Wednesday, August 12, 2015

It's not just the SNP ...

The level of abuse and vituperation which people with an interest in politics have been directing at those who dare to take a different view has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

I blogged yesterday one of many examples of nasty comments made by SNP supporters of those with different opinions, in this case Ruth Davidson.

As I said yesterday, the SNP have a particularly bad "nasty" faction whether they manifest as "Cybernats" online or as street mobs like the ones which attacked Eddie Izzard & Jim Murphy during the election or David Mundell last month. However, this does not apply to everyone in the SNP - some of them are perfectly reasonable and polite people - and unfortunately it does apply to some people in all the other parties.

For example I have been struck by the lack of civility displayed by many Labour supporters and activists, particularly online, in the present Labour leadership contest. The number of comments posted online accusing anyone who doesn't support the favoured leadership candidate of the person posting of being a Tory, not belonging in the Labour party, etc has been pretty astonishing. Just look at some of the reactions on the comments pages to Tony Blair's speech today.

Depending on whether your definition of a win is an overall majority or your party leader becoming PM, there have been either three or four party leaders in Labour's entire history who have won a general election. Blair is the only one still alive.

Even after his responsibility for the Iraq debacle and all the other things Blair got wrong - and I understand why many people would be cross about some of those things, because I certainly am - the level of venom thrown at him by members and supporters of his own party when he expresses an opinion seems to me to be over the top. And the fact that it appears to damage the chances of Labour doing something sensible when Blair endorses it suggests that such anger has gone beyond a rational  rejection of the things he got wrong into visceral loathing of the kind which is not a pretty sight.

If we want to live in a civilised democracy we have to deal with the fact that people have different opinions without hurling abuse and insults at them all the time. Or at least, not to the extent that it makes political debate unpleasant - the odd barbed comment can be amusing and make a point, but if people know they are going to be insulted if they express an opinion, only those like me with a hide like Chobham armour will engage in political discussion. That would not be a good thing.

1 comment:

Jim said...

To me I tend to put forth a veiw that the government should be cutting more, spending less and taxing less.

where possible i do tend to add in things that back up what i am saying.

I never really seek to call the other side "idiots" or anything of the sort, but I would not mind a few debates with some of them to understand how they think the world would work other wise.

it really would be welcomed by me, not shunned.