As a Scot, I’m immensely proud of the achievement of the Scottish National Party in last Thursday’s UK elections, and the new spirit abroad in Scotland. But I’m almost equally disgusted by and ashamed of its dark side, as revealed in the Twitter abuse heaped on J.K. Rowling, a very well-known unionist, post the election result. That’s one of the few things that could tarnish the victory for me.
I won’t dignify the tweeters themselves by repeating their slurs, but anyone who wants a representative sample can just search Twitter under @jk_rowling, or check some out here. Suffice it to say that the struggle for independence, and the bad blood unleashed after the failure of the referendum on independence in , unleashed some dark passions, including the same kind of misogynistic aggression seen in GamerGate.
What it also did was give a chance for J.K. Rowling to show her mettle. As in the following response: “The Internet doesn’t just offer opportunities for misogynistic abuse, you know. Penis enlargers can also be bought discreetly.”
And it seems that not all of the abusers were smart, and/or craven, enough to conceal their real identities. So hopefully some of the more actionable abusive tweets will actually get actioned and their perpetrators will enjoy a comfortable time as the guests of Her Majesty’s government in Scotland’s nicks.
It’s also worth noting that not only Scottish nationalists were busy abusing Rowling after the election. In fact, some of the worst and most abusive tweets seem to come from disgruntled UKIP supporters incensed about Rowling’s backing for the Labour Party in particular and ethnic minorities in general. Clearly some Purebloods still didn’t get the message of the books and still follow the Slytherin hate cult. And a lot of the Twitter debate now seems to be more about the UKIP abuse than the Scottish nationalist insults.
Still there’s no denying the venom of some of the Scottish nationalist comments. And apologies to J.K. Rowling for that on behalf of Scots everywhere. And I hope the perpetrators reflect on the international harm they’ve done the cause they profess to defend. Scottish nationalism has gained a lot from global sympathy – why attack one of the world’s best-loved writers in its name?