Sunday, 22 November 2009


According to Scotland on Sunday, not a phrase you’ll be used to reading in this blog, a Robert Gordon University lecturer is under investigation for using his blog to call the Secretary of State for Scotland a four letter word.

The lecturer is Wardog, one of my favourite blog authors, who has, as a result of the repercussions from the incident, decided to close his blog because of its effect on his career and family. It is now, as he pointed out in his last post, an ex blog.

It appears that he also accused Mr Murphy of pushing his way to the front in a photograph so that he could get his face on television. Now whether he actually pushed his way to the front or not, he certainly was just behind Mr Brown, which was a pretty good place for the most junior and unimportant cabinet minister of all.

The article gives Wardog’s full name, however I won’t do that here, nor will I link the SoS’s article. We knew him as Wardog and that’s fine for me and I won’t sully this blog with a link to that ‘paper’.

Murphy had also complained about what he called a “cybernat campaign” of disparaging comments about Labour’s win in the Glasgow North East by-election. I’ve read and indeed contributed to the discussions on this win, including mentioning the large number of postal votes and the fact that the number of votes for the Socialist Labour Party fell from around 4,050 to around 50, mindful of the fact that in the last election there was no “Labour” candidate, Martin standing only as The Speaker.

The rights and wrongs of these things in a democracy are surely fair game for discussion. Whilst Wardog’s choice of language would not be mine, I feel that he had every right to use it as he saw fit. After all, it’s what people are saying in one-to-one discussion, in pubs, shops, buses, wherever. In my opinion it is not in any way the same sort of thing as when Matthew Marr used the same word to describe Alex Salmond at the Herald’s Politician of the Year Awards two years ago. Marr was an employee of the Labour Party, specifically of the leader of the Labour Group in the Scottish Parliament, and as such had a certain responsibility to represent the party. Wardog is not a member of any party and was speaking for himself alone. That’s called freedom of speech.

We need to make sure that we get across the message that we do not want to live in a Scotland that in any way resembles the East Germany of 25 years ago. We must be free to say what we want, within reason, and that includes calling Cabinet Ministers by four letter words. Wardog was not asking us to rise to arms, he was not suggesting rebellion. He merely wrote his opinion of Jim Murphy. Brown may want us to have no freedoms in the United Kingdom. We must not let this happen in Scotland.

Wardog, I’ll miss your blog. It was intelligent and amusing. I hope that in the fullness of time you will return. Jim Murphy and the Labour Party will not have done themselves any good by this. Nor, I suspect will the dying Scotland on Sunday which has, needless to say, withheld the right to comment on this article. Bravo SoS!


  1. Well said. Do we live in a democracy or not? Murphy and friends are used to getting their own way and don't like it up them.

  2. Intemperate use of language? Indeed yes, and there is no point in using that word and not expecting a furore. It always happens; remember earlier this year when a certain citizen of Leith called David Maddox a, to use Lord Mandy’s expression a chump. That got in the paper too. You have to expect that when you hand your opponent a stick to hit you with that is what he will do. So unless you are prepared to take the consequences don’t do it.

    I agree with Tris it is only a vernacular word that is used in everyday speech all over the country.

    That said I am at a loss to understand how Robert Gordon University can exert influence on its employees in this way. Either in their use of language or in their political views. Does it also do that to its students? And if so do I want the SNP controlled Scottish Government funding a Labour tub-thumping institution?

  3. Hi Voter. Welcome to Munguin's Republic.

    Yeah, that's my point. Whether I agree with him or not, he has the right to say what he wants. It's a personal blog.

    We're heading for a world of the Stazi, and kids informing on their parents...

    Not the kind of Scotland that I want to live in.

  4. Fiar enough Munguin, but we need to be free to use that kind of language on a blog if we want to.

    As for the University, exactly!

    I don't see what it has to do with them what their lecturer's political opinions are, and if or if not he knows any four letter words.

    Its a university, not a primary school.

  5. Totally agree with your post tris. Outrageous behaviour on the part of the SOS paper, and by the sounds of it Robert Gordon's Uni. Freedom of speech is a fragile thing. I agree with Wardog's use of the language, and I doubt whether anyone reading this page would deny ever using it at some point. However, purely out of deference to you tris, I will not use it here. Do I have freedom of speech?

    Of course the word itself is a canard here, this is all about denying alternative political views a voice on the net. Which is what happens when a movement like Unionism runs out of coherent arguments. Let's focus.

    The SNP, for all that it now forms the Scottish Government, is still not an Establishment party. Being such a party brings the Labour Party much unseen power. Which they use.

  6. Sophia: Of course you have freedom of speech. For my part, I wouldn't censor a comment that made sense pretty much regardless of the vocabulary. You have freedom of choice to use or not use that language on here. You're so eloquent in any case you have no need of it.

    Frankly the only thing I would censor, I think is blatent racism, or daft swearing for the sake of it. You know, a list of swear words, with no particular rhyme or reason to them.

    My mum reads the blog and I respect her feelings when I write.

    As you say, it is a canard (there you go with the French again!). It's about a group of people who by and large have never had to deal with any form of press that is against their points of view. Now because the people have a voice, they are starting to get scared, and the natural refuge of this lot of second raters is to censor, reduce freedoms.

    We won't let them.

  7. Jim Murphy and the MSM should va te faire foutre if you'll pardon my French.
    Forcing a blog to close by pressuring a mans family and part time employer is both disgusting and immoral. Frredom of speech means freedom to offend, something that the state and their minions seem to forget all to often.

  8. Great Stuff Tris.. I agree with every word you have wrote and indeed a bad day for freedom of speech.

    Murphy is on his last legs like his Gov and he cant bare to see people stand in his way. His game is up and he knows it.

    Wardog was no doubt onto something and labour could not hack it. Now many bloggers will turn to being anonymous for fear of gov and pro Labour media interference.

  9. Bravo QM. Et je vois que vous parlez francais, vous aussi! Je suis tout a fait d'accord avec vous.

    But this freedom was hard fought for. We must not allow it to slip away. I respect what Wardog has done. His family and his job must come first. NO one would ever deny that, and they have won this round. They mustn't win the war though.

  10. Thanks Spook.

    You can bet that Wardog was right about something. That's what they fear most. The truth. Of course it's pretty alien to them.

  11. I wonder about that FOI.Should it be asked by someone else?
    Perhaps by a moral, upstanding character without a stain on his character.
    Which lets me out.

  12. Ah Conan, which one of us is moral and upstanding, and has no stains anywhere...?

    Frankly I doubt if you have to be any of these things to have a FOI request granted or refused. As long as your address isn't c/o HM prison... ;)

  13. Sorry tris, I never meant to suggest that you would censor me, but rather that we may sometimes constrain ourselves out of courtesy, or other reasons, rather than not being comfortable with the word ourselves. I am happy for you to set the tone on your own blog and defer to you for that. In the atmosphere which Murphy seems to wish upon us, it would be less than helpful to use language which would only give him an excuse. That is why I question my freedom.

    I like to think the genie is out of the bottle where the internet and free speech is concerned. As long as the lights stay on...

  14. Jeez Sophia, I'm sorry, I did misunderstand, but I never for a minute thought that you were having a go at me. I understand what you are saying.

    Thanks though for respecting the tone of the blog, although I certainly wouldn't want to stifle anyone by constraining their language.

    I suspect that it will be difficult for the lid to be put back on the bottle, but it won't be for the want of trying on the part of New Labour.

    Let's prepare ourselves for 6 months of dirty dirty play from this bunch. But let's not let it get us down.

  15. Excellent tris and it covers my thoughts.

    The only thing I would add is how surprised I am at the control a political party has over the press. I knew there was pressure on the press. Robbie Dunwoodie mentioned it some time ago that he was pressurised by the labour party about an article he wrote.

    Whoever started the ball rolling regarding Wardog will be most proud of themselves - it was possibly another blogger or blog reader. Shame on you I say.

  16. It is all such a strange and sudden incident. I havent even had the time to realise that the estimimable 'Wardog' is no longer. IHis absense will be a loss to the blogosphere.

    However, if one is in a lectorial position the phrase 'carefully does it' does spring to mind. I personally fail to accept that describing anyone with an expletive is justifiable with hyndisght.

    Alas this is all irrelevent now, it seems the New-Labour internet campaign has silenced one of their greatest critics. It is left to the rest of us to keep the pressure up on the failing and corrupt new-labour [or is it zanulabour?] regime...which in its current cabinet form was never EVER even elected!!!!!


  17. Subrosa:

    I'm amazed that this can happen in Scotland. I'm deeply sorry for Wardog and the trouble this has cost him and his family. As I've said to you before, I wouldn't have used the word he used on a blog, but that's not the important point. The point is, it seems to me, that in Scotland now, if you are rude about a junior cabinet minister, you can come under investigation by your employers, with whatever consequences.

    This recalls, in the week of the anniversary of the fall of the Wall, the regimes of Eastern Europe. That's not the Scotland I want to live in.

    I'm concerned about what the next step is. Will we all have to stand to attention when the secretary of state comes into the room? Will we have to sing the national anthem heartily?

    OK. I joke. But it's not that far away if you look at what has happened.

    How can we let the Labour party, which doesn't even form the government in Scotland have so much influence? And why does Wardog's employer, which isn't even funded by the London government, feel such an obligation to investigate the perfectly legal political aspirations of one of its employers?

  18. Scunnert:

    We must make sure that he does. Otherwise we have handed them control of the blogoshere as well as the media.

    I hope that, if he is behind this, Murphy pays with his career for this weekend's doings.

  19. Dean:

    I've said on several blogs, I don't personally particularly like the use of that word on a blog. I think Wardog was wrong to use it. But we live in a country where I had thought free speech was part of the fabric. He was free to do so, and we were free to read or not to read what he wrote.

    As I said above, what is the next thing? Is any criticism of the secretary of state forbidden? Will I find myslef on the dole if I criticise his attire, his lack of debating skills, his slavish devotion to Gordon Brown?

    Has the photogrpah I used been passed for use; it's not the most flattering, is it?

    If Wardog had been teaching in primary schools, I might have thought that his employers would want to be aware of the fact that he used the "chump" word online. But he lectures at university; most of his students will have heard if not used the word, and presumably know what it means. The university has no business interfering with its employees' political affiliations, or their choice of vocabulary.

    Your last point is one with which I fully agree. We all need to redouble our efforts, avoiding the use of the "C" word, to call this government to account, and make absolutely certain that the unelected Prime Minister is never elected.

    Particularly I'd like to see Murphy lose his seat at the next election.

  20. He hopefully will in my lot continue to get opur act together! If the euros were anything to go by we would have won in East Ren! [goodbye Mr Murphy]...but as you said over on my blog, what if we do get him out of Westminster only to find him..well..plopped right into Scottish Holyrood politics? Is that really what we want? More of Jimmy Murphy?!

    Archhhhh..the very thought burns my minds eye!

  21. Well Dean, I'm not sure what else Mr Murphy would do other than politics. He gave up his university degree to take part in politics as President of the National Union of Students and never went back to it. As a cabinet minister, albeit a very junior one, he has been used to a salary just in excess of £144,500. As he has never done anything except be in politics, it's unlikely that he would be able to find a post that paid that kind of money in private industry. I suspect his only hope if he lost East Renfrew, would be to stand in a safe Labour seat for the Scottish Parliament. Once there, as he has made no secret of being the boss of New Labour in Scotland, he could pretty quickly get rid of that wee plump man who does such a bad job. No one much seems to like him, and I'm sure the Labour group understand that he has to go.

    So, one day Mr Murphy, the man who is happy to sacrifice another man's career, just because he blogs a nasty word about him, could be the First Minister of our country.

    What a loathesome thought!

    Incidentally. He has a blog over at the Scottish Office website. No one ever comments on his posts. Interesting that!