Sunday, July 30, 2017

The easily distracted

Angela Haggerty is well within her rights to use her Sunday Herald column to further exacerbate the feud between CommonSpace and Wings Over Scotland if that's what she wants, but in doing so she's made a number of dubious points - and one of them is downright reprehensible.  At the start of the piece, she recalls the immense political and personal damage done to Tommy Sheridan as a result of his legal action against the News of the World.  Later, she notes that Sheridan "took his ego with him" to court, and that Stuart Campbell of Wings is "displaying those same signs of hubris" in preparing a defamation action against Kezia Dugdale.  This appears to be a weasel word-ish (ie. conveniently deniable) way of implying that Stuart is the sort of person who would either commit perjury, or commit a wrongdoing of equivalent gravity, to win his case.  Angela has got no conceivable justification for that kind of nasty innuendo.  Doubtless if Stuart suffers the embarrassment of losing his case, she'll claim that was the risk she was referring to, but there's a world of difference between losing a court case after pursuing it in good faith, and ending up in prison after being ruled to have misled the court.

Angela also draws a rather heroic comparison between the action against Ms Dugdale, and the one against Green MSP Andy Wightman, who she notes would be forced into bankruptcy if he loses, which would automatically cost him his seat in parliament.  Again, this seems to be a way of implying that because one defamation case against a politician has troubling implications for democracy, the same must automatically be true of another defamation case against a politician.  In reality, the differences between the two cases are not hard to spot.  It seems unlikely that Kezia Dugdale would face ruin if she loses, given the more modest damages sought, and especially given that powerful and wealthy people presumably have her back.  It's also not the case that Ms Dugdale is being hounded by a person or organisation that has unlimited access to the law due to their fabulous wealth.  Indeed, one of the main criticisms of Stuart is that he isn't able to cover the costs himself and has had to run a fundraiser - something which anyone could theoretically do with the help of social media if they were persuasive enough.  So which is it?  Is it a good thing or a bad thing that the 'little guy' has the same access to the law as Andy Wightman's pursuers?  The reason Stuart's fundraiser has succeeded is that the backers perceive Ms Dugdale as the establishment figure who thinks she can act with impunity - very much the reverse of the Wightman scenario.

Angela warns Stuart that his posting history will be dragged up in court - for example his controversial views on the Hillsborough tragedy, and his alleged "transphobia" in comments about Chelsea Manning.  Well, that's as may be, but none of that will be directly relevant to the much narrower point being adjudicated upon.  Stuart is specifically claiming that Ms Dugdale defamed him by calling him homophobic.  Transphobia and homophobia are self-evidently not the same thing, and it's even harder to see how an opinion about the cause of a disaster in a football stadium twenty-eight years ago will constitute proof of prejudice against gay people.  It's perfectly possible to think Stuart is offensive while still accepting he is not homophobic.

The conclusion of the article contains the standard warning that this whole thing is just oh so terribly damaging to the independence movement.  Well, it's only a week ago that Angela said it was damaging to the independence movement that Cat Boyd was being criticised for pursuing her political objectives in her own chosen way (ie. by voting for an anti-indy party at the general election), so it seems pretty illogical that Angela now thinks savaging Stuart for doing his own thing is somehow helpful.  She thinks the court case will be a "distraction" for the movement, and yet in the notorious attack piece she ran on CommonSpace the other day, Wings (an astonishingly popular website read by hundreds of thousands of people in Scotland) was sneeringly dismissed as "nothing more than a man with a blog...[with] a bit of a strange cult following".

How much of a "distraction" could anything done by such a 'fringe' figure ever be?  Unless, of course, some people are determined to be "distracted" at great length in pursuance of their own agendas?

63 comments:

  1. "It's perfectly possible to think Stuart is offensive while still accepting he is not homophobic.'

    Yes.

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  2. Haggerty - another clickbait hack in the same vein as Boyd. You'd think after pretty much destroying Newsnet Scotland and Bateman Broadcasting she's shut her trap, but oh no, after all she's the important one, not the rest of us.

    The SH and National need to get a grip of themselves and actually employ some fucking sub-editors who don't live in WALES! Maybe then we could lose some of the clickbait sisterhood?

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    1. Stuart Campbell lives in Bath. ;o)

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    2. Excuse my ignorance but how did Haggerty ruin the sites you mention? I'm not trying to be obtuse, I'm just unaware. Did she write for them?

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    3. She's the site editor for both.

      Basically before she (and to be fair Maurice Smith) got involved there was an eclectic mix of people on podcasts.

      Now its all the Maurice Smith/Christopher Silver circle-jerk and the occasional guest who doesn't know any better & won't be back in a hurry as its all edited by Haggerty.

      To be fair they occasionally get someone interesting on but mainly its a groundhog day "radical" circle-jerk.

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    4. As far as I'm aware that's simply not true. Angela edits CommonSpace, not Newsnet.

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    5. She wasn't there when you did your podcast then? I only ask as AFAICT you'd be the odd one out.

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    6. I'm not quite sure what you're asking me. I've taken part in several Newsnet podcasts - Angela participated in some of them, and not in others. What you seem to be implying is that she's a menacing behind-the-scenes presence who pulls all the strings, and I can assure you that isn't the case.

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  3. I don't really want to be forced to choose between occasional arseholery and increasingly strident pulpitism (which is in itself a kind of arseholery). However since it seems to be only one side that's forcing the issue, it's only going to end one way.

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  4. Jealousy is a terrible thing. You can almost smell it.
    How dare Stu Campbell be successful, and very good, at what he does.

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    1. "Jealousy is a terrible thing. You can almost smell it.
      How dare Stu Campbell be successful, and very good, at what he does." Totally agree with this, no more needs to be written.

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  5. On her twatter feed she's complaining about people attacking her overnight when the newspaper wasn't even out.
    For the Social Media columnist she doesn't seem terribly bright as we could read the offending article online just after midnight. Was she drunk-tweeting again? Or just lying about people yet again to gain sympathy?

    She's also posted a video of her beloved plastic Irish soccer team praising their wonderful fans. So it seems she supports child killing terrorists, industrial scale child abuse and a mob who attack children at away grounds. What a lovely person she really is.

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  6. Is there a precedent for a lawsuit concerning this kind of remark - one which doesn't disparage anyone for their sexuality, but does rely on that sexuality to make an attack on someone else?

    Armchair lawyer incoming: it all seems a bit weak, so I'd expect Kezia's defence to go the "he has no good character to defend" route. I note that his detractors are having trouble coming up with actual homophobic stuff he's said, so we're seeing a lot of citations of his much more egregious comments regarding Chelsea Manning. I suppose that might work. I'd kind of like him to win in any case, just because of the utter hypocrisy of the outrage expressed by David Mundell, himself a clear homophobe who wanted schoolchildren to be told it was unacceptable to be gay.

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    1. Not sure it's got anything to do with good character but how one is perceived by the reasonable person. To be seen as homophobic is clearly to have a damaged reputation and if the accusation of being a homophobe is false then the accused has been defamed. KD is obviously trying to tarnish both Wings and the SNP through a fairly baseless charge. The damaged asked for are small. I would say he has a good chance. I can no longer find the Daily Record article and I would bet a few quids that KD will withdraw and apologise and then play the wounded gazelle for a few months.
      Watch this space...

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    2. Yes, I've been struggling to find the original Record piece. Maybe I've just been using the wrong search terms, but if it's been deleted, that would be interesting.

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    3. As far as I can ascertain that section of the column wasn't published online, only in print. Interestingly, while Dugdale usually puts her Record column on her blog, it appears that she chose not to on that one occasion.

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    4. It actually had nothing to do with sexuality. If I said: "It's a shame Mrs. Trump ever left Scotland since then Donald wouldn't have been born." would that be an insult to Scotland? Of course not, it would simply be a cheap shot at Donald Trump.

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    5. A very good point,obviously Trump would be the target.That a similar comparison has not occurred to AH or CS does make me wonder if this is just a personal vendetta.
      Having said that Haggerty has now turned her ire towards Mhairi Black.
      The offence in this case seems to be that Mhairi liked tweets that were making fun of AHs position

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    6. James, whether or not the DR has deleted the original article, I am 100% certain that the Rev. will have an archived copy. ;-)

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  7. The British nationalists will be loving this. Common Space supported by gobbledygook merchant Gerry Hassan. If they can't say something constructive they should STFU

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  8. And what did Stuart Campbell do when Angela Haggerty was under a sustained attack and sacked from the Sunday Herald? Oh yes, this.....

    https://wingsoverscotland.com/hullo-hullo-we-are-the-bully-boys/#more-81205

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  9. Again well said James,another Blog I read and this one both have a similar view although Rod does take a Rise out of them,my view can be gleamed from this from my memory of when I was 15,only half a century ago: I have said in the past around 50 or so years ago,to somebody and it was meant as humour and it was taken as humour,I said" Pity your dad was not gay" Why" he asked my reply was well he would never have had sex with your mother (I used words used by 15 year-old-boys back then as I was 15) and you'd not be here to annoy me.It was funny then and still is.
    I can only see the person offended was the one I was speaking to,but we traded insults like that daily and we never went into childish huffs or cried I'm offended by what you said,we laughed and were still friends.Bunch of big weans.

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    1. It was funny then and still is

      Yes, you're a regular Oscar Wilde.

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    2. And that shows my problem with Stu. His 'humour' tends to be crass and juvenile, the level that 15-year-olds descend to. That doesn't change the fact that he's a good journalist/editor. One does not preclude the other.

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    3. Well said JR.

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  10. All very suspect this kind of demonisation of Stuart. Yes he says some offensive things and we certainly would not agree on many things, but he seems to be a person with a decent level of honesty and integrity, and has, imo a good sense of the just and unjust.

    Those making their money by writing such divisive articles for the mass media seem to have a specific agenda. It is they who are damaging the cause of independence, and it is a disgrace. Seems someone wants to cause some huge rifts and divisions, rather than support and maintain the momentum of a peaceful, positive campaign for Scotland's independence. Perhaps the old but effective tactic of working from the inside to defeat your enemy, who knows, but this has been taken out of all proportion.

    While the UK tories and red tories attack our poor, sick, disabled and most vulnerable on a daily basis, Haggerty is demonising one civilian who works very hard to expose the britnat media's massive lies. Just what is her agenda, and that of C.Boyd I wonder, because to give ammunition to the britnats, with their unionist money, power and determination, must surely be the most damaging stance to take right now. It stinks to high heaven.
    Hetty



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    1. You nat sis do need reminded on occasion that it is the Yellow Tories that have been running Scotland for more than a decade and the poor on the streets is unprecedented. The rich get richer and the nat sis play the blame game while not implementing policies to alleviate the situation.

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    2. State of this.

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    3. I had this to say on the original 'Herald' post:

      "Angela,

      I appreciate that you are in some sort of moral 'huff'. I appreciate that we disagree fundamentally on whether what Campbell said was 'homophobic' or not.

      What I do not understand is how someone claiming to be in favour of Independence thought that this was the article that you really, really needed to write.

      Perhaps you should have taken the advice offered to you in the second comment here:

      "Not my circus, not my monkeys".

      But you did not.

      Did the thought ever occur to you that the person that needs to 'de-escalate' this situation is Kezia Dugdale?

      If that thought did not cross your mind, perhaps you ought to reconsider where power lies and who is using the media for their own purposes? Or, perhaps you already know that.

      You say:

      "If this proceeds, it will be a dirty, divisive distraction from the issues the Yes movement should be focusing on."

      Only if people give it the status of the Dreyfus Affair, which only you seem keen to do.

      Let the courts decide!"

      I used to like her, but it's all over now.

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    4. I doubt I'd want to go for a pint with Stu as beyond Indy I doubt we would have much in common,and on occasion some of his tweets are on the juvenile side,but when people start labeling him toxic and vile and damaging the movement I have to wonder at the motive.
      It does look like certain journos are treating him the way the Magic Circle treats Penn and Teller.
      They are raging at him educating people on the tricks of their trade.

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    5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    6. G,wc, as in toilet. Er I might not be a 'sis' at all, I am totally offended and might just take your slur of my person, and /or gender, to the papers! Boo hoo!

      I blame the S-npee for everything! They, bastrds, have had 10 yrs, to sort out the yoon loving, yoon controlled bonnie aye, wee stupid Scotland. Bastrds, how dare they, run down our country so badly in just 10 short,too wee, too stupid, too poor years. Argh, forgive us our sins, all hail the UKOK union! La li la la la...it's Sunday, la la la, land! Lol.

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  11. Wait, how long has London been in control of Scotland, 300 years you say, surely not! They would have made sure that the people were looked after and that all of the resources they were taking, equalling £trillions n trillions £s, lol, benefitted too wee, too stupid and poor Scotland, no? Ah, didn't think so.

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    1. Whit a wee knob ye are. It is those alive now and in control who legislate. Now go and dig some Irish tatties dafty person.

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    2. Stench of this.

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  12. Haggerty's problem was that she never really got over Stu's very public display of gutting himself over her antics re Claire Heuchan. Heuchan, if you recall, accused the Yes movement as being racist (why would the Better Together activist make such a lowly accusation?) and Haggerty being Haggerty, thought she'd be very clever and reach out, connect to, Heuchan - and Heuchan savaged her. Queue barely stifled laughter.

    Haggerty deserved being roundly laughed at at that time. When the lion-tamer turns his back on the lion and it bites his arse, rough Scots are bound to fall-about the place. A little levity from our own press - Wings over Scotland - brought some relief. I, too, gutted myself at the wretched and self-righteous Haggerty being made a mug of. I think Haggerty's ego could've coped with bog-standard insults - but being a laughing-stock? No.
    She stored it away and waited for her moment...

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  13. I don't understand why yessers aren't supporting Dugdale. She is the one in the right. Campbell gets paid three times more than her and that doesn't buy a right to make god-awful comments.

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    1. I and very many others disagree with you. Unless of course you're being sarcastic?

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    2. How do you know what SC gets paid or you just having a wee troll. Any hoo the judge will decide.

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    3. No one really knows what Campbell gets paid. But it seems fairly safe to surmise that it's less than four times the £53k that an MSP gets.

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  14. Excellent article. I was thinking of donating to their funder for new journalists. But not now. Some of their journalism is very poor. But publishing that asinine piece the other day on Common Space was the final straw.

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  15. "...on the right." Is perhaps what you meant! :D

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    1. That is a reply to anonymous of course...

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  16. The Bath resident said he wished a politician didn't exist and that he would not have existed had his dad embraced his homosexuality sooner.

    Whether its technically homophobic or not, it's a pretty piss poor comment. It's offensive in two ways. 1 - it plays the man and not the ball. 2 - it's an attack on an individual that also includes their family. It's a cowardly way of causing maximum hurt and anger that primary school age kids learn pretty quickly. Most abandon it when they develop a conscience and sense of honour.

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    1. How do you explain the very similar jokes that are told on mainstream TV comedy panel shows, then?

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    2. Citation needed.

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    3. So is wings a serious publication or a comic who makes not very funny jokes out of peoples' personal problems? You can't really be both.

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    4. Of course you can be both. A serious publication is a serious publication, and a flippant tweet is a flippant tweet. The only thing the two have in common is the author.

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    5. No, actually, you can't. If you want people to take you seriously as a journalist and political commentator you can't make such vile comments about people. If you do, people will begin to dismiss anything else you say as the rantings of someone who is spiteful and biased.

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    6. I don't think Stuart is claiming to be 'unbiased'.

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    7. "2 - it's an attack on an individual that also includes their family"

      Which would indeed be unfair if the family member in question were not in the "game" himself, and a legitimate target of criticism in his own right.

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    8. I'm curious. Does the same rule apply to making jokes about Trump?

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  17. Isn't homophobia, in part, something that is identified subjectively i.e. in the eye of the beholder? You can't litigate something that is a matter of opinion. No one can take me to court because I think roses smell nice or that Mrs Smith next door is hot. An insult that makes use of homosexuality may well appear homophobic to a woman who is, herself, gay.

    If I was the judge I'd probably throw it out and tell the wings guy to grow up.

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    1. As I understand the legal position, pretty much everything you've said there is incorrect.

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    2. Hopefully, if Wings does win his case on a very narrow point of law, then the judge will award damages of 1 pound - as a way of saying 'you are technically correct, but you are also a total prat'.

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    3. Why, for heaven's sake? Damage to reputation is scarcely a technicality.

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    4. He's damaged his own reputation with his comments, surely?

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    5. In this day and age, a false accusation of homophobia is damaging, almost irrespective of any other consideration.

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    6. He damaged himself with his original comments, however, and is causing further damage by drawing attention to them.

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  18. Great to see you nat sis are arguing over an irrelevance... And no mention of our ancestors who fought the Kaiser and Adolf nor Passchendaele. The people who fought for Scotland forgotten by the Joke Nat sis.

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