Does it matter that several SNP parliamentarians were today photographed smiling in front of placards calling for women to be murdered, mutilated and cannibalised? In one sense it shouldn't, because in most circumstances it would be obvious that any politician in a situation of that sort must have found themselves there by accident rather than design - and in any case, the arguments for or against the GRR Bill don't become any stronger or weaker depending on the character defects of those on either side of the debate.
One problem is, though, that many of the proponents of gender self-ID have repeatedly suggested in the past that the characteristics of campaigners should in fact be taken into account. For example, when there were competing protests outside the Scottish Parliament a couple of weeks ago, I saw people on Twitter drawing a contrast between the supposed anger and hatred displayed by anti-GRR campaigners, and the sight of pro-GRR campaigners bringing fun and sunshine to the occasion by doing the conga with huge grins on their faces. The implication was that the people on one side of the argument are likeable and 'normal' and the people on the other side are 'abnormal', and thus there must be a lesson to be learned about which side was in the right, and on the "right side of history". That was always a completely bogus narrative, because we all know it's extremely common for pro-self-ID protests to feature placards riddled with hate and calling for physical violence. But the fact that such a prominent example has occurred today is nevertheless a catastrophic setback for the self-ID campaign and the image it has tried to cultivate of itself.
And the fact that this is far from being the first time is why the SNP parliamentarians can't be given a free pass in saying that it was something they couldn't possibly have foreseen. Senior SNP politicians, most notably Nicola Sturgeon, are notorious for avoiding pro-independence rallies because of paranoia about being seen to be around campaigners dressed as William Wallace, or who might be carrying placards that could be interpreted as anti-English. It therefore must reasonably have occurred to them that if they attend pro-self-ID rallies, there's a risk that the behaviour on display will be very similar to previous rallies about the same subject. Which begs one simple and obvious question: "why didn't you at least turn around and check?"
The unwarranted suspicion that the politicians knew exactly what was going on behind them and were comfortable with it can be pretty easily explained by the blind eye they've turned to similar hate speech so many times before. They literally only seem to notice anger and hate when it comes from those they disapprove of, rather than from their own allies. They've never had any difficulty lecturing a generally very well disciplined Yes movement about the supposed need to "put its house in order", so it's arguably long past time for them to deploy some of the same tough love on a considerably less disciplined gender self-ID movement.
Not just yet, Dennis, I don't think you've quite answered the question about whether you approve of Tory rule in Scotland. Are you perhaps a little bashful about your true feelings? (We already know you support the imperial veto and oppose democratic Scottish self-government.)— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) January 21, 2023
I'm afraid you're barking up the wrong tree, Dennis, I've only just written a blogpost condemning the SNP politicians in the strongest terms. But my question to you was about whether you support Tory rule - not just the imperial veto. You seem reluctant to answer "no". Why?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) January 21, 2023
I don't blame you for muting me before I regrettably have to point out yet again that you are running in terror from a reasonable and logical question. You say that one of the two governments that rule Scotland is unfit for office. Do you feel differently about the other one?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) January 21, 2023
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