Thursday, 30 April 2015

This campaign of hatred must be turned off

As many of you will be aware I’ve been getting quite a lot of stick recently. It all started a couple of weeks ago. Firstly I said in a tweet something on the lines that I was one the more prominent Scottish bloggers. This is obviously true. I’m not as well-known as Wings and naturally people who only read Wings haven’t heard of me, but on our side I am one of the more prominent bloggers. I may not have as many readers as Wings does, but I get thousands every week, sometimes thousands every day. For their own peculiar reasons however the Nats went ballistic.

Secondly a Labour MP kindly tweeted one of my blogs where I argue that the UK is one nation and it’s indivisible. I made some comparisons with the USA and argued that the UK like that country was becoming a nation of immigrants and that this was a good thing. I made the point however, that any country requires those who choose to come to it to have a degree of loyalty and that I was always disappointed to find people, who would not like their own country to be broken up, to come here and try to break up mine.  This was twisted by my opponents who accused me of some sort of racism, when in fact there is not one racist sentence in my article. This once more set off a storm.

Finally I wrote an article that questioned the SNP’s assumptions and put forward a plan by which they could be contained. Everything I wrote was reasoned, logical and legal. But from that day a mass wave of attacks began.

It’s no good trying to relativise what is happening. Firstly it is a poor moral argument. Something is not less wrong because something else is wrong too. Secondly explaining to, for example, a rape victim that others have been raped too is not exactly sympathetic. Would you do that? I condemn all abuse and urge everyone to campaign politely and by using reason. I find it hard to believe that in the place where I was born and grew up such abuse occurs. I find it hard to believe that so many Scots are intending to vote for a party supported by people such as these. I don’t know where the responsibility lies. But this is clearly organised.  Here are some examples, with brief commentary. Judge for yourself!

This person is admitting to theft, but wants a refund. In fact he hasn’t read any of my books. He is simply criticising me because my politics differ to his. Would you want your children taught by someone who admits to being a thief? Of course he may just be joking. I’ve never met him. I have no idea why he is so offended by me. 

I have studied to post-doctoral level. I speak a number of foreign languages and can read a number of alphabets. Yet because I disagree with this person I am mentally subnormal. 

These people think I am either someone who has rabies or someone who indulges in glue sniffing. I would suggest that their tweets make them look rather worse than me. My arguments are abuse but their insults are not. This is odd logic.

This journalist thought it was funny to make a joke about me being a sock puppet to his cybernat friends. Odd that someone who is not prominent is mentioned by such a well-known journalist. 

Shortly afterwards I received this sort of abuse, that is similar in level and tone to that received by Ruth Davidson. The joke of the journalist obviously led to the tweet from his colleague.

For criticising the assumptions of this nationalist I am told to go first to England and secondly told that I a racist. There’s a contradiction here somewhere.

This nationalist thinks it’s fun to use mental health as a way to abuse people he doesn’t know. Many people in Scotland suffer from depression or other forms of mental illness. He doesn’t know if I do. But he and we’ll find others are happy to use mental illness as a way of abusing and insulting. This sort of abuse is such that it could cause mental illness. I’ve faced much worse in my life, but everyone has a breaking point. The abusers must realise that there is a person who they are attacking who may be damaged. It would be their responsibility. 

This nationalist likes to change my first name into a common swear word.

Despite having nothing against English people, many nationalists are desperate to find out if I am English. It seems anyone who criticises the SNP by definition must be English. Alternatively we must be mass murderers.

More insults about mental illness.

A common form of argument among nationalists is to make an assertion accompanied with a swear word. This is known in philosophy as the argument from the expletive.

This nationalist thinks that any criticism of the SNP is a criticism of Scotland and the Scots. She thinks I’m an enemy of the people. If Scotland became independent no doubt that’s just what I would be.

This nationalist is offensive in so many ways it is hard to count them.

More variations on the theme that I am insane.

This nationalist thinks I’m a crazed drug addict.

We’re back to the theme of mental illness. Anyone who disagrees with this nationalist is obviously insane.

This nationalist doesn’t think the abuse is orchestrated but that I did come onto their radar. There’s a contradiction here somewhere.

This nationalist wants to send some sort of threatening message from his friend. He apparently thinks there’s a problem with my grammar. I would call him a pot but I'm not sure he would get the reference.

This nationalist thinks that anyone who does not associate with nationalists is clearly a fascist and a lunatic.

Whenever a nationalist disagrees with me he immediately accuses me of being thick and my husband of not being a Scotsman. Sometimes I’m told that I’m not a Scotswoman.

This nationalist who appears unable to spell the word teacher claims to be educated, but his disagreement with me is not about literature it’s about politics. People like him think it is funny to leave negative reviews about my books just because they disagree with me. People who have actually read my books rather like them. This includes people rather more qualified than this teacher. 

This nationalist claims not to be abusing me while swearing at me.

This nationalist like so many others thinks I should leave. They’re friendly these civic nationalists, don’t you think?

This nationalist wants to proclaim that he is not a troll because he was swearing at me rather than someone else.

Here we have another nationalist desperate to prove that I am English. I wonder why.

This nationalist is quite original in in his insults. What does vinegar veined mean?

This nationalist does not appear to be able to ascertain that it was I that wrote this steaming pile of etc.

These nationalists think because I disagree with them I hate Scotland, that I am English and finally that I need re-educating. All the while they maintain their love of England. Yet it seems English is their worst insult. In fact lots of Scots support the UK. The majority of us voted No remember.

This nationalist thinks that because I criticise nationalism I am as bad as a prominent national socialist. 

This nationalist thinks I’m a witch. Perhaps he favours witch trials too. Again he criticises my books. How would he feel if I criticised his job because I disliked his politics?

This nationalist objects quite violently to the word prominent. But if I am so unknown how is that these people all fling abuse at me. There’s a contradiction here somewhere.

This nationalist again accuses me of the worst possible of crimes that of being English.

This nationalist may be more polite than the others but appears to  want a one party state. I lived in a one party state. I actually feel more offended by this one than all the others. Moreover, I begin to feel that I’m living in one again. 

This is what happens when you write articles criticising the SNP in modern Scotland. Waves and waves of nationalists attack in the vilest possible way. This is just a small sample. One evening I found hundreds of tweets from nationalists all saying exactly the same thing. They had filled up my timeline with their spam. It prevented me from campaigning. This is really an attack on democracy. To these people it is simply impermissible to criticise the SNP, but it is especially impermissible to do it well using argument.  These people think there is nothing worse than to do that. I am always as polite as it is possible to be on twitter. I write articles that are reasoned, that contain no foul language, that are praised by academics. I am followed by people I respect, journalists, politicians, academics. Some of these really are prominent well known people. Yet in Scotland even to dare to criticise the SNP is a dangerous thing. I have been subjected to abuse that could drive a weaker person than me to despair or worse. It is clearly orchestrated. It is turn on and turn-offable. Who controls the switch? This is a national disgrace and must stop. It shames Scotland. 

If you like my writing, you can find my books Scarlet on the Horizon, An Indyref Romance and Lily of St Leonards on Amazon. Please follow the links on the side. Thanks. I appreciate your support.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I fear that the parallel is with the treatment of pro-unionists (mostly, but not entirely, Protestant) in Ireland in the 1920s. If independence comes those who fail to subscribe to the new regime are likely to find life difficult, For example government jobs and contracts may be in very short supply for them. This was one of the main reasons for the flight of so many people to Northern Ireland and England between 1922-1939, at great economic cost to Eire. So many of her educated middle class decided that they had no wish to live in a small minded, introverted and often politically extreme country that they had no choice but to emigrate.

    The same will happen in an independent Scotland and Dr Johnson's comments about the finest sight a Scotsman can see being the high road to England will very probably once again become a genuine truism.

    I don't normally comment on sites like this, but it is clear that you are doing a very good job by challenging the 'true believers', who in their naivety and emotion think that independence will immediately turn Scotland into a new nirvana, rather than the economically and socially failing parochial backwater that will really emerge.

    Well done Effie, keep putting forward your very sensible and balanced views to oppose the intellectual vacuity of the SNP and its supporters. Faced with common sense 'they don't like it up 'em' and it shows in the dreadful tweets quoted above. I fear these very unpleasant people are damaging the global image of the kindly, sensible and prudent Scot.

    And before the cybernats weigh in to denounce me, I am Scots and served in a Scottish regiment. I wonder what they have ever done for their country, but discredit it?

  3. The silent majority will out these eejits who are ONLY the wee minority yelps. They are an affrontment to TRUE Scottish people, simple as O.o . They need to get a job then they won't have as much time to TROLL "Social Networks" Of course you can report them to the police and they WILL find themselves before a Judge. The law is coming down hard on this type of carry on now and many are now appearing in courts everywhere.

  4. Effie, I've only recently discovered your blog, but well done on some well-reasoned arguments opposing the one-party state that Scotland is becoming.

  5. Thanks for the support everyone. It means a great deal

  6. Keep up the good work Effie. Don't let the trolls grind you down.

  7. Well said Effie keep plugging away and ignore the lunatics. I see one of the morons is the same person who insulted a 92 year old on twitter then withdrew the tweet.

  8. Don't worry. There will be more blogs this weekend. We just need to keep trying to get the message across

  9. Hi Effie,

    I think one or two of the tweets above were good-natured jokes rather than abuse, but that in no way excuses the others. Like you, I try to be polite in all my online interactions and think the kind of abuse you've received is wrong, unnecessary and counterproductive.

    I wish those on my side of the debate who use it would stop.

    My own good temper is occasionally tested by some on your side though. Specifically I note in a comment above by Gordon 1977 the reference to 'true believers'. I've also read many tweets and some blog posts recently describing SNP supporters as brainwashed or victims of a cult.

    In the same way as I respect your opinions and your right to think about the debate and come to your own conclusions, those who favour the Union should accept that supporters of independence and/or the SNP can and do also think for themselves. To imply otherwise simply adds heat to the debate rather than light.

    1. Thanks Garve. Very kind of you to reply. I too regret that many on my side use abuse. We've all at times said something that we regret. I think it's fine to use humour, it's fine even to mock. What's not fine is the degree and extent of abuse that sometimes takes place.

      I have as you know wacky ideas. That's my training. I try to think and follow the logic to the end. This sometimes leaves me out on a limb with unusual positions, but it makes for interesting blogs.

      If we all just campaign with a bit more respect we are going to have a better Scotland no matter how the constitutional situation plays out.

      You have always been a credit to your side. More power to you.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. I block and delete anyone who calls me a Brit Nat. How dare you come to this particular blog with the message get over yourself. Just more abuse

    2. Effie, I'm slightly sorry you deleted Mr. Twothreefiveone's obnoxious message as I was just finishing a rebuttal. I wondered if you were leaving his comment here as a perfect example of the kind of abuse you've been getting, with the added ironic cherry on the cake that he was accusing you of having a lack of empathy!

      I do find the 'Brit Nat' term of abuse mildly interesing...I've never really understood it. Is calling someone a Nat of some kind now an insult? A very strange line of argument from supporters of the Scot Nat Party.

      Anyway, I just want to say that whilst I agree with a lot of what you say, it's more important the way you say it. I've seen you many times respectfully thank opposing ideas for being thoughtful and good-natured. I've never seen you stoop to anything like the abuse you've received above. As such, any criticism of you should be equally respectfully given.

      People who don't get this do not deserve to be debated with.

    3. My apologies Martin. I'll leave the rest of his comments. But why would someone come on a blog pointing out abuse and start abusing still further. Very odd

  11. How dare I? I'm delighted to ridicule your hypocritical, anti-democratic denomization and propaganda, even if you are the only one who see's it. Who do you think you are? You tar everyone who disagrees with your polemic as a Nat, yet can't see your own hypocrisy. Carry on deleting and censoring, and running from any debate and criticism. Just shows how pathetic, desperate and feeble your blinkered rhetoric is. The only people agreeing with you are right wing unionists and conservatives, desperately railing against the first true taste of democracy Scotland has seen in our lifetime. Out with the old, in with the new. You are the epitome of a BritNat. Scared, desperate and completely out of touch with real people of this country.

    1. Mr. towthrefiveone, before Effie deletes your utterly fallacious comment I'd like to point out that as a democratic socialist I agree with Effie far more than you, and I'm not the only one. The Socialist Equality Party ( came out against independence, and they're hardly right wing unionists and conservatives.

      The rest of your insults only prove Effie's point even more.

    2. towthrefiveone You are the product of SNP politics and nationalism.

      It truly is the measles of man kind, yet you cannot see how it impacting.

      There is an old say: If only you could see yourself as other see you!

      Democracy is not something I would associate with the SNP. I would call it a cult and fascist organisation.

  12. Any comment re the fake reviews for your "novels" on Amazon? No?

  13. Effie, while I do not condone any of the comments in your article, if those are the best/worst examples of you being abused by those horrid cybrtnats, then your abuse threshold is very low.
    If you choose to express opinions in a public forum you will always lay yourself open to those disagree (but in 140 characters the tone/irony is often lost)
    With kind regards and looking forward to May 8 when Alex Salmond is your MP.

    1. Colin,

      Why should we all have a high abuse threshold? Is that really a sign of a good, civilized society?

      If others want to complain about abuse whilst being repeated instigators of abuse (I'm looking at you, Mr. Campbell of Bath), then yes we might say at best they can hardly complain, at worst they're a hypocrite. But in this case Effie has never abused anyone, so common decency is to argue respectfully with her if you don't agree. Or ignore her, if you don't want to argue.

      I feel it sad that you're implying that a consequence of expressing an opinion is that you should expect abuse. What a poor world we will live in if this is allowed to become the standard.

  14. Hi Effie,

    Interesting to see how these Cyber Nats respond to any kind of argument against their position with abuse. It matches what studies show about SNP supporters: they are far more likely to feel that criticism of the SNP is "like a personal insult" than the supporters of any other British party. See here, for example :

  15. Oh dear Garve, I am really sorry to have hurt your feelings and make you start to feel angry, which was certainly not my intention. I just didn't appreciate that some people are so thin skinned and sensitive that describing them as 'true believers' now counted as personal abuse. So describing a devout Christian or Moslem as a true believer (in the sense that they are passionate devotees of their religion) is also abusive in your view? It can't just be a statement of fact? You seem to be taking this passing comment very personally, given that I was unaware of your existence when I wrote it. It is hardly worthwhile getting angry over such a minor point, so why allow yourself to display such a latent aggressive streak? Or are you simply looking for an excuse to be provoked? I am genuinely curious.

    To my mind a true believer is someone whose devotion to their ideology or religion makes them virtually impervious to rational counter-argument. They accept positive messages uncritically and discount negative ones, no matter how well argued, factual or rational those may be. We saw this during the referendum debate, with hyper emotional feelings overcoming any clear and rational analysis. I worked as an analyst for a foreign commercial organisation advising companies about the practical implications of a Yes vote and it was absolutely clear from our political interviews that Scotland would be seriously damaged in the subsequent negotiations. Yet the SNP leadership made a series of highly questionable pronouncements that were treated by SNP true believers as written on tablets of stone and handed down by the Almighty. They simply would not believe that the Scottish negotiating team might fail in its objectives, despite clear warnings.

    I fear the real consequences would have been dismay, disillusionment and a growing Anglo-Scots enmity, with most of the ill-feeling emanating from north of the border. That is why I feel it is acceptable to label passionate SNP devotees as true believers, just as you will meet Conservative true believers in the City of London who cannot bring themselves to believe that left wing parties have ever done anything good.

    The Twitter entries above make clear that some SNP true believers are aggressive and uncritical. They appear to despise Effie for politely disagreeing with them and abuse her in vile terms. I condemn them, just as I would condemn pro-Union bloggers who used such blatantly abusive language and I am glad to see that you do too, Garve.

  16. "They’re friendly these civic nationalists, don’t you think?"

    There's a tangible undercurrent of hate running through the debate on both sides and some are worse affected by it than others. It is not unreasonable, and is in no way intended as a complement, to suggest one side is better organised than the other. It was I suppose always there (a latent division based on an arbitrary border and historical events), but the SNP chose to wake the genie and use it as a vehicle to further their political agenda. The haters are scarred by it and there will be no healing any time soon. Should there be independence, I doubt it will bring any 'closure' to either side. This blog and others do demonstrate that through strength and integrity there is an alternative path through this.

  17. I have arrived somewhat late to this blog so I expect the effect of my input will be somewhat diminished. It is unfortunate that Effie has attracted such opprobrium; arguments are seldom won by hurling abuse. However, and there is a however, the article which suggested that Scotland is not a country because, if Scotland was a country it would be independent and, as Scotland is not independent it is clearly not a country, is, at best, fatuous, not because definition of what constitutes a country is false, though it can easily be demonstrated to be false but, instead, it has to be appreciated that no country, not even an geographically and politically isolated one, can be completely independent of the commercial and cultural links and influences of other nations. Scotland as a country, or not, cannot be, and probably does not desire to be, completely independent of other countries and their communities. But the people of Scotland probably have the right to decide for themselves what level of independence they think is appropriate. Conducting a rational debate on this would be interesting and, hopefully, would attract less opprobrium.

    1. The people of Scotland have already decided that question approximately 55% said they would rather remain part of the union.

  18. It is Twitter and you are expressin a very unbalanced view. Of course you will get abuse. A dog lover on Twitter will get similar abuse from cat lovers. And as a Independence supporter (not a nationalist) I get the same amount of abuse from Unionists.

    Its called Twitter. You simply need to learn how it works.

  19. You know as an intelligent individual Effie i figure you know how how twitter works, abuse is abuse and trying to justify it is as good as condoning it . You only got to look at the baying mob of thugs and morons tonight like Piers Doughty Brown to see what sort of genie has been let out of the bottle by all this.

  20. These people are scum Effie and are ironically one of the more effective weapons we have against independence. Peoples' eyes glaze over when you bang on about economic stats, but they tend to recoil when confronted with the jockboots and related jockboot activities such as criminal damage, assault, intimidation and bullying (online and offline). Let them do for themselves.

    And to the guy who revels in Alex Salmond now being your MP - how does it feel having David Cameron as your Prime Minister? Hopefully the benefit cuts impact as painfully as possible on the jockboots.