Stuart Campbell is so repellent that midges swarm away at his approach.
Stuart Campbell, a gaming journalist, gained his following during the Scottish independence referendum. His blog, Wings Over Scotland, was hugely popular with the nationalists, and he has his own swarms of cybernats who pile onto the Unionist side and crowd fund him. Via his Wee Blue Book, he became the economic guru of many Yessers. The Noes had Kevin Hague of Chokkablog. Hague, a businessman and now Chair of These Islands , is a reasonable and civil chap, and presents graphs and stats on his blogs against the Yessers’ hopeful numbers. He has also shared a little of his past – a difficult up-bringing with several stepfathers and some mental illness. Campbell’s response:-
Campbell’s style is of unremitting insult and unfunny jibes. He made one about Oliver Mundell, a Conservative MSP, “Oliver Mundell is the sort of public speaker that makes you wish his dad had embraced his homosexuality sooner.” (Oliver Mundell’s father is the David Mundell, the Secretary of State for Scotland, who had come out as gay.)
This unamusing jeer was In the spirit of “Pull out, like your father should have,” directed at Richard Nixon during the Vietnam war protests. Not funny, not clever, very Campbell.
Kezia Dugdale, the former leader of Scottish Labour, and a gay woman, thought this was “homophobic” and wrote an article in the Daily Record saying so.
Now in the burnt over heather moorland of invective that characterises Scottish politics, one more blackened stalk would have been forgotten, however Campbell took exception to being called “homophobic” and sued her for defamation. The Sheriff ruled that although Campbell is not homophobic it was reasonable comment for Dugdale to find his tweet so. Colin Macfarlane, the director for Stonewall Scotland, who appeared at the defamation trial, thought the tweet homophobic as well, so it wasn’t a mad opinion of Dugdale’s
In the judgement at the trial Campbell comes out better in one way – he had offered financial support to someone whose troubles he had heard of; and worse in another – that he appears a hypocritical fool seeking damages for defamation when he is so unnecessarily abusive himself “I was hurt on every level you could name.” – the person who is so deliberately wounding to others. Or as the Sheriff put it:-
When it comes to valuation of Mr Campbell’s distress, I do not accept that he can hold others to a higher standard of respect than he is willing himself to adopt. He has chosen insult and condemnation as his style. He has received these in return. ….having entered the political arena with a quiver of poisoned arrows, to receive an arrow in return might be seen as no more than collateral damage, not an unjust wound. I do not accept that he can dismiss the feelings or reputations of his opponents cheaply, but receive a high valuation of his own.
Well that’s him telt!
Also – and this has Campbell’s many enemies chuckling:-
The pursuer has suffered no quantifiable financial or other loss as a result of the article. He has suffered no loss of social media following, or influence. The value of any loss would have been quantified at £100.
(Not the £25,000 Campbell sued for).
In the recent documentary series for BBC Scotland, Yes/No: Inside the Indyref, Campbell was interviewed and was quite unrepentant about his repulsiveness.
“Other peoples’ independence campaigns have waded knee deep in blood. All we did was occasionally call each other some names on Twitter.”
Understandable then that Nationalists find him harmful to their cause, supposedly so positive and joyous.
Stewart Kirkpatrick, Head of Digital at Yes Scotland, said:- ‘The cybernat thing definitely hurt us. Unequivocally people being abusive online did not help the Yes campaign.”
In which case I suppose Campbell and his acolytes’ vomit-speech should be encouraged.
Kezia Dugdale was a Labour leader for 2 years – the worst job in British politics, which she didn’t make a bad fist of, and which she left for personal reasons.
There were good Labour No campaigners during the indyref – Gordon Brown, Alistair Darling and Blair McDougall, who headed the Better Together campaign. However the constitutional issue has pushed Labour down from its decades of domination in Scotland. Unionists switch to Tory, Yes is the progressive cause and so the SNP picks up Labour voters, and the kind of person who supports Corbyn’s Labour supports the other indy party, the Greens. Meanwhile Corbyn has disgusted old Labour hands like Blair McDougall, who tweets angrily about the anti-semitism rife in the party.
It’s not a good political time here, with Brexit, another indyref always being threatened and Corbyn. We need some cheering up, and the Sheriff smacking Campbell has given us a fillip.
Nicola Sturgeon’s 50th announcement of an impending independence referendum was greeted with scepticism by Campbell.
The SNP isn’t doing itself much credit, what with Alex Salmond facing sexual assault and attempted rape charges, and an SNP MP, Nicola McGarry, admitting to embezzling £25,000 from independence groups.
She embezzled the largest amount from the Women for Independence group in her role as treasurer of the organisation, appropriating £21,000 for her own use.
McGarry transferred money raised through fundraising events into her personal bank accounts and failed to transfer charitable donations to Perth and Kinross food bank and to Positive Prison, Positive Future between 26 April 2013 and 30 November 2015.
She also used cheques drawn on the Women for Independence bank account to deposit money into her own account.
The members of these groups are likely to be not well off, and it’s their spare tenners and twenties that she was pocketing.
When Margaret Curran, a Labour MP, was canvassing in the constituency that McGarry won, she was being followed around and harassed by nationalists. Natalie McGarry called this being a “fair target for community justice”.