21 February 2012

On Labour's "cybernat" problem...

Living in England as I do, and consorting with opinionated souls with decent conceits of themselves, being an “out” Scottish nationalist isn’t always terrifically easy. On hearing of my political convictions via a crony during dinner, one left-leaning Oxford don who shall remain nameless cried “Oh God no! Really?” before scoffingly explaining to me that Scottish independence was “a ludicrous little notion” I would do well to abandon. Decades of political argument and development summed up in that witty and encompassing saw, he toddled off to enjoy his second dessert, quite satisfied with his summary. Although drink had been taken, this fellow is not a general boor, and is I’m sure generally committed to promoting a questioning, thoughtful analysis of the world we live in.

Fascinating, then, that he felt able to make such a glib Nationalist exception. I note this in no spirit of rancour or slight. I’m far more interested about what it might tell us about the reflexive (unthinking but not untheoretical) images and (mis)understandings of Scottish nationalism and nationalists in parts of these islands. It’d be a mistake – an under-interpretation – to understand his dismissive posture as subjective condescension on the don’s part.

Socially, historically, it’s always interesting to see whose views can be offhandedly dismissed, whose political convictions can safely and concisely be written-off as crankish, loopy, atavistic or unserious. (In Scotland, by the by, I suspect the folk most familiar with this sort of flippancy will be your average Tory). For a version of it, all one need do is fire up Democracy Live during a contentious Scottish Questions day in Westminster. You encounter it in England. Despite the SNP being in government, and heedless to the party’s re-election by a large margin, you can still experience it in parts of (particularly bourgeois) Scotland. Whether understood as a moonshine radicals or atavistic clowns clinging to the withered, taloned hand of nationalist folly, the pathologised image of the Nat continues to enjoying a lively if crudely conceived conceptual life.

Unbidden, this little Oxfordian vignette came to mind last week, as I sat reading Lord George Robertson in the Scottish Review. The Labour peer and former MP takes as his subject the frumious “cybernats”. Having relayed his sufferings at the hands of perfidious Nats during the 1990s, he relates how an article he had written was received by the hoaching mass of commenters who adorn the Scotsman website. These “cybernats”, Robertson temperately defines as:

“... demented, screwed-up untypical bigots sitting in the middle of the night abusing their opponents but they do show a sordid underbelly to the debate that good people in all parties and none should condemn and revile”.

Yesterday, of this article Jim Murphy tweeted:

"A stunning insight into the world of SNP supporters online. Their abuse is endless."

One cannot help but be struck by the curious keenness various Labour politicians have on this relatively novel concept. Remember, if you can, that just prior to Iain Gray’s demission from office as leader of his party, the concept so excited him that he committed a substantial section of his valedictory address to it, following up with a Scotsman column, arguing that he was:

"... increasingly worried about it undermining the decency of the country I love, damaging the freedoms its citizens enjoy, and poisoning the vital debate we now face on the future of that country."

Such histrionics wildly exaggerate the influence, impact and - frankly - the public exposure of your average soul, bent on denouncing the "great Unionist conspiracy" and its creatures. While Labour politicians may entertain clear conceptions of the Cybernat, and strive to promote them, the concept is not, I fancy, common currency with the public at large. What strikes me as interesting, however, is why the idea of the cybernat seems to resonate so attractively with Scottish Labour politicians? What function does the concept serve? It would be a misunderstanding, I think, to see their pushing of the figure of the cybernat as purely an attempt to gain partisan advantage, conscious, knowing and manipulative. There will be a bit of that, certainly.

However, the ‘cybernat’ isn’t a given. He (and it is almost always a he) has to be created, and has a very limited conceptual history. I’m not arguing that there aren’t folk online slagging off Lord Robertson as an “unelected hypocrite”, but we have to ask ourselves, at what point does an abusive individual become generalised, no longer merely a git with a keyboard, but suddenly one of many, an instance of a category we are invited to understand homogeneously, as representative of "the world(!)" of SNP supporters online? The answer seems to be some time around 2008. A search on LexisNexis’ archive suggests that the word ‘cybernat’ was first seen in newsprint in Scotland on the 10th of February 2008, in the Sunday Herald letters pages, attributed to our old chum, Lord George Foulkes. As of yesterday, the term generates 108 articles. Of the total, the Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday are by far the most prolific users, constituting a third of instances (36), as compared to the Herald and Sunday Herald’s more modest count of 20.

Far more than strategy, the character of the "Cybernat" is a way of hanging on – increasingly desperately – to the "pathologised" figure of the Scottish nationalist. It is a concept to be peddled on and for the Scottish market, and if the mainstream SNP didn’t exist, the Cybernat would not have to be invented.  Even the name implies a merely technological development – a shift of scene. Remove his online platform and the Cybernat becomes a plain old Nat.  Again, none of this is to deny that there is plenty of online correspondence informed by vitriolic feelings, Quisling rhetoric, unyielding partisanship, a personally indicting, indelicately expressed approach to political discourse with those with whom you might disagree. Fire up any popular news site or blog in any part of the world, and you encounter a birling tempest of ordure.

The crucial thing, however, is that figure of ‘the cybernat’ has no interest or utility, conceived as individual and personal. For the Labour politician, that utility is curiously self-involved. The "cybernat" none-too-subtly reassures the existentially wracked Scottish Labour figure that the Nats remain, in the fundaments, loopy as the rings of Saturn, their civic nationalist masks concealing their essential, suspected, gut-rending hatred of the Other. Behind the prose of Robertson and Gray, you can almost feel the mad zeal of the paranoid detective, who, having discovered some marks which confirm a cherished thesis about whodunnit, wildly rejoices to find his hunches confirmed: "I knew it! I knew it!"

Although keen to promote the idea that "Cybernats" are a problem for the SNP, it strikes me insofar as it helps sustain a delusional political identity that pathologises their Nationalist opponents, the Cybernat represents far more of a problem for the Labour Party.  No longer able to imagine itself as the crucible of Scottish sentiment, the once and future right ruling political outfit enjoying especial access to the true public will and feeling, their "Cybernat" fetish feeds Labour addiction to self-flattering suspicions, which cannot see the Nats as anything but perfidious usurpers and secret racists, who have illicitly snatched the crown.


  1. There's a wee typo in the paragraph beginning 'Such histrionics' which will, I'm sure, pain one so enamoured of the precise and particular . .

    "It would me a misunderstanding, I think, to see the pushing of the figure of the cybernat . . ."

    'be' rather than 'me' I think? Unless I' being obtuse, of course, which certainly wouldn't be unusual.


  2. I don't know where to even start with the "cybernat" obsession.

    Partly, of course, it's quaintly funny, watching fusty old buffoons like Foulkes rage against these damnable youths with their computers and loud music and lack of respect for their elders. Everyone else stopped saying "cyber" in about 1995.

    It's also hard to be anything but awed at Labour's sheer brass neck and/or mind-blowing lack of self-awareness. Anyone who's read the Scotsman's comments threads would require substantial mental discipline to be able to ignore the malicious, mendacious, abusive outpourings of the likes of Grahamski, Rufus Of The Many Names, and all the others most of us could doubtless reel off like a two-times table, and somehow arrive at the conclusion that only the Nats had a loony fringe.

    Then there's the bare-faced hypocrisy of fulminating against a bunch of random internet users - who may or may not even be members of the SNP - and holding the party itself directly responsible and accountable for their actions (implying that they're carried out at the party's behest and under the party's control), while at the same time refusing to acknowledge the ever-growing rogue's gallery of *elected public representatives* in Labour ranks who routinely openly attack the SNP and Alex Salmond with comparisons to Nazis and other genocidal dictators.

    (It'd be a bit like Ally McCoist complaining that an anonymous Celtic fan once called him a smelly bumhole, even as he pissed on a picture of the Pope live on Rangers TV while wearing a t-shirt with Michael Stone's face on it.)

    The sheer magnitude of the lie is so inconceivable it almost defies challenge, which is presumably the idea. As rhetoric it's a winner, because it's like trying to take down an elephant with a fork and spoon. As a means of persuading people to your cause it's suicidally stupid. Labour seem incapable of grasping just how far such antics have seen them sink in the public estimation, no matter how many sub-30% poll ratings they get. They are independence's greatest asset.

  3. RevStu - it's basically the Big Lie propaganda technique. We can't actually say that out loud though, because it was Hitler who coined the term, which means I would be comparing Labour to the Nazis if I so much as suggested they use it, even though the term "Big Lie" has long since been adopted into the wider lexicon. We have all learned from the Gauleiter episode that any term deriving from the Nazis is off-limits, regardless of it's current recognised meaning.

    Unless it's being utilised against the SNP, of course, in which case it's totally acceptable.

  4. Yup. Indeed, I specifically avoided mentioning it for that very reason. But the Wiki definition is highly apt:

    "The Big Lie (German: Große Lüge) is a propaganda technique. The expression was coined by Adolf Hitler, when he dictated his 1925 book Mein Kampf, about the use of a lie so "colossal" that no one would believe that someone could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously."

  5. Can't add anything that hasn't been said above.

    Except to say, 'cybernats' make people like Foulkes, Robertson and Harris squirm which is hugely entertaining, almost as entertaining as seeing grown men behaving like five year olds who feel they've been unfairly scolded.

  6. LPW - Hilarious, and very generous of you to turn therapist to leaven the agonies of hysterical Britnuts, viz.,

    I do not doubt that it would be easier for fate to take away your suffering than it would for me. But you will see for yourself that much has been gained if we succeed in turning your hysterical misery into common unhappiness.
    (Freud, Studies on Hysteria, 1895)

  7. Joking aside, Unionist hysteria is a longstanding historical fact and a dangerous phenomenon.

    I'm guessing your left-leaning Oxonian wasn't Iain McLean of Nuffield College. He identified Unionist hysteria as a kind of pathology in his book State of the Union, and then more explicity in his What's wrong with the British Constitution? (2010) He points out there that there was a coup d'etat in the UK in 1914 led by Unionists who were implacably opposed to Home Rule, and who included Andrew Bonar Law, A.V. Dicey (of 'parliamentary sovereignty' fame), George V, and Field Marshal Lord Roberts. The state was only rescued by the outbreak of the 1st WW.

    The movement for Scottish self-determination is famously law-abiding and non-violent, yet it is forced to defend itself against accusations of fascism by opponents who, historically-speaking, did not themselves hesitate to over-turn the rule of law, and were ready (having secretly armed) to shed innocent blood for their fanaticism.

  8. What I still can't understand is why Nationalism is such an anti-Shibboleth for the Labour party.

    Given the official raison-d'etre of the Party (it sometimes needs spelling out, so let's define it as being to defend ordinary people from exploitation and reduce structural inequality), you'd expect there'd be a range of opinions on whether that could better be achieved by a Scotland within or outwith the Union. But there isn't. There's a clear bias going on here, which truly baffles me.

    Yes, some of it is a self-selecting matter of "If you're for it, go and join the party that advocates it," but that doesn't apply to views on Green policies. While the leadership's actions may sometimes suggest the opposite, it can't simply be a sense of fear and outraged entitlement, that someone else is stealing 'our' votes, as I know there are people of good conscience and open minds in the party.

    So just why does advancement in the party align so perfectly with an absolute refusal to countenance Scotland as an independent nation?

  9. I'm quite proud of the term, as I was very probably one of the commenters he meant, along with others in the so-called blackberry ring(we used messenger).

    Mostly all we did was counter unionist claims with truth and humour, yet sometimes it turned into a flamer, especially when a young hotheaded football player from Leith came in from the pub...

    The commenters on the Scotsman and the Herald-not just the cybernats-(who could forget AM2?) changed the face of the MSM utterly.

    A terrible beauty was born...

  10. It's perfectly simple. You are caricatured in public opinion because a great many online nats caricature themselves. You are tarred. For illustration:

    "How many cybernats does it take to change a light bulb?

    It doesn't take any cybernats to change a light bulb. Typical Unionist bile. You should go and change a lightbulb!"

    That sums up the unthinking, bloody minded, petulant attitude displayed by many (not all) prominent cybernats on blogs etc., especially on Newsnet Scotland, they migrated from the Beeb's Blether with Brian.

    It is a problem. By thinking they are quite right to deride those in non agreement into agreeing with them, they are damaging all nats and the value of the arguments for independence. They are giving the opposition what they want, by being the stereotype nat they love to describe.

    It's as clever as friendly fire.

  11. I think Elaine's comment above is spot on. There is a perception of the cybernat and more generally of Nationalism which at its worst, as LPW says, is an excuse for those as yet unconvinced by the pro-Independence arguments to simply discount pro views. The need here, surely, is to remove the grounds for the ‘cybernat’ argument and I think the only way to do that is to force it into the light. Often, the people doing the flaming on either side will be (present company excepted I’m sure) people writing under witty pseudonyms. I understand some people have jobs which preclude or discourage open party political affiliation, but for the rest of us, it would require us to consider and justify not just whether our statements are correct but whether they are constructive, and when accused of being a cybernat, allow us to say, 'No, I'm a Nat.'

    Or is there still a bit of cringe attached?

  12. I think we are all familiar with the kind of patronising oh for goodness sake don’t be so silly response to saying that you believe in independence. For some people it is the equivalent of saying you believe you have fairies at the bottom of your garden. And of course it is that kind of patronising dismissal of the case for independence - as though speaking to a young child, or the conviction that anybody who thinks Scotland might be better off running itself could only have come to that conclusion by watching too many showings of Braveheart and listening to too many Corries records - that has driven some of the “cybernats” mad. Cos some of them are mad, I think we all know that!

    But, after all, success is the best revenge. Once they have done patting us on the head and saying dearie me, you are taking this whole independence idea a bit too seriously aren’t you? there is every chance we will have won.

  13. "it helps sustain a delusional political identity that pathologises their Nationalist opponents"

    I think you could have something there, going by the latest piece of drivel from Tom Harris - this time on Labour Uncut - which asserts that the SNP is uniquely not a "proper" political party, because it has no internal disagreements about anything. Labour just can't seem to come to terms with losing to the Nats, even five years on.

  14. Lord Fucks twitted that cybernats were as bad as holocaust deniers for refusing to believe that he, Fucks, was personally responsible for devolution (I paraphrase a bit). Don't be too hard on him - he was only obeying orders!

  15. Oh that is absolutely true. Because there must be lots of people in Labour who aren't really unionists but in order to go on hating us they have to demonise us - and that's part of the whole Scotsman/Newsnet cybernat thing as well. It's not just a bunch of nutters on the internet, much as you find on many news sites - it's a threat to democracy, part of the SNP conspiracy to eliminate all dissent and er well I don't know, start loading up the cattle trucks I suppose. Deep down most of them must know this is just rubbish but they need to hate us because we couldn't have won fair and square.

  16. "Deep down most of them must know this is just rubbish but they need to hate us because we couldn't have won fair and square."

    I honestly think a lot of them are just struggling with a complete mental implosion. "SNP MAJORITY! DOES NOT COMPUTE! ERROR! ERROR!"

    I had Ian Smart - a lawyer, for goodness' sake - earlier today telling me that Salmond desperately wants to avoid holding an independence referendum, but that David Cameron might force one on him by passing a S30 order.

    Step back and look seriously for a moment at just how stark-raving-mental an assertion that is, from what you'd have to assume was under normal circumstances an intelligent man.

    The Unionist camp could have held a referendum any time it liked in the last 30 years. It would, I'd contend, for the vast majority of that time have been almost certain to win it.

    Are we to believe that NOW, with the SNP at a peak beyond its own wildest imaginings, is the moment the Unionists have selected as the ideal time, and that Salmond - with all trends pointing to growing support and a definite chance of winning it come 2014 - is doing everything he can to avoid it?

    We are according to Ian. Like I said, I honestly think many hardcore Labour activists have simply had their minds blown by the fact and scale of the SNP's victory last year (in particular the speed of the swing in the last weeks, after Labour had let themselves the blip was over and the natural order was about to be restored), and no longer know which way is up.

  17. Ian Smart wrote a classic patronising blogpost about how naive SNP activists are believing that there is actually going to be an independence referendum because of course the leadership don't want one, they are just leading us up the garden path etc.

    It's as though he thinks OK, Salmond, Sturgeon, Swinney, Russell etc - I'll give them credit for being real grown up politicians. Therefore they CANNOT POSSIBLY believe in independence because proper grown up politicians know how silly that is. So it must be a con, they are just pretending to support independence in order to stay in government.

    It's a perfect illustration of the mindset. There's a hint of fellow feeling there - yes, I'm prepared to concede that this Salmond chap might have a bit of a brain in his head. He's someone worth talking to perhaps, so of course he can't really be a nat. Because they are all childishly naive or mad.

    Aren't they?

  18. An interesting post and some replies.

    I take it you've never been called "traitor" or "Quisling"?
    That's a very nasty insult...a lot different from calling someone an "unelectable hypocrite" (nasty enough in itself).

    Anyways, never mind the cybernats.

    Alex Salmond says that Scottish MPs have no right to question his referendum (unless they are the single Nat on the committee who promptly finds an excuse to leave).

    Nationalist MSPs have taking to calling their opponents "anti-Scottish" for no other reason than disagreeing with them.

    So. The cybernats are nasty, and they feel justified in their clandestine nastiness by the open nastiness of their political seniors.

  19. Since almost everything in that post is a lie, I think we can safely disregard it.

  20. Far more than strategy, the character of the "Cybernat" is a way of hanging on - increasingly desperately - to the "pathologised" figure of the Scottish nationalist... The crucial thing, however, is that figure of 'the cybernat' has no interest or utility, conceived as individual and personal...The "cybernat" none-too-subtly reassures the existentially wracked Scottish Labour figure that the Nats remain, in the fundaments, loopy as the rings of Saturn, their civic nationalist masks concealing their essential, suspected, gut-rending hatred of the Other.

    It's a manifestation of the Labour mindset or worldview which used to be characterised by the desperate desire, despite evidence to the contrary, that the SNP was at heart racist or at minimum far right but now has settled on the "cybernat" as the evil face of the SNP. In Labour circles cybernat has now come to mean anyone who comments in favour of independence and by default against the Labour party.

    Elaine here mentions Brian Taylor's blog before they shut down the comments and Newsnet but both of these sites were and are moderated. Personal abuse is not allowed on Newsnet and it's a rule which rarely has to be enforced and Elaine herself uses the standard Labour descriptors of cybernattery, "nats", "bloody minded", "petulant", "deride", but no evidence of these attitudes from either blog.

    When you read George Robertson's, "fulminations", against cybernattery the phrase, "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?", comes to mind. When he says, "As Shadow Scottish Secretary I had death threats, was sent incendiary devices, had hate telephone calls and was likened at the SNP conference by a prominent nationalist (now in the Scottish cabinet) to a Nazi collaborator.", he links the incendiary devices and death threats that came from known loose cannon Adam Busby, the one man SNLA, and the the hate telephone calls to the SNP. If George is still fuming about being called Lord Haw-Haw sixteen years ago by Alex Neil then he should grow a thicker skin, Alex Neil did apologise afterwards.

    He then links the SNP to the violence in Yugoslavia, "I know that people have deep passions about race or tribe or nationality and often patriotism can turn to bloody violence. I saw the miserably extreme legacy of that in the unimaginable horrors of Bosnia and Kosovo.", and describes Scottish nationalism as, "nonsense", and, "hysterics".

    He then lists some of the comments directed at him.

    'Robertson is an idiotic, pompous traitor to Scotland and the Scots',
    'the vermin who inhabit the House of Lords',
    'establishment lackey',
    'Westminster traitor-jock-Lords',
    'keep his Westminster polished nose out of Scottish politics',
    'two-faced liars and deceivers',
    'unelected hypocrite',
    'American puppet',
    'inbred arthritic Labrador attempting to complete the Total Wipeout course',
    'Lord Gormless'
    'yoos Unionist trash'.

    You can make your own minds up about these but, 'unelected hypocrite", does seem to have a ring of truth about it in the light of Baron Robertson of Port Ellen's article which on the one hand fulminates about the, "cybernat", comments on his article while linking together the SNP and the war in Yugoslavia.

  21. RevStu
    "Since almost everything in that post is a lie, I think we can safely disregard it."

    LPW's post, full of lies???

    if you're talking about my comment (above), which bit is the lie?

  22. 'inbred arthritic Labrador attempting to complete the Total Wipeout course'

    That's my favourite.

    But even the start of George Robertson's piece in the Scottish Review is astounding.

    "I often joke that after my four-year stint as Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, everything else – the Balkans, 9/11, Macedonia, Russia, Saddam – was a piece of cake. After all whatever you say about Milosovic and his poisonous crew they never pretended that they were on your side."

    He clearly doesn't have the slightest idea that this is offensive. Not a clue.

  23. As a Nationalist, I agree with much of the criticism of online Nationalist commentary (Bloggers and commenters). So much of it, even amongst the more cerebral, is slanging, acerbic wit and devoid of opinion deviating from the party line. That's a generalisation, of course, there are also some excellent exceptions.

    I question its persuasive qualities beyond the already converted; I don't imagine it helps the gender gap either. It is counter-productive. Undecideds are less likely to be convinced of the merits of independence, to be part of better, when so much of this is just not.

    Obviously, the same, if not worse, could be said of online Unionist political commentary. Also, It can be argued that fire must be fought with fire, lies countered by lies but where does that leave us? It might seem unfair but I actually think the bar of expectation is, even should be, set higher for Nationalists in terms of quality of arguments and conduct. For it is they who are advocating change, they who are asking people to take a risk.

  24. Personaly speaking, I always though that "Cybernats" were part of the Macblogosphere's cottage industry make-up (as opposed to the English blogosphere being dominated by Guido, Dale and the Anglocentric print media), and became proniment partly down to the mainstream media's institutionalised bias towards Labour, and because... well there is no "Scottish Labour" equivilant.

    That last point is probably why there is nothing but scorn from the likes of Grey, Robertson, Harris etc. Funily enough, there's no Labour equivilant to Guido neither a right wing blogger prepared to put the boot into the left. The McBride blog "Red Rag" was supposed to fill this gap - but to combat the "army" of "Cybernats", theres no willing volunteers save the still not very good "Labour Hame" (cringe!).

  25. Another point to be made is that, while I am not defending people who cross the line into racism or homophobia or sectarianism etc, some of the exchanges of insults on the Scotsman are actually quite funny. Yes, it’s not nice to describe a senior member of the House of Lords as an inbred arthritic Labrador attempting to complete the Total Wipeout course but it is quite funny.

    And this is a thing that we all do. It’s why there is a market for comedians like Jerry Sadowiz or Frankie Boyle or Jimmy Carr. It’s why people like Ricky Gervais or Russell Brand are paid large amounts of money to host awards shows at which they insult the performers and half the audience.

    It’s a form of entertainment and it’s not new. I remember seeing a performance once of The Flyting of Dunbar and Kennedie at the Edinburgh Festival and once your ear adjusted to the Scots it was really entertaining. They did not hold back – the insults they hurled at each other made some of the cybernats sound like Mother Theresa. But it was all a game, a kind of verbal sport.

    So I think people really need to distinguish between what is genuinely abusive and unacceptable and what is just a bunch of people taking the piss and winding each other up for fun. That's not always an easy line to draw of course but quite often it is fairly obvious.

  26. Personally, I find it offensive that people are allowed shamelessly to defend and justify the occupation and misrule of my country by another country, long after the world in general has decided imperialism was a Bad Thing, without being pursued by the forces of the law. It is particularly ironic that many of those doing so would claim to be "progressives" opposed to colonialism, exploitation and the use of the military in support of economic interests. And then go and head up NATO...As His Reverence remarks, the lack of self-awareness is simply astonishing.

  27. Personally, I prefer Cybergnat, as I reminded of midges.

    If Mr Salmond stops modelling for them, presumably there would be fewer.

  28. I e-mailed the SR immediately upon appearing in my in-box that allowing yir man Robertson such a stage for the purposes of slagging was beneath it. I have yet to have a reply. I wouldn't have minded if he had something worthwhile to say, even if i would invariably have disagreed with it. Poor poor show.

    I know Gerry hassan likens the labour hatred of the SNP to Rangers of Celtic, sure there is a wee bit that goes back. However the pathological aspects for me is summed up in LPW's last line whereby we have "illicitly snatched the crown" and ultimately messed with their entitlement. The labour party was the de-facto rulers of Scotland no matter who was in power in London. Those days are never, never coming back, it must be agony for them that the auld certainties and the impotency only compounds it.

  29. @Indy

    "It’s a form of entertainment and it’s not new."

    So calling your oponents "traitor" or "Quisling" (both of which have happened to me on numerous occassions) is just a bit of fun?

    And MSPs who think that their opponents are "anti-Scottish" because they want to have a say in the referendum, that's just a joke, is it?

    Sorry. It's not acceptable.

    The fact that contributors here, most of whom would not qualify as extreme cybernats, think that it is just shows how far from normal political discourse even maintstream Nationalists have strayed.

    Given that the mainstreamIndy can't see how unacceptable her defence of the offensive is, it's no wonder the Nat fringes are so far out.....

  30. "And MSPs who think that their opponents are "anti-Scottish" because they want to have a say in the referendum"

    See, it's blatant, knowing misrepresentation like that that gets you quite deservedly insulted.

  31. Braveheart; would you consider yourself a cyber-unionist?

    Or does anything beginning with "cyber" have some sort of negative vibe to you?

  32. "Sorry. It's not acceptable.

    The fact that contributors here, most of whom would not qualify as extreme cybernats, think that it is just shows how far from normal political discourse even maintstream Nationalists have strayed."

    Sorry, who said it was acceptable? See, you just can't stop lying, it's a compulsion.

    Is comparing ANY aspect of Scottish political life to Holocaust denial acceptable? Calling the First Minister "Slobodan Salmond", how about that? Calling the SNP "neo-fascists"?

    Should we go through your blog and see how whiter-than-white your own hands are?

  33. Braveheart, you really, really can't see how bad you appear in the eyes of the world, can you.

    Foulkes compares "Cybernats" to Holocaust Deniers is just the last of a long, long line of filty, insulting and often xenophobic behavior on the part of the Unionists. It was Unionists who convinced this American that any relationship that abusive by the larger partner cried for adjustment because I have no dog in that fight.

    There is something so twisted in Unionists thinking the foulest insults on their part are acceptable whether it is calling "Slobodan Salmond", stating NO THE FLOOR OF PARLIAMENT that the SNP (the entire party not just "Cybernats") are Neo-Nazis, comparing Salmond to Mugabi and the contunual personal insults (see the above from Ferdinand above).

    Does that make comments such as Siônnyn's acceptable? No. But NO ONE is going to take the Labour whingeing and whining about being called names seriously until they at least admit that while the SNP has a mote or two Labour has a beam that is more than a few meters long.

    Clean up your own house, because it is filthy.

  34. Good God Almighty, LPW. You've started a riot!

    I don't like the term "cybernat", although there are a few out there who fit the generalised description.

    I prefer to use the term "Fundamentalist Wing of the Alex Salmond Appreciation Society". These are the people who cannot accept any criticism - however justified - of Alex Salmond, the SNP or the policies. Any criticism results in venomous and in some cases threatening responses.

    These are the idiots that I sincerely hope never, ever get into a position of influence.

    And there are quite a few on the unionist side of the fence as well.....

  35. Barbarian, if you consider "Slobodan Salmond" or being compared to Mugabi 'justified criticism', I can only say that you and I define the word differently. As long as this level of discourse is considered the norm by the media and the Labour party, I repeat, no one is going to take their whines seriously.

  36. Thanks Barbara Gribbon and agreed, Graham.

    Doug the Doug said:

    "Elaine here mentions Brian Taylor's blog before they shut down the comments and Newsnet but both of these sites were and are moderated. Personal abuse is not allowed on Newsnet and it's a rule which rarely has to be enforced and Elaine herself uses the standard Labour descriptors of cybernattery, "nats", "bloody minded", "petulant", "deride", but no evidence of these attitudes from either blog."

    Often on these blogs, the more comments are added and the more posters join in (the gang mentality), any point even slightly quizzing the rightful justification of independence, if not greeted with a very patronisingly authoritative ('helpful') tone, is received with a smug (jolly) piss take, and quickly ends up having scathing acerbic, or just plain angry blunt rude, replies that scornfully out their author as 'a Unionist' (boo, hiss). Either way, they are summarily dismissed, swatted away.

    This reaction is describing the, what would I say, hard core cybernats (so, not all cybernats). These 50 or so (men) inhabit the blogs every day, much of the day and quite often late into the night/morning.

    Doug the Doug has done what they typically do. They register an insult straight away, and without stopping to determine if there was any reason in what was said, immediately turn it back on the poster, flipping what they said into a cheap accusation of what they did. This time I wasn't a unionist but using typical Labour language was my brain weakness. (In my house, you voted SNP, but however you voted, you didn't vote Labour, that just wasn't done, so no inherited Labour affinity, of that I'm sure ;-)

    They also ask for evidence of anything they didn't like hearing. I should have added to my joke:
    "I don't see any evidence that it takes a cybernat to change a light bulb. Please present your evidence that it takes a cybernat to change a light bulb."

    Doug the Doug used to post on Blether with Brian (or else his online twin did). Of course he doesn't see the point of view I'm stating. It's not how he sees himself (it's not how he sees independence), it must be wrong.

    Thanks, Doug, for demonstrating my point.

    If I had come on a blog wondering about independence, got it wrong a bit, and judged and dismissed out of hand like that...

  37. I agree with Elaine and Barbara.

    I think there are several divisions in Scottish civic debate at the moment, and perhaps the most significant is not that between rational nat and rational unionist. but between those who regard the demented world of Scotsman threads as on the scale of Bannockburn and those of us - like me - who can only see a bunch of saddoes who need girlfriends.

  38. Oh and Indy the point about flyting is that it was carried out under your real name. It's not very brave to shout 'Unionist troll' or 'Nat Fascist' if you are hiding behind a pseudonym.

  39. Cybernats, heh! Bizarrely I'm quite taken with the term. Almost a badge of pride as it were. I have noted bile and vitriol on almost every site carrying an independence related story. In general this bile is directed at the independence minded and indeed any unionist who concedes a point against the tide.

    Equally I have also seen overzealous independence minded types use language just as bad. A quick visit to the likes of the Mail, Telegraph, Express or Scotsman will give ample examples of both for comparison and heat. Its not difficult to determine who is the greater sinner.

    The simple fact is there are extreme viewpoints in both camps, but only Messrs Robertson and Foulkes would make the claim that the Cybernat is a generic term of disgrace for all posters of an independence mindset. I for one, although no member of any party, would be quite proud to be called a Cybernat.

    We're not all scary.

  40. Edwin I have never shouted Unionist Troll or Nat Fascist at anyone so I am not sure what your point is.

    My point is that the people who comment on the Scotsman are in many cases quite clearly just taking the piss out of each other so why do people take it the least bit seriously, far less infer anything about the condition of nationalism or unionism or the SNP or Labour from it?

    As Elaine says it is probably around 50 or so people, who I agree are almost certainly all men.

    Yet you have politicians taking them so seriously that they claim to consider them a threat to democracy?

    That is just bizarre whichever way you look at it.

    Let's have a little common sense here.

    There are a number of sites where people can have intelligent conversations about politics. The Scotsman is not one of them - neither is the Daily Mail!

  41. Apologies Indy - I was unclear. I should have said I was making a general point about the scale of anonymous vitriol in Scottish cybergab and was most certainly not directed at yourself.

  42. Re Flyting - Dunbar and Henryson were clearly having a medieval style word rumble with no real hatred - indeed i think they are the first writers to get 'cunt' and 'fuck' into print. I doubt if there will be much of a legacy of any kind from the world of Scottish cybergab. There are a few oases of sensible discussion tended by wise men and women of the desert such as LPW - but in general it is very much a dispiriting scene.

  43. Keech - not Henryson of course, I am getting my makars muckled

  44. To raise the tone, here is Kennedy on Dunbar -

    Wan-fukkit funling, that natour maid ane yrle

  45. GrassyKnollington22 February 2012 at 09:54

    Great post Lallands and it's generated some revealing responses.

    I love the rough and tumble of anonymous commenting.
    Where to begin with my favourites...

    I love the stalking off in high dudgeon / I've never been so insulted in all my life.

    The "I'm a nationalist but (poster proceeds to traduce the SNP and all its works) lately they ...."

    The "I was on the point of joining the SNP until I read this thread, well that's it as far as I'm concerned"

    The why aren't you brave enough use your real name challenge? from Colin, Donald, John, Sandra ( insert as applicable ).

    The "you're all picking on me and it's not just hurtful it's sick because in real life I've got autism, m.e, I'm in a wheelchair, I'm just back from a war zone or sometimes more heartrending and much worse"

    Oh I could go on. The bottom line is they are anonymous comments and as James Kelly pointed out on his blog the other day the SNP doesn't disown them as it never owned them in the first place.

    I've yet to hear Ruth Davidson being asked to explain the language and conduct of her fellow travellers on Guido Fawkes blog.

  46. I think the "cybernat" canard is a manifestation of Scottish Labour's general fear of the internet, which they resent as a medium that they cannot control or even competently influence in the way they've historically been able to influence or control traditional media.

  47. Yes I am not comparing the quality of the wrangles on the Scotsman to medieval poetic flyting! What I'm saying is that argument for the sake of argument is actually something that is part of our culture. It can be done well and it can be done badly. Just like comedy in that sense - we all have mates who think they are as funny as Billy Connolly. Then you actually have Billy Connolly.

  48. What is so funny is that the sad Unionist that complain about Cybernats - Geo Fucks for instance, are far more likely to fall foul of Goodwins law (accusing the SNP of being holocaust deniers, calling Salmond Hitler, mussolini or Mugabe) or of the standards of truth and decency that they hypocritically claim to hold, than do any of these awful people they complain about!

  49. Indy

    'we all have mates who think they are as funny as Billy Connolly. Then you actually have Billy Connolly.'

    Thanks that made me laugh!

  50. In my experience, people of varying levels of articulacy or political knowledge say far worse things in real life about politicans than appear in published exchanges between cyberscotnats and cyberbritnats.

    They also say these things with fury, revulsion, and malevolence. My extended family (like everyone else's) contains the general spectrum of Unionist/non-Unionist, left/right views (it doesn't have any BNP views, thankfully, though some of the far-left ones are surprisingly conservative). Most of their expresssed attitudes to politicans and political debate would not be allowed to be printed, even in the Scotsman. I never view them as suffering from a kind of emotional capture.

    It must be relevant that the kinds of exchange that are accorded the name of a pathology by Lallands mostly occur in writing, rather than speech. Writers are accorded a 'presence, beyond the marks on the cyber-page, and perhaps even see themselves as historical actors whose interventions are meaningful because of the physical nature of the medium, and the morality of bearing witness.

    But there is one noticable difference when public speech in institutional environments is involved. Against all the evidence, politically-aware opponents and critics of the SNP (not necessarily Labour) are keen to compare the SNP and Salmond in particular, to those lawless regimes, and their leaders, that have been prepared to murder people to gain and establish power. They don't necessarily make this accusation against other people who are keen on constitutional reform but they do insist that there is a large dark presence of latent killers among the general Scottish population who can quickly be activated by gestures from the SNP.

    This public rhetoric has somthing deeply conservative and theological about it. It implies a demonology and a sense of metaphysical evil, and attributes a kind of original sin to (some) scottish people. Possibly, those not tainted are the 'Elect'.

    Therefore I think that it is more than merely a cynical or instrumental political tactic. Lallands is close to the truth when he argues that it is a kind of extreme pathological condition, and describes it as a 'fetish'.

  51. One of the most common adjective - usually intended in disapprobation - I have heard used about Salmond is 'Smug'. To be fair to the man, he has a lot to be smug about, with his opponents rushing around cluelessly, bumping into each other, and saying ridiculous things, but it really isn't true - he's just got that sort of amiable face. And usually when they say smug, they imply complacent - well it is obvious that is one thing he is not, otherwise someone would have been able to trip him up over the last 9 months, and they haven't come close!

  52. A tangent, perhaps: Brian Wilson, in today's Scotsman, states (of course, banging a drum in doing so) that polling evidence shows at least one third of SNP voters to be unsupportive of independence and that there are significant minorities voting for unionist parties (and none) who are supportive. I have no idea (nor drum) how accurate that is and, whilst I find the concept straight forward, I do struggle with the magnitudes.

    But my main point is that it highlights some limits of our daily use of terminology that are relevant here. It's a reminder that, aside from any working definition of 'cybernat', it's not difficult for the definitions of 'nationalist' and 'unionist' themselves to become blurred. If a nationalist is defined simply as someone who supports independence and a unionist as someone who does not, there are clearly both nationalists and unionists in all parties and none. It is easy to forget this, which in itself can hinder discussion.

  53. Graham: polls do suggest that anywhere from 25% to 40% of SNP supporters don't back independence, while around 20% of Labour voters do. (Can't remember the numbers for Tories and Lib Dems, but lower than Labour.)

    Overall, adding the other three parties together, the numbers very very roughly balance out, so broadly speaking you can - purely as a ballpark estimate - effectively say that all SNP supporters back independence and all Lab/Lib/Con supporters oppose it.

  54. I consider myself a cybernat and look on some one with the political and criminal track record of Lord Foulkes naming calling as a sign of just how lost and desperate the pro-union argument has become.

    Personally I have found the type of response which is supported by UK Government figures or reflects on what folk like Foulkes has actually said is highly irritating to the average unionist blogger.

    Just recently Sir Nicholas Soames pointed out that in 2011 North Sea oil and Gas production contributed 25% of the UK's corporation tax and was responsible for halving the UK Trade deficit, the North Sea support industries chipped in with another £6 billion and together contributed to 35% of the UK's foreign exchange (Hansard[HC 1018-i and -ii.]) - now just imagine the hole in Westminster's new exchequer when between 83 and 90% of that lot stays in Scotland plus the £6 billion the Scotch Whisky industry contributed.

    No offence required, that is pure cybernatery and what Foulkes is really complaining about, you just point out they have shot themselves in the foot, again, and walk away.

  55. I suppose I'm a CyberNat - I rather like the term - but I, for one, totally dislike the occasional (and it IS, thankfully, occasional) descent into mad, frustrated fury that one tends to see on the Scotsman comments section and, at times, on the various Facebook groups. As an ex-academic type, I cringe when I see the foaming rage of the chronic mis-speller, transmitted via iPhone (which usually adds another 10% of predictive spelling typos), and near incomprehensible except for the odd "basturds" "parisites" and "traiturs" - and if I see another reference to someone "loosing the plot" or our "soveriegn nation", I shall scream.

    Orthography aside, the hurling of insults just gives the other side something to grab and throw back at us - and before THAT provokes a cry of "sneekie basturds", we should be reflecting on what it would say about us: undemocratic louts who would be oppressing people right, left and centre if in power. That is NOT what the Nationalist side should be about!

    The fact (and it IS a fact) that far, far more of these rage-fuelled effusions come from the BritNat commenters does not excuse what is simply bad behaviour destined to be used against our movement.

    Our tactics should be as follows: trolls should be ignored (except, perhaps to append the label "Known troll" to warn others),those making a case for the union should have their points refuted using reason and hard information, anyone swithering about which way to jump should NOT be put off by our crying "Quisling" etc. at our opponents.

    We have GOT to be the reasonable ones, we have got to do the research, expose the weaknesses and inaccuracies, and make the positive case for Independence. It may well be irresistible for many people to jeer abusively at their opponents. It's certainly featured strongly throughout human history. However, the age we now live in can take that and magnify it into an indictment of the cause we're supposed to be promoting. Less foaming at the mouth and more thought will better serve our cause. Now I'm off back to my late-night CyberNattery - well, I'm back to being a muso these days, you can't expect me to keep regular hours!

  56. @RevStu said:

    ""And MSPs who think that their opponents are "anti-Scottish" because they want to have a say in the referendum"

    See, it's blatant, knowing misrepresentation like that that gets you quite deservedly insulted."

    Joan McAlpine tweeted,“Interfering in referendum is anti-Scottish as is refusal to compromise on popular desire 4 powers to Scotland.”

    se report here http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/snp_s_joan_mcalpine_insists_anti_scottish_attack_was_aimed_at_unionist_parties_not_individuals_1_2056001

    Seems clear to me. I don't want a devo max question on the ballot. According to your MSP that makes me "anti-Scottish".

    Am I?

    You haven't questioned the rest of my comment, so I presume you think the rest of it is also true.

    What's that you said about "deserved insult"?

  57. @revstu "Should we go through your blog and see how whiter-than-white your own hands are?"

    you're very welcome. http://braveheart-braveheartsblog.blogspot.com/

    If I've called anyone anti-Scottish or a nazi or traitor or quisling or even liar, as you have me, I'll publish an apology and remove the offending article immediately.

  58. I quite often make spelling errors cos typing too fast but I am with you on the "loose" "lose" one. People who don't know the difference are losers in my book, not loosers!

  59. "According to your MSP that makes me "anti-Scottish".

    Am I?

    You haven't questioned the rest of my comment, so I presume you think the rest of it is also true."

    Are you anti-Scottish? I don't know. You certainly have a massive cringe, as illustrated by your choice of name and avatar. But you're certainly a liar. You do it again above.

    And no, I don't think the rest of your comment is true. It's lies from start to finish. But heavens, if we've learned anything from interacting with you over the last few months, it's the utter futility of offering you facts and/or reasoning.

    I'll offer only a question instead: have you ever been drunk?

  60. "You certainly have a massive cringe,"

    read this.....


    and learn something.....

    As for repeatedly calling me a liar, that's just anonymous cyber bullying. You can't address the points I make so you try to bully me off.

    It's cybernattery, actually. The very thing the post is about and which LPW thinks is "labour's problem".

  61. So, Braveheart.

    Basically your blog comments that it is very silly of Kenny McAskill to liken Cameron's leap of faith to a 'pig in a poke'. Assuming that's because it is a leap of faith, and not merely because it was Cameron's leap of faith, therefore you also approve, don't disapprove, of Kenny's leap of faith, because it is a leap of faith, not because it's Kenny's leap of faith.

    As you were demonstrating that Kenny criticising Cameron's leap of faith was also criticising his own leap of faith, then if you criticise Kenny's leap of faith, you must also be criticising Cameron's leap of faith.

    Since your next article down has an illustration of a mole digging holding the Greek flag with an SNP badge, it's safe to assume you criticise Kenny's leap of faith. Therefore, you also criticise Cameron's leap of faith.

    Or, you don't criticise Cameron's leap of faith, in which case you are schizophrenic, and post a picture criticising Kenny's leap of faith while supporting Kenny's leap of faith.

    Welcome, another independence supporter :o)

  62. Eleine,
    if you want to comment on my blog please do so and I'll respond. (but not soon, I'm logging off for a while. thinkgs to do).

    It would be impolite to commandeer LPWs thread....

  63. Interesting article.

    I'm a Labour Party member and my view of the cybernats is that they are the virtual equivalent of those bampots you used to see at the count on election night. The mental ones who spat and shrieked abuse at the other parties.

    That element of the SNP has either left or have been silenced by the current leadership.

    Now the SNP have bright young things in suits who wouldn't dream of doing anything as ghastly as spitting at their opponents.

    For us though, the cybernat in full spittle-flecked frenzy is a reminder of the fairly recent past and how far the SNP have come in such a short period of time.

  64. I have been to many many counts. If anyone had gone about spitting at folk or screaming abuse they would have been put out by the police.

    That is what the police are there for.

    But it's an interesting comment because it highlights one way in which Labour trolls are quite clever. They claim things which could possibly be true and are hard to disprove because most people don't have the information to form a judgement. Most people have never been to a count, do not know anybody who has been to a count and have no idea how counts are organised. Therefore the idea that there could be hordes of SNP folk screaming abuse and spitting at people could be true - they have no way of knowing that it really really couldn't.

  65. @Grahamski "The mental ones who spat and shrieked abuse at the other parties."

    You'll have difficulty getting anyone here to accept...

    They all appear to think that calling your opponent traitor, Quisling or anti-Scottish is acceptable. If that's the case, what would they think constituted real abuse?

    Difficult to think....

  66. Mr Indy

    The jostling, spitting and abuse usually took place on the way in or way out of the count.

    But you know that.

  67. "As for repeatedly calling me a liar, that's just anonymous cyber bullying."

    Interesting use of "anonymous", there. (I'm also not sure how it's "bullying" to point out that a liar is telling lies.)

    And my, aren't we honoured to have the cyberFUD arch-troll himself come to visit too, with a few fairytales to tell?

  68. "They all appear to think that calling your opponent traitor, Quisling or anti-Scottish is acceptable."

    I'm sure any minute now you'll point us all to the quotes where we said it was acceptable. Unless you're lying, of course.

  69. Lallands Peat Worrier,

    After reading your article, I had a terrible thought, would Foulkes et.al consider you a 'cybernat' - albeit a devilishly sophisticated one?

  70. I see Grahamski's got in the apocryphal, "SNP spitting at the election count", story.

    I've had an extensive hunt in Google since the internet records probably go back a good ten years now but I can't find any stories either in the News section or in the Everything section about SNP supporters spitting on other candidates. And I'm pretty good at finding things in Google.

    Grahamski, Could you tell us which counts it happened at and the local papers who reported the rather nasty incidents since the stories don't appear to be held in a searchable form on the web?

  71. J. R. Tomlin said...
    "Barbarian, if you consider "Slobodan Salmond" or being compared to Mugabi 'justified criticism', I can only say that you and I define the word differently. As long as this level of discourse is considered the norm by the media and the Labour party, I repeat, no one is going to take their whines seriously."

    You really should read what I posted properly before having a bit of a rant. I pointed out that some of the unionist bile is just as bad as the nationalist stuff. Nor did I in any way justify the descriptions about Salmond. Don't dare accuse me of misinterpreting or supporting such descriptives about Salmond.

    By justified criticism I am referring to when, for example, the SG/SNP come out with a policy that raises valid questions. The policy may in general be supported, but with questions raised about certain points. Nope, not acceptable to a certain few. The very fact of even raising the question results in a withering response. I've personally been accused to date of being: Labourite, Tory, undercover BBC reporter, plus having my motives questionned - which frankly is not anyone else's bloody business. And you can guess where most of the bile was received.

    I'm a nationalist, albeit a very cynical one. That doesn't mean I need to agree blindly to everything the SNP or Salmond does. And I still think the more extremist bloggers - nationalist and unionist - are more problematic to the very cause they support.

    Unionist ones I don't give a damn about, but nationalists carry a greater potential for damage unless they learn to calm down a little and use a bit more constructive language. It's fairly easy to demolish your opponent without resorting to insults.

  72. Grahamski, how about the threatening behaviour I received from Labour councillors, for daring in a newspaper letter to describe them as "hypocrits".

    This was when Hairmyres, Wishaw and Monklands were all under threat of closure. Yet the then Labour/Lib Dem government said they couldnt do a thing. Our local Labour councillors did a nice photo shoot, to which I got a letter published - in my usual cynical and patronising manner.

    I had a councillor call me on my mobile threatening me with "further action". The short version is I retracted the word "hypocrit", only for a certain Mr McCann to publish a letter attacking ME! This after a promise nothing more would be said. I'm the bloody taxpayer, not him.

    I wrote a similar letter many years before that criticising an SNP politican, who responded in a more mature and constructive manner. One reason she got my vote.

    Labour politicians and party workers of the old school are far more abusive in my personal experience. And I've never, ever heard of any actions such as you described. I've even taken the time to check with someone who has worked at counts for years (and he's an out-and-out Labour supporter). He's never heard of anything like what you describe happen in the West of Scotland at least.

    But if you can provide proof of the incident, then I'll accept it.

  73. The wild and abusive SNP behaviour at counts is one of the hardy perennials that gets trotted out over and over again by Labour folks and I'm sure it's because they know it can neither be proved or disproved. So it is quite clever. Ian Davidson is one of the culprits who talks about dirty SNP tricks and all the rest of it. You would think Pollok SNP was a hotbed of nationalist bigots from his description. But here is the thing - the main player in Pollok SNP, the guy who has been candidate in Pollok time and time again, is married to a Labour councillor! Doesn't quite fit the script does it? I am sure his wife would have a little something to say if he or his supporters went about spitting or shouting abuse at Labour folks.

    It just doesn't happen.

  74. I too have been to dozens of counts since I was old enough to do so, in Wales (for Plaid) and the only unpleasantness I have witnessed was in the Referendum last March (more powers for Wales) - and that came from 'True Wales' who were against more powers, and were very upset when it became apparent they were losing badly. (2:1 in favour in the end).

    I too would like to know the date and the location of the alleged spitting, because in my experience, if you are doing your job properly as an over-seer, you don't have time or energy for childish nastiness.

  75. PS - Last Plaid Cymru Hustings tonight at the great Neath Rugby Club - Leanne Wood is going to win on the first ballot! Watch out Scotland when she does - we will be catching you up more rapidly than anyone (especially the Unionists) realise when that happens!

  76. For goodness sake! Could we have an intelligent debate around here without all the name calling?

    I have seen victorious Labourites being, err, victorious. And the same with the SNP.

    I have seen them both being bad losers.

    This is a part of being political. It is quite understandable that mud is flung in each direction. It is not reasonable for one side to claim superiority over the other.

    Grow up and stop whingeing!

  77. You may have seen people being victorious and otherwise but if you're another one of the cohort who claim its standard behaviour for folk to scream abuse and spit at their opponents at an election count you are another one promoting a myth. That is not part of politics, it's not understandable and it simply doesn't happen.

  78. Nation Shocked As Well-Known Trolls Vanish When Challenged To Support Their Trolling With Evidence.

    And now the weather: more trolling expected in future. Outlook extremely similar.

  79. Blair 'Anonymous' Liddell24 February 2012 at 17:35

    Rev Stu - hahaha! Nice conclusion to the, ahem... 'debate'. Disregard this , of course!

  80. Could somebody please interpret what indy said for me? Did he say anything at all? Epistemological analysis suggests he is just trolling.

  81. Blair 'Anonymous' Liddell24 February 2012 at 22:55

    You had to go and spoil it!!!!

  82. The interesting thing about this thread is how LPW set it up as "labour's problem with cybernets", only for the true nature of, at the very least, denial of the right of others to have a opinion, to show up in the comments.

    Maybe LPW could do his usual comments on revstu and other nat trolls?

    Interesting piece here on the subject by Ian Jack


  83. "denial of the right of others to have a opinion"

    Heavens, who could have foreseen - no answers to any questions, and another blatant lie thrown in for good measure. You're quite the star.

  84. Groundskeeper Willie27 February 2012 at 09:23

    On the subject of cybernats, remember Mike Russell denying knowledge of The Universality of Cheese blog, run by his constituency office manager?

    I reckon Russell was lying.

  85. Many thanks to the person who made this post, this was very informative for me. Please continue this awesome work!

  86. A very interesting and not uncoincidentally amusing article (as is usual here). All that is really important, and all that needs to be said, is how much support the SNP cause garnered at the last (and will garner at the next) Westminster election and how much support it will achieve in the coming referendum. Everything else is just froth, on both sides of the argument.

    I know how I am going to vote in the referendum if/when it happens. The task of the SNP is to persuade a sufficient number to support the policy it favours in the referendum - good luck with that! ;) (given recent performances by Sturgeon/Salmond).

  87. When BetterTogether/the UK Government fulminate about "cybernats" they're not of course worried about name-callers. They're worried about the websites which have grown up to publish the information and reports which the Government-controlled BBC and status-quo supporting traditional Press ignore or suppress or at best confine to the bottom of page 42. Stories like that of the McCrone Report or Denis Healey's recent comments. Stories about the recent oil discoveries of the west coast of Scotland. Since they can't control the internet, they seek to discredit or better still close down these sites.