The media has helped to create a Scottish Labour monster


  By G.A.Ponsonby
So a Scottish Labour candidate for Westminster has been forced to resign just one day after being selected to stand for her party. 

Kathy Wiles, who would have been bidding to become Labour MP for Angus, posted an image of German youngsters gathered under a Nazi banner.

  By G.A.Ponsonby
So a Scottish Labour candidate for Westminster has been forced to resign just one day after being selected to stand for her party. 

Kathy Wiles, who would have been bidding to become Labour MP for Angus, posted an image of German youngsters gathered under a Nazi banner.

The tweet was one of many from Labour party activists who were reacting to a peaceful protest by Yes supporters that took place in Glasgow on Sunday.  In pictures and videos posted of the event there was one of five Scots youngsters standing beneath a banner depicting a well-known website.

It led to some quite unsavoury comments from the anti-independence online Labour activists.  Wiles, caught up in the online goading of a pro-independence website loathed by Unionists, posted the offending image.

The intention was clear, to suggest the youngsters at the pro-Yes event were being indoctrinated in a similar manner to that which led to the creation of the Hitler Youth movement in Nazi Germany.  The tweet was deleted by Wiles, but not before being captured and re-posted by Yes supporters, angry at yet another attempt by Unionists to demonise the Yes movement.

Within hours both Wings Over Scotland and then Newsnet Scotland were running the story on their respective sites – social media was abuzz.  Incredibly, there was nothing on any of the main stream media online sites.

The Herald online compounded its editorial cock-eyedness by headlining an article that same evening in which comedian Rory Bremner apparently complained about “sinister, unpleasant intimidation of pro-UK supporters.”

The following morning the BBC, STV, Scotsman and Herald had nothing on the story which was all the more remarkable given that Labour had already announced Wiles was their candidate in Angus.

The episode was a perfect illustration of the rotten state of not just Scottish Labour but the equally rotten state of Scotland’s media.  The media’s refusal to report on the initial offensive tweet is not a one off, it is a pattern.  That they subsequently had to play catchup when Wiles resigned serves only to highlight their initial failure.

Scottish Labour is dysfunctional, it is out of control and dragging politics through the mud, but nobody wants to scold this spoilt and increasingly bitter child.

Wiles is a victim of a poisonous descent by Scottish Labour into a hate-filled void that has created a culture in which it is deemed acceptable for officials to label their opponents using the vilest terms imaginable.  It has led to a string of claims by leading politicians in which Yes supporters and/or the SNP are described as, or compared with, Nazism and dictatorships.

The thread of posts which saw Wiles post the Nazi image contained several well-known and high profile Scottish Labour activists.  One of these was John Ruddy, the chair of the Angus Labour Party that selected Wiles.  That Wiles felt comfortable posting the image of Hitler Youth in a clear attempt to smear a young family, despite the presence of a senior Scottish Labour official in the same thread, is telling.

Wiles resigned yesterday around mid-day, after publicly apologising. 

A party spokesman told the BBC: “We believe that Kathy Wiles has taken the right decision to withdraw in Angus and we will move swiftly to get another candidate in place.

“The debate about Scotland’s future should be held in a respectful and positive way and we will take robust and immediate action if any of our members fall below these standards.”

But why did she step down, she isn’t after all the only Labour figure to compare the SNP or the Yes campaign with Nazism?

Wiles stepped down because the story had circumvented the traditional media wall-of-silence and was being reported by online sites and other social media.

Citizen journalism was doing the job the professionals had singularly refused to do – they were policing the political arena.  Indeed one of the ironies of the current coverage of Scottish politics is that at the same time the main stream media is turning a blind eye to the professional politicians of the Labour party, ordinary people are being targeted and demonised by them.

And it’s this failure to police the Scottish Labour party that has left Johann Lamont’s party the soulless and morality-free entity we see now.

Some people have already asked why, if Kathy Wiles was deemed by the party to have “fallen below acceptable standards”, other more senior Labour party officials have not faced similar criticism and calls to step down?

It was only a matter of weeks ago that Labour MP, and Better Together leader, Alistair Darling signalled his agreement when asked if the SNP espoused the same ideology as the Nazi party.  “At heart” he replied when asked if Alex Salmond’s party was based on “blood and soil nationalism”, a phrase associated with Nazism.

Labour MP and deputy leader of Scottish Labour Anas Sarwar, once infamously claimed the SNP Government was “a dictatorship”.

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont has herself claimed that Alex Salmond was running Scotland “like North Korea”.

There are numerous similar examples of Labour party figures comparing the SNP and independence supporters with Nazism, Fascism and other extremist movements. 

Indeed it’s now so commonplace for such language to be used that it no longer shocks, Wiles was doing what senior party figures had already done.  It isn’t just accepted, it is expected.

The media are not just allowing this narrative of demonising Yes supporters to grow, they are themselves promoting it by pushing the lie that all online abuse comes from Yes supporters.  Some go further by actively claiming racism is at the heart of the independence movement and wider elements of Scottish culture.

This weekend a Herald journalist, speaking on BBC Radio Scotland, claimed anyone celebrating Bannockburn was only doing so because thousands of English men died in a ditch.

BBC reporter Douglas Fraser also once compared the SNP to a North Korean dictatorship and Jeremy Paxman infamously compared Alex Salmond to Robert Mugabe.

The media has helped to create this monster and people like Wiles see nothing wrong in portraying their political opponents as intollerant out of control racists, bent on brainwashing youngsters.

But where does this end?  Do we really need to wait for the day a Unionist assaults the ‘racist Nazi’ who was wearing the Yes badge before someone realises Labour has gone too far?

Someone really needs to confront Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont and perhaps even the heads of the Better Together campaign and demand an end to the ritual demonisation of anyone who dares suggest the Union isn’t the best thing ever invented.

It’s time to drop the cybernat nonsense and address a very real problem.