” at FMQ’s ….that she felt the need to get this personal matter onto national television by using this medium says it all. This is yet another attack on the independence movement (Kez of course tried to make it another SNPbad story) by the unionists . Time to make a stand …..all YES together.

  5. cearc

    Well said, Sir.

    That about sums up my opinion as well.

    They are simply trying to build a career out of the indy movement.

    1. Betty Boop

      “See me, see me, see me!” Yup. Some commentators are greedy for the power/licence to move their own agenda. What might be good for the rest of us doesn’t matter.

  6. Dr Jim

    In a few short words you’ve put your finger on exactly the right point and with the honest level of intelligence required for it
    This nonsense should never have gotten this far and Dugdale and her allies are to be deplored for continuing it

  7. JJ

    You’ve just nailed my feelings on this that I’ve been unable to put into words. Totally agree with what you’ve said. I’m also offended by those telling me that if I’m any kind of progressive, I should now be voting Labour as though the years of Scottish decline and poverty at their hands never happened. Haggerty and her ilk do not speak for me or any of the other Yessers I know.

  8. John Allison

    can’t find a fault in your article, its one of the best pieces I’ve read on this, it’s succinct, wholly accurate and hope finds a wide audience, perhaps the Sunday Hersld will publish it next week in response to Angela Haggerty’s

  9. Ronnie

    Seems everyone has their own agenda and WOS is getting a using to further their agenda.
    First KD fake outrage to score points against WOS safe in the knowledge she could have a free hit … oops
    Now AH is using the traffic to push her Common Space fundraiser and infratiate herself a little more into MSM

  10. alasdair galloway

    Peter a lot of this I agree with you here, but while reading through it the aphorism “physician heal thyself” kept coming to mind, for when you speak of the High Priests of the Yes movement I sometimes feel that you (and some others – you are not alone) adopt a similar kind of attitude. For instance, I hope you would not deny that you have argued in the past that anything that is critical of the SNP is not to be tolerated.
    So, while I agree with you that the Yes movement can be overly censorious, I would suggest that you bear that in mind in your own writing in future. For the avoidance of doubt I am sure that will be as valuable a contribution to securing our independence in the future, as it has been in the past. I am suggesting no more than a more tolerant attitude toward dissent, and perhaps a more provisional perspective on your own ideas (ie be open to the even remote possibility that you might not be completely right)_

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      Show me where I argued that “anything that is critical of the SNP is not to be tolerated”. And when you can’t, don’t bother apologising for the lie. A liar’s apology is of no value to me.

      1. alasdair galloway

        Wee Ginger Dug published this http://www.thenational.scot/politics/15384174.Wee_Ginger_Dug__What_counts_for_indy_is_the_bigger_picture____not_simply_a_referendum/?action=success#comments-feedback-anchor in the National and earned this from you – http://indyref2.scot/eyes-on-prize.
        It starts off with – well ok your second sentence – “There’s the abject failure to understand the crucial role of the SNP as the political arm of the independence movement. I weary of addressing that issue.”
        I dare say if I could be bothered going through your prolific writings I could find other examples. But lets stick with this particular instance which includes this
        “It’s a hard truth that few want to hear, but it’s a fact nonetheless, that pointless, needless, self-indulgent attacks on the SNP by self-regarding intellectuals and self-righteous radicals cost the Yes campaign vital points.”
        The problem Peter, is that you have no interest at all in debate – you reveal the truth to we lesser mortals. I find your writing often interesting, if a wee bit blinkered, but I dont always agree with it. But in my view that is good – progress is only made by disagreement, by some pointy head saying “we could do this differently and perhaps better”, and then we argue the thing through. You seem to consider this as wearisome, self-regarding, self indulgent or self righteous. Or in a really bad case, all of them.
        Lets face it the Yes campaign has not really started. Last time out it came second in a two horse race, SURELY it is worth debating how to come first next time? After all I know I dont have all the answers. What is worrying is that you seem to think the SNP Executive does. I have a great deal of admiration for what they have done (though some irritation at what they have not done). But I have more regard for debate and the advantages that it brings. I think you think about it.
        Therefore, I wont be apologising for the lie. Dont worry, I wont be holding my breath waiting for your apology to me (I suspect its not something that you do).

        1. alasdair galloway

          Oh and fwiw, I tend to agree with Stuart Campbell – I wrote this on the Herald website on a thread considering an article by Angela Haggerty
          “This does not seem to be the situation between Stuart Campbell and Kezia Dugdale. My own personal view on this is that what Campbell said could be deconstructed to suggest that if David Mundell had come out sooner, before getting married to his wife, there would have been no Oliver Mundell to engage in public speaking which Campbell clearly thinks little of. This seems to me a rather unpleasant way of making the point that he doesnt rate Oliver, but I dont see how it can be described as homophobic (“having or showing a dislike of or prejudice against homosexual people.”). ” – in other words, while its not “in the best possible taste” (as my great hero Kenny Everette would have put it), I tend to agree that Campbell’s statement was not homophobic – though that is not to say that whoever Dugdale has representing her wont be able to find examples of what might be construed as homophobia in Stuart’s voluminous and sometimes incendiary output, particularly on Twtitter. I think in some regards this is the point that Haggerty is trying to make.
          Oh aye, and one last thing – while we are all getting het up about Campbell taking on Dugdale, there is another case ongoing that we should be getting behind – Andy Wightman being sued for defamation of a company no one has heard of. On the same thread I wrote this
          “If there is one thing that this article highlights and we would all hopefully take from it, it is the contrast between Campbell’s case against Dugdale and the case being brought against Andy Wightman by Wildcat Haven Enterprises. Campbell is seeking 25k in damages, while Wildcat Haven Enterprises are seeking 30 times that – 750k – in damages against Wightman. Not only the sum is surprising, but that they are alleging defamation. Hands up if you have ever heard of Wildcat Haven Enterprises? Not only that, they are using one of Scotland’s largest law firms – Burness Paull LLP (BP) – to bring the action. Nor is Andy Wightman the only one to have raised questions about Wildcat Haven’s MO – there has been at least one article in Angela Haggerty’s own publiciation, Commonspace. The whole thing smacks of large, probably well resourced organization using the law to shut up a smaller opponent who is making life hard for them. ” I think my last sentence points to another problem that the Yes movement – if we are really interested in fairness – should be concerned with, and Angela Haggerty is to be commended for at least reminding us of it.

          1. East Neuker

            So, Mr Galloway, your great hero is a man who was a crazy right wing Tory Unionist?

          1. alasdair galloway

            If you mean Andy Wightman, I would like to know very much what a “crazy right wing Tory” is doing in the Green Party and agitating for serious land-reform?
            Peter, you know I did, but you will never ever admit it. even worse, your comment allows for no debate on the matter, which really was my point.

          2. alasdair galloway

            Just as clicked on reply, I got a notification of your most recent FB publication re Euan McColm, with whom I share your distaste – you are right, a Brit Nat fanatic (and one who brooks no argument). Peter, my point is this – you show some of the same tendencies (different political direction obviously!). Are we not better than that? Can we not reflect on our shortcomings and agree/ decide on how these should be addressed? Do we have to be like them as they pretend that everything in the UK is hunky dory?

          3. alasdair galloway

            No Peter I just see things in a different way from you. Moreover I dont consider myself jury as well as judge. You make my point for me. Really I think you ought to consider whether your intolerance is an asset for the independence movement?

          4. alasdair galloway

            ok you have used that word several times now. Perhaps you would like to redeem it? We can disagree – that is fine – but reverting to “lying” suggests a determination to put your own interpretation on what you write.
            Oh and you are at it again this morning with “how absolutely vital the SNP is to the process of securing first a new referendum and then independence”. I would agree with you with regard to the former – they are after all the largest party in Holyrood – but less so the latter. Their significance cannot be gainsayed, but they are not the whole independence movement. The SNP have never yet – not even in their annus mirabilis of 2015 – ever secured a majority of votes (very near, but still no cigar). Thus to secure independence the fact is that support must be induced from voters for other parties and members of no party at all. The independence movement is wider than the SNP Peter. Simple really. And not a lie. In fact to respond as you do to anyone (and I am not thinking of me, but Carolyn Leckie, WGD etc) who does not follow the line could be counterproductive.

          5. Peter A Bell Post author

            You lied. That makes you a liar. And, rather than owning up to the lie, you have attempted to cover it with trolling evasion. Which makes you pathetic.

          6. alasdair galloway

            No Peter, there is only one person in this rather pathetic exchange who has tried to engage with the issues. The other party has simply offered insults, refusing to engage with the arguments put to him. That is pathetic and that is you!

  11. brobb

    totally agree Peter and i must add that it’s heartening to see you, Paul K, James Kelly and others standing up to support one of our own. Stuart may well be a thrawn character but the negativity shown by Angela Haggerty, BC and Commonspace towards him has soured what should be a tolerant and diverse movement working towards a common goal.

    Perhaps they really are best suited to the back stabbing hotchpotch that is the labour movement since they seem incapable of any discipline or understanding of political tactics. Just wish they’d get on with building up their own following rather than sniping at other more popular figures. They don’t have to agree with or even read Stuart’s articles but seem incapable of attracting much attention except when they court this type of controversy..

    I no longer read their stuff. I look for informative, well researched articles, plain speaking opinions, a focus on stuff that affects me (GAPs BBC updates). I like John Robertson’s upbeat links to the good news we never hear. Derek B and Paul K’s stuff is always worth reading, as is your own. Lesley Rddoch is a good speaker. A touch of humour doesn’t go amiss and I’m not afraid of or offended by swear words or dodgy jokes. That’s not to say there isn’t room for other styles or thoughts, they’re just not my cup of tea.

    And anyway, if anyone needs a reminder to think before they speak, surely it is Kezia Dugdale. Not because she is gay, or a woman, or a politician, or a labour leader – purely because she is all over the place politically and mostly spouts rubbish at top speed.

  12. alanski

    Well said Peter. Angela Haggerty has a habit of creating stooshie’s that only reflect her own emptiness. She really has nothing interesting or constructive to say, and her motivation seems more about worming her way into the mainstream than supporting independence. Along with Kezia Dugdale, and that other pointless ‘journalist’ David Torrance, she seems desperate for attention.

  13. Duncan Macniven

    Excellent article I have posted it on my FB page much to the irritation of the pious radicals of whom you speak.
    Dugdale will be coming under the influence of the poisonous Roden now. We can expect her descent in to the cess pool to accelerate.
    Superbly written.

  14. Linny

    I blocked Angela Haggerty a few months ago for her fence sitting…choosing the side that seems to be doing what she personally agrees with. Like a few who are in it for self elevation.

  15. douglas clark

    Great piece, Peter.

    I have read Angela Haggerty’s dissertation in the papers.

    I have no idea why she thought it was worth writing.

    We, supporters of independence, do not need artificial and stupid divisions.

    End of.

  16. douglas clark

    I responded to Angela Haggerty on ‘The Herald’ web site as follows:

    “Angela,

    I appreciate that you are in some sort of moral ‘huff’. I appreciate that we disagree fundamentally on whether what Campbell said was ‘homophobic’ or not.

    What I do not understand is how someone claiming to be in favour of Independence thought that this was the article that you really, really needed to write.

    Perhaps you should have taken the advice offered to you in the second comment here:

    “Not my circus, not my monkeys”.

    But you did not.

    Did the thought ever occur to you that the person that ne eds to ‘de-escalate’ this situation is Kezia Dugdale?

    If that thought did not cross your mind, perhaps you ought to reconsider where power lies and who is using the media for their own purposes? Or, perhaps you already know that.

    You say:

    “If this proceeds, it will be a dirty, divisive distraction from the issues the Yes movement should be focusing on.”

    Only if people give it the status of the Dreyfus Affair, which only you seem keen to do.”

    Not entirely sure that it will pass moderation. It is rarely acceptable to name the atl author in quite such a personal manner.

    However, we need to know whether Angela Haggerty is pro independence, warts and all, or not.

    Be astonished if I get a reply from the author.

    1. JImD

      Spot on Douglas, as was Peter’s article.

      Haggerty is an attention-seeking airhead. What worries me is that there is fantastic important stuff being produced on CommonSpace by people like Robin McAlpine and Craig Dalzell and this kid is alienating people from CommonSpace.

      She should be handed her jotters.

  17. Willie

    Stuart Campbell made a fair comment.

    Campbell’s quip was no different from saying would in not have been better if David Mundel had used condoms.

    The response however from Dugdale has been absolutely insane and she is in danger of playing the sexual orientation card to our community’s disadvantage.

    People who are gay lesbian straight or whatever do not need this from a third rate politician.

    Dugdale has a job to do and if it were not so farcical, she could theoretically be standing for election as first minister.

    Instead she spits the dildo out at what is nothing more than a little political rough about.

    Innefective woman, with a spiteful attitude, she is in danger of rolling back the equality progress made in recent years.

    But maybe, could it be that Dugdale is resentful of the fact that she will not be likely to spawn a future alleged political brat, and sees this as some kind of bias.

    Don’t know, but her theatrics and vile name calling does none of us any good.

  18. Scott Egner

    So say the person in question had emraced celibacy instead, would the comment been seen as anti-celibate?

    1. Willie

      Well yes Scott, that is about the top and bottom of it. The woman is spiteful and quite clearly has shown her predilection to.call the homophobic, paedophile, racist card.at the first hint of a bit of political knock about.

      These subjects are taboo subjects for a very good reason. They underpin horrible behaviour and Dugdale is vile in the use of the first one as a means of political attack. It’s akin to calling rape for nothing other than malice.

      Stuart Campbell is right. Let the Courts sort it out.

  19. Sean Docherty

    Mr Bell you really are the most obnoxious dick – it’s not surprising I can’t find anything you’ve published in outside cybernat circles. You’re a bully in print but in video you can barely string two words together. You are the ugly face of nationalism. It’s because of people like you that the SNP have peaked.

    1. douglas clark

      Dear Mr Docherty,

      Having only just found this web site, I like it!

      I doubt the SNP has peaked.

  20. Andy Coyle

    Yes yes yes and yes again, this is a fantastically thought out band well written piece. I have noticed recently a few ‘supporters’ of Yes all of a sudden becoming a tad, on edge, shall we say, trying to hedge their bets, as it were, to which way it’s going, for personal gain. We get Indy, then vote for who you want, isn’t that obvious, it’s the long game, and it has to be played as such, but for those being paid for their opinion it seems the panic is setting in.

  21. Alastair

    No you bloddy well are not alone Peter! I was PARTICULARLY disappointed by this piece, as Stuart Campbell has covered HER back in the past on matters of free speech. A dignified silence on her part would have been far more gracious!

  22. Kangaroo

    Peter, you’ve hit nail square on.

    Seems like this is all being made out to be a lot more than it was. Stu was not homophobic but was cheekily offensive. That dugdale took it a step too far was her decision, not his. She later repeated the offence and therefore landed with a court case. Now she has to suck it up and she is using as many attack monkeys as possible including her friends in the indy movement.
    The “Yessers” should simply leave her to “Stu in her own juice”.

  23. Ghillie

    You are not alone Peter.

    Simply put, Kezia Dugdale and AH too, seem to lack the ability to read and understand their chosen language with clarity.

    Or were just too hasty to stick the knife in and have landed themselves each in their own mess, both of their own making.

    I actualy read Rev Stu’s twitter comment as pro-homosexuality!

    That aside, I too, now question the motives of AH and can already see that she has affected the following Common Space had up until now.

    The Butterfly Revolution have also voiced their dismay, directly to Common Space, at the stance AH is taking.

    What on Earth was Haggerty hoping to achieve?

  24. Vestas

    I’m pleased to see that more and more websites/blogs are dropping the links to Commonspace.

    “Radical” left-wing west of Scotland (ie Glasgow) views are not going to deliver indy. They are going to alienate far more people than they attract.

    Hopefully commonspace & haggerty fade into total irrelevance, they’re 90% there already.

    What the hell the SH & National think they’re doing promoting the views of nonentities like Boyd/Haggerty is another matter & one which bears watching.

    1. grizebard

      I fear that you are right, as is Peter’s “hits the nail” article.

      The independence movement is a broad church, and rightly so. If anyone can reach out and inspire any disadvantaged non-voters, that’s more than just fine by me. Come the day, every vote will count.

      But what also concerns me are those who give every impression of using the independence movement to further entirely different aims, and with the rise of Corbyn are showing increasing signs of “jumping ship”. Their all-too-typical virtue-signalling self-entitlement is better off back in the Labour Party, where it can resume the destruction it has so successfully wrought in the past.

      As the Bible says, “by their fruits shall ye know them”. It is significant that Paul Kavanagh, for example, has stood by Stu Campbell in this business. I just wish I could have said the same about some others.

      Frankly, I would much rather read Peter Bell in The National any day than Cat Boyd.

  25. Hamish Henderson

    Well said Peter. I too am getting close to the stage of tearing out of my hair .
    I have supported the movement for independence for over 5 decades having first joined the Scottish Congress in around 1957 ( I still have my lapel badge) then moving to the SNP with the amalgemation of both parties. To be so close to the end game and seeing so many self righteous self indulgent wannabes squabbling over how they see the world and attempting to create it in their own image drives me close to despair.
    The SNP is not by any means perfect, I am perfectly aware of this but at the moment it is all we have and it is doing a terrific job in the face of incredible odds and we do not need a fifth column to damage what we have gained.
    To those who feel that they and only they have the truth of it, wait until we get our independence then make the move to whatever nirvana you aspire but until then stop attacking the movement you profess to support with an aim to destroying it. In other words, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

  26. Maureen McElroy

    thank you for standing up for fairness for all. it is a concept that is getting lost…..

  27. Socrates MacSporran

    I first became aware of Angela Haggerty, when she was the victim of attacks from some alleged Rangers fans.

    Any sympathy I had for her then quickly evaporated when I tried to read ‘Downfall’ – Phil Mac Giolla Bhain’s book on the collapse of Rangers, which Miss Haggerty edited.

    Her amateurish efforts totally ruined what should have beena good book, on the best story to emerge from Scottish football in generations.

    How anyone that incompetent and poor at her job can reach the heights in the Scottish media she has is beyond me.

    But, there again, I don’t “get” Kevin McKenna either.

    1. Rev. Stu

      That book really was a mess, and you’re right, it was a shame, because the story needs to be told and told well. I’m not sure the fault can solely be attributed to Angela Haggerty, but it was literally unreadable because of the hotchpotch of chronology and the author’s annoying habit of constant boastful references to his own earlier blogs, which due to the random time-jumping of the book the reader might not actually have read yet. It was like trying to watch a Christopher Nolan film while drunk. I gave up after about two chapters.

  28. Robert Graham

    Divide & Rule – works every time ,its been evident for some time ,some contributors on most independence supporting sites are seeking to disrupt , break up threads and generally be a nuisance , some are Quite subtle ,others just present a SNP rubbish tirade just to start arguments ,
    Common space as Bella before its fall from grace are being used by people who would see the Indy movement at war with itself ,as a job well done .

    The promotion of RISE before the Holyrood election was ” A JOB WELL DONE ” only problem being that wee trick wont work twice ,so other method’s have to be used , i think we are starting to see them surface .

  29. Pingback: Homophobia? Coming Full Circle with Hamish Henderson -

  30. Alan Laird

    I wonder if Haggerty and Boyd etc will try to ‘rejoin’ the Indy community when Corbyn’s 20 minutes of fame is up and they need to renew their career paths. Will we be magnanimous and let them? Ehh….fool me once etc.

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