STUART CAMPBELL of Wings Over Scotland may be many things to many people, but one thing he is not is a victim of abuse. So just why is avuncular “well kept” Herald columnist Iain Macwhirter currently attempting to portray him as such? AhDinnaeKen has read Iain Macwhirter’s columns, on and off, for over 15 years now. He’s surprised us*, educated us*, informed us* entertained us* and helped shape our* political opinions but he’s never before deeply disappointed us*. That is, until now. AhDinnaeKen explains:
By Longshanker aka @ergasiophobe
THE IMPARTIAL Scottish journalist Iain Macwhirter wrote an article for a Scottish newspaper this week where he took Daily Mail columnist, Chris Deerin, to task for claiming that Scotland as a nation had lost its heid over the politics game.
He claimed Deerin’s piece ‘Scotland has gone mad’ demonstrated “a strand of cultural self-loathing in Scottish writing that goes back to the days of Boswell” and damningly concluded that Deerin’s polemic was an archetypal example of “the Scottish cringe elevated to a fine art”.
Macwhirter may even have had a point. As he further explored the cringe issue, he also raised the spectre, without quite nailing it, that it will be Unionists making these type of claims who will ultimately be part responsible for the future break-up of the United Kingdom.
But it isn’t the purpose of this AhDinnaeKen piece to critique Macwhirter’s column. Rather, it is to take him to task for his related post-column Tweeting which had the barefaced and ludicrous audacity to present Stuart Campbell of Wings Over Scotland as a victim of abusive on-line trolling – peppered throughout with some spectacularly lame attempts at humour. (see tweets throughout this blog)
In this instance, Macwhirter’s crass idiocy and bloody minded offensiveness at making such a claim invokes the oldest of ironies: that man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace.
And, it’s also worth mentioning the cringing embarrassment one feels for Macwhirter in his doing so – his twitter feed defending Campbell is like being forced to watch your dad doing ‘dad dancing’ on the dance floor after one whisky too many while wearing a John Travolta suit and chatting up all the available fourteen year olds. Now that’s what I call cringey vol. 45.
No doubt, Macwhirter had the following lines of Deerin’s in mind when he decided to commit journalistic credibility suicide:
“If anyone on social media – especially, God forbid, a non-Scot – dares to challenge these ludicrous myths they are descended on by the ‘cybernats’, a swarm of angry oddballs who refuse to read the ‘mainstream media’ and who take their lead from the oddball-in-chief, Stuart Campbell, a self-styled Reverend who lives in Bath and runs a ranting website called Wings Over Scotland.”
Anyone who has challenged the “ludicrous myths” referred to by Deerin, hear more than the resonance of truth in those words – they experience the unpleasant consequences first hand.
Ironically and, inevitably, the victims of the oddball-in-chief’s anger turn out almost exclusively to be young and attractive women. But that hard core misogyny forms the basis of a post for another day.
Coincidentally, on the same day as Deerin’s polemic, Gerry Hassan, the quintessential warbling prevaricator who never quite commits to anything so that his options always remain open, wrote a piece for the New Statesman entitled ‘Scotland and the clash of two nationalisms’.
Hassan, like Deerin, also referred to Wings Over Scotland. Unsurprisingly, it wasn’t too complimentary of Scotland’s “tribune journalist” either.
Hassan said: “At another event a respected journalist commented that they didn’t find the high profile pro-independence website “Wings over Scotland” problematic or, in any way as some detractors did, “sexist”. They asserted that “people just said that sort of thing”, ignoring the combative way that “men from the games industry talk”.
Notably, Hassan doesn’t name the journalist but curiously, in the following paragraph, he said: “These comments illustrate a certain attitude in soft pro-independence opinion that can be seen amongst some of Scotland’s well-kept political commentators such as Iain Macwhirter, Joyce McMillan, Kevin McKenna and Ruth Wishart. It is a partial view of the world – centred on their generational disappointment with Labour and a new-found embrace of independence.
It looks like a short list of suspects for the ‘respected journalist’ reference. And curiously, Macwhirter, given his recent Twitter timeline, appears to be the prime suspect.
So just what motivated Macwhirter, the “well-kept political commentator” to embark on such a credibility endangering journey, bestowing martyrdom status on such a fallacious and deeply unpleasant extremist as Stuart Campbell?
Did the “well kept” label bestowed by Hassan sting the ‘respected’ political commentator into a course of radical and edgy action?
Who knows and who really cares? Maybe it’s a mid-life journalistic crisis. Or something.
Hopefully Iain comes back to his senses before his reputation suffers permanently. Defending the indefensible never looks good. And it’s worth invoking Aesop’s fable of the Scorpion and the Frog.
AhDinnaeKen’s advice to Macwhirter – professional frogs should stick with professional frogs. Partisan scorpions are never worth carrying on your back. There are inevitable and sadly predictable consequences to such actions.
Take a look at some of the Tweets peppering this piece for illustrative purposes and decide for yourself if Macwhirter’s defense of Campbell is justified.