Comment I left on Scotland Tonight’s Facebook page on abusive tweets to politicians:

  • I saw it and left two lengthy comments on this last night. All sides need to debate the meaning of this. Regardless of who wins the referendum we all need to live with each other, and we need to ensure that the debate doesn’t exacerbate tensions beyond what is tolerable. Everyone has a duty to stop this. I think the comments I left before going to bed addressed many key issues and I am going to repeat them. A lot of the tweets read out were heckling like at a political hustings or a stand up comedian’s act. Offenders can be blocked, which is the equivalent of having them escorted out of the building. Or placing headphones on for those who don’t like what they hear/read. A lot of this is humor and politicians and broadcasters need to take it in their stride. This is the voters demanding the democratization of broadcasting. Social media is like universal suffrage of communication. Sometimes it will be abused. This abuse is, however, to a very large extent, the majority of the voters/viewers finding their voice and resisting what they believe is abuse of them by broadcasters and politicians. We are giving you a taste of your own medicine. Society is in the process of working out civilized rules for dealing with this. The Scottish referendum could be a good test ground for many ideas on how to manage this, lessons that can be applied elsewhere. Would be interested in feedback, if anyone’s interested.

I left that comment on Scotland Tonight’s Facebook page:

There is something else I’d like to add to this. What do we make of the notorious ‘debate’ between Nicola Sturgeon and Johann Lamont? Scotland Tonight’s own inquest failed to face up to what went wrong, in my humble opinion. The attempt by The Herald’s political editor to downplay just how bad this so-called debate was missed almost all the key points. He is wrong on so many levels. The reality is what was broadcast live into our living rooms was such an insult to voters. It sets a tone that will inevitably throw up a lot of cyber abuse. These two senior politicians were willing carriers of a virus that will destroy civilized debate. If we let it, that it. Politicians can and do create the political climate. Anyone who is interested in safeguarding an informed debate on Scotland’s referendum has to condemn what happened here, not least both of the participants. Otherwise we will have months of ‘debate’ that settles nothing, just boosts the demand for aspirins, headphones, laryngitis sweets.

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