Gareth Wardell can be an anti-Semite so long as the definition of antisemitism is suitably adapted to fit the accusation against him. Stu Campbell can be a homophobe so long as the definition of homophobia is tailored to fit a description of his attitudes and opinions. Anyone can be a woman so long as people who menstruate are reduced to a physical function of their bodies. Her behaviour betrays her. Nothing of this is about antisemitism, homophobia, or transphobia. Her linguistic gymnastics have utterly devalued real antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia.
Who exactly gives Mark Zuckerberg the right to say what we can and cannot express online? Sure, clear cases of hate speech and incitement to violence should – by law – be removed and offenders brought to book, but we already have laws for that. It’s upsetting that Facebook can remove content it arbitrarily finds unpleasant or distasteful. But it is a private company; it’s Facebook’s platform and Facebook’s rules. But what’s really concerning – even worrying – is that governments appear to have a say in what and what can’t be shared on the site.
Haggerty’s answer to this, rather than simply facing up to the criticism, has been two-pronged; going full Brezhnev she has at once closed down the comments and invited readers to sign up to CommonSocial – yet another McRobin franchise; a fenced-in alternative to Facebook where all dissent can be (ahem) dealt with – or go proper old school and write a letter to the editor. Either way it amounts to the same thing, CommonSpace will control all discussion on its content.
Soft criminalisation is a very effective political weapon in the hands of any state establishment, and has been used countless times against people and organisations which have become too great a threat to the status quo.
It hasn’t been an easy week for independentista bloggers in Scotland, and it most certainly hasn’t been easy for our readers. I have been as much a part of that difficulty as anyone else and for that I am deeply sorry.
If Common Space wants to go gunning for Wings – especially on the back of such a flimsy and obviously politically motivated accusation – then its producers have to know they are instigating a serious and probably catastrophic split in the entire movement.
Weaponising the accusation of homophobia against Campbell – another example of throwing mud and hoping some will stick – is nothing but a cynical attempt to discredit him and thereby his work and that for which he and others are working.
Why would a Scottish recession excite the British media and why were so many Scottish unionists itching for news that we had gone into recession? We don’t really have to answer those questions. The answers are quite obvious.