If Roseanna Cunningham can’t apologise to 83 year old subjected to cybernat abuse after she tweeted his address, she should resign

I’m kind of used to waking up most mornings to a stream of cybernat abuse on Twitter. It’s become an occupational hazard of sticking my head above the parapet in support of staying in the UK. I’ve been told I’m everything from stupid to treacherous. The clear aim is to shut me up. Like that’s going to happen. 

My view is that people should be able to take part in politics without being subjected to personal abuse. It would never dawn on me to have a personal go at a supporter of independence or question their motives for supporting independence. It’s their right to campaign for their sincerely held beliefs. 

This campaign should be about a flow of ideas, seeking to inspire and engage. Sadly, some think it’s ok to ridicule and intimidate.

The SNP know that they have a problem with abusive cybernats. So it was reprehensible that Community Safety Minister Roseanna Cunningham should retweet a picture letter from an 83 year old retired general to people he knew asking them to vote against independence. This picture had his full address, phone number and email address on it. Within hours, he had some nasty emails from cybernats as today’s Telegraph reports:

Earlier this week the 83-year-old was targeted by Cybernats, a notorious wing of the SNP that specialises in online abuse of Unionists, after his home and email addresses and phone number were published on a social networking website.

Sir Norman told this newspaper he contacted the police after receiving around half a dozen emails, some of which were abusive and contained expletives. One warned him to “shut the f*** up.”

They were sent after Ms Cunningham posted a message on Twitter mocking a letter-writing campaign the general has started to drum up donations for the pro-UK Better Together campaign.

Now, anyone can say or share something they shouldn’t on Twitter. Personally, I’d rather politicians spoke freely and mucked up occasionally. But, like anyone else, including me when I’ve done it, when they do muck up, they need to take responsibility. 

Cunningham’s response is that as the General’s address was available in Who’s Who. I have my doubts that many cybernats roaming the internet late at night looking for prey would have a £350 subscription to the publication. Sure, they could go to the library the next day if they had thought about it, but she put those details in their line of sight.  She was indirectly responsible for him getting distressing abuse. She should have foreseen it.

A fulsome apology is the very least that’s appropriate in the circumstances. If she can’t do that, then she surely has no place in Government and should resign. 

The behaviour of some SNP ministers is falling well short of appropriate at the moment. Last week Kenny MacAskill made an extraordinarily awful speech at the end of the debate on the Criminal Justice Bill. He basically said that anyone who opposed his plans to remove the ancient principle of corroboration from the judicial system was a rape apologist who was part of a unionist conspiracy. 

If those are the sorts of attitudes we’d have to deal with from the SNP in an independent Scotland, I’m more determined than ever to work for a vote to stay in the UK. 

I hope that someone questions Alex Salmond on Cunningham’s behaviour at this week’s First Minister’s Questions. 


About caronlindsay

Scottish Lib Dem pro UK activist, mum, Doctor Who, Strictly, F1 and trashy tv addict and blogger.
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2 Responses to If Roseanna Cunningham can’t apologise to 83 year old subjected to cybernat abuse after she tweeted his address, she should resign

  1. Hen Broon says:

    Faux outrage is never pretty. Especially since the man freely published his own name and address on his letters. He is quiet happy for that name to be in the public domain obviously. Half a dozen abusive comments eh? Are you saying that all the vile anti Scottish comments made on the forums of the unionist press are then the responsibility of David Cameron, Comical Ali’s Darling, Carmichael, and McDougall. Or are you like the rest of your kind uniqely unable to see these comments?

    Have a wee look here if you can:

    As to your concern for the eighty two year old person. I seem to remember one being roughly man handled and thrown out of Labours conference in Brighton a few years ago.

    “Wolfgang attended the 2005 Labour Party conference as a visitor and sat in the part of the hall reserved for visitors, which is at the back. During a speech by then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, in response to Straw’s “We are in Iraq for one reason only: to help the elected Iraqi government build a secure, democratic and stable nation”, Wolfgang shouted “Nonsense!”. Some witnesses claimed he then may have added “That’s a lie and you know it!”[1] and/or “Pack of lies!”.[citation needed] In full view of the television cameras, several conference stewards, who were on alert for any attempts to disrupt the speech, then picked up and removed Wolfgang and confiscated his security pass. Erith and Thamesmead Constituency Labour Party chairman Steve Forrest, who was sitting nearby, was also removed for voicing his objections to Wolfgang’s treatment.”


    I wonder how many 82 year olds were amongst the charred and dismembered corpses of Labours Iraq invasion. So many they never even had the decency to count them. Hundreds of thousands died in that needless war. Hundreds of thousand are still suffering, and the death squads stalk the streets of Bagdhad in even greater numbers than when the Wests puppet turned bogeyman Saddam went bad. The UK like the USA is now a much more dangerous country to live in, as a result of their foreign policy, not to mention our looming bankrputcy.

    Straw is a nasty wee fascist in support of a nasty fascist state that sees nothing wrong with invading sovereign countries and bombing them in to submission to bend to their will and buy their arms and munitions whilst giving up their natural resources. That is the UK your flip flopping Liberals are sworn to support. You will pay a very heavy price for your promiscous bed hopping in UK and Scottish politics. Power at any price? You are bankrupt. Spare us your pious bleating Carron.


    • Cybernat classic reply above – ad feminem attack in first par. Bait and switch/whitaboot in second and move on to calling a democratic politician who played a major role in introducing the Human Rights Act a fascist by the end.

      And, of course, anybody who dares to have a different opinion is by definition “anti-Scottish”.

      The level of intolerance ought to be a warning to everyone ahead of 18 September.


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