Alert readers (ahem) of Wings Over Scotland may have noticed that in the vast majority of the countless blog/social media posts Stuart Campbell has used to rant about Scot Goes Pop over the last year, his main - and rather curious - complaint is that I am supposedly "dementedly obsessed" with him. It does beg the question of whether he genuinely thinks his audience is too thick to notice the colossal irony of that charge, because one thing I'm quite sure of is that he's not too thick to have noticed it himself. One of his stock tactics has been to demand answers to certain questions, and then when I do what he demands and provide the answers, he uses my reply as further evidence of my "demented obsession". On the most recent occasion he attempted that stunt, only a couple of weeks ago, I actually asked him for an assurance that if I gave him the reply he was angrily insisting upon, we could dispense with the increasingly tedious "demented obsession" repertoire, even if just this once. He gave that assurance. So I posted the reply he wanted, and as it happens I haven't blogged about him since (although needless to say I always reserve the right to blog about any subject at any time of my choosing).
But wait, what's this? Today brings word of the 34,289th post on Wings about the subject of the James Kelly "demented obsession", and it does read like someone who has lost his cool somewhat -
"the usual suspects stamping their feet and pouting about it yet again on social media, in particular the firmly-ensconced SNP MP Pete Wishart and the worryingly obsessed former poll-analysis website WINGS OVER SCOTLAND IS BAD AND TERRIBLE AND STUART CAMPBELL SOMETIMES DOES SWEARS SO NOBODY WOULD EVER VOTE FOR HIM! Goes Pop."
Blimey. Given that I haven't even been blogging about him, what could possibly have sent the poor Reverend into such a meltdown? As far as I can see, it appears to be a complaint about a mere two tweets I posted yesterday in relation to a newspaper report about him and his interminable on again-off again plans for a new Wings political party. Let me just gently reiterate a piece of advice I've given to Stuart in the past - if it really bothers you this much that people are commenting on you and your actions, you might not be ideally suited to a political career. Because if you do enter the political arena, you're going to regularly make the news (as you've just done), and people will comment on social media about those news stories. It really does go with the territory. If you can't even cope with two mildly critical tweets, it might be best that you reach that realisation now, because there'll be a lot, lot worse to come from people far more hostile than I am.
As for his belief that swearing is a national pastime in Scotland, and that anyone who doesn't think an abusive leader is an electoral asset must be living in the 18th Century, I can only repeat what I said in my reply two weeks ago. When Stuart imagines Scotland, he appears to imagine a pub full of working-class football supporters. That's not totally inaccurate, of course, but it's only part of Scotland, and it's not even the dominant part. A female friend spontaneously said to me afterwards "he's wrong, you know, extreme swearing would totally put me and a lot of other people off voting for a party like that". Personally, I've no doubt that's correct. Stuart disagrees, but if he puts it to the test he'll be in for a rude awakening.
"We’ve watched in bafflement as James Kelly in particular has interpreted this complete silence as a series of “U-turns” and “re-U-turns” so lengthy and contorted that we honestly have no idea what he even thinks our plans are now, despite the absolutely extraordinary amount of time he spends ranting about us."
Hmmm. What I've actually been doing, of course, is replying to his own crazy-paving utterances on his plans. Some of those utterances have been publicly posted in the comments section of this blog, so it's a bit pointless for him to pretend he's remained "silent" on the topic. But, hey, if you think your readership is that gullible, why wouldn't you try the Orwellian "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia" line? I doubt it's any coincidence that Stuart's favourite book is Ninety Eighty-Four.
Honestly, Stu - I've got the memo. You're trying to pathologise criticism of your budding political career because you know that the criticism is well-founded and has the potential to hit home. But if pathologising my own critique as "dementedly obsessed" was ever going to work, wouldn't I have given up in embarrassment by now? Do I come across as someone who'll be deterred from pointing out the dangers of a Wings party to the independence cause any time soon? Maybe it's time to try a new tack. In fact, here's a radical thought - you could actually engage with the criticisms, and debate like a normal, mature politician. You might just need the practice...