Sunday, 22 November 2009
WARDOG AND JIM MURPHY AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH
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!