After the passion of the Scottish referendum campaign – with some of that passion coming rather too close to boiling over at times – there is a need for a period of calm, of healing, of reconciliation. And one MP south of the border has rightly looked at what has been going on in that campaign, and recoiled at some of what she has seen. Sadly, she has not practiced what she has preached.
That less than totally upstanding Honourable Member is (yes, it’s her again) Mid Bedfordshire’s Tory MP Nadine Dorries, who initially told her followers “Truly shocking to read and hear about abuse journalists and campaigners have received from the Yes campaigners in Scotland ‘off the scale’”. So she won’t be recycling abuse from the Yes camp, or slagging off Scots, then.
Well, only up to a point: even before her pronouncement, the fragrant Nadine had sat down to the evening’s TV and declared “Women over 50 removed from TV presenting for fear of giving offence and yet we are subject to Andrew Neil on Newsnight”. So Brillo is exempt from her “not being nasty to Scots” because he once took the piss out of her. Just like tens of thousands of other folks do.
Rather worse was in store, just four hours after her observation on the state of the referendum campaign, for Andy McSmith of the Independent: “back on Twitter you inadequate misogynistic bully? I’m delighted to provide you with an opportunity [to] vent your woman hating bile”. What did McSmith do to deserve that? He asserted that she was “an unreliable witness” (a masterful understatement).
In doing so, he was merely agreeing with her now legendary “70% fiction” claim, but, as the man said, there was more: “your book is doing really well Andy, 190,000 on Amazon. Maybe you should achieve something in life before you criticise others”. And then came the Retweeting of some particularly nasty abuse from one of the more forthright of the Yes campaign’s supporters.
Someone called Jason Dolan opined “People who voted no. I hope you die in f***ing agony of cancer. You don’t deserve to live”. Why would Ms Dorries be watching his Twitter RTs? Why indeed? But not only was she watching, she Retweeted that one, prompting cancer survivor Sarah-Jane Phillips to recoil in horror. Citing the book based on her experiences, she added “I am appalled by my MP!”
The fragrant Nadine’s excuse – that she was attempting to shame Dolan – also left Ms Phillips less than impressed: “The comments were vile, why give him an extended audience, I found your Tweet upsetting”. Thus far there has been no apology from Ms Dorries to her constituent, and the RT is still there, which, given her recent supposed concern on Twitter excess, is interesting.
One might think that Nadine Dorries was guilty of double standards. Which she is.