There’s a lot of joy, an awful lot of it, on social media today over the fate of a West of Scotland Primary School teacher who posted some pretty heavy stuff on Twitter and is now facing disciplinary action for it.
I’m not going into detail; if you follow the news at all you can’t have missed the story.
She might yet keep her job, but that couldn’t matter less as far as the wider impact goes.
The media, both old and new, has spoken, declared her guilty and branded her a bigot.
They’ve hung that tag around her neck like a rank piece of dead flesh and that, as they say, is that.
Career cancer. Game over.
What appalling hypocrites some of these people are.
I debated with myself about whether to make this a piece for this blog, but ultimately I decided it belongs here and not over on Comment Isn’t Free, my politics one, because there’s a lot of overlap between the grave dancers online and the issues this site occasionally covers.
For one thing, she’s been reported to Police Scotland, presumably under the auspices of that deplorable piece of legislation the Offensive Behaviour Act, an act any number of those rejoicing at her current fate might be hauled up for contravening themselves based on their remarks.
I’m not advocating that. I’m simply pointing it out.
A lot of these people crawled out of a sewer.
Any number of them have made this an issue about Catholic schools, Catholicism as a whole, Irish expression, Scottish nationalism (there’s a photo of her with Nicola Sturgeon) and, of course, Celtic.
(She was pictured with Tony Stokes too, and it’s not hard to guess which team she supports.)
One guy posted on one of the many articles about this on a newspaper’s website – in almost orgiastic delirium – about how overjoyed he was to find a story that gave him a chance to take a shot at all of those targets at once.
And of course, he called her a bigot for good measure.
This is the level at which these people operate, and others still decided the gutter was too good for them and posted the sort of comments that are simply unprintable here and really do belong in the province of the courts.
If she has good lawyers she could sue enough of these people to put her on easy street for the rest of her natural life, and she should.
Let’s be clear; this isn’t a piece defending her, although I’m moved to suggest that someone who decided to pursue a career working to develop young minds and had to have grafted like mad towards that goal, and who’s record in doing it is probably as clean as a whistle and who has, doubtless, made a huge and positive difference in her community probably deserves better than the witch-hunt she’s currently facing, and maybe a chance to keep on doing her job.
Added to that, I can’t help but wonder about the kind of regulations which intrude into someone’s personal beliefs, and what that has to do with her place of employment.
She wasn’t sending those tweets out on an office computer, after all.
None of this stuff intruded on her lessons to the kids, did it?
I’m fairly sure the tabloid muck-rakers would have mentioned that.
But Hell, those are issues for another day.
No, this is a piece calling out those who’ve forgotten one of the first, and most important, maxims of the Christian faith, which I don’t think is an out-of-order subject at this time of year; not even forgiveness but the one that goes “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
Yes, a lot of people forget that one.
Let me give them an example of the sort of things that do my nut in.
For a start, calling someone a bigot in the same sentence as she’s subjected to a sectarian slur is not going to get you into the Quiz Kids.
Ad hominem attacks in the same tweet that question a person’s character … well that demonstrates a high IQ for sure, one that might even hit room temperature when they’re straining all the brain cells.
The Illiterati of the internet are bad enough, but we’ve got media outlets busily destroying her as well, and they are far worse.
I don’t need to give anyone a refresher course on how they’ve behaved over the years.
They’ve excused the inexcusable, and ignored what suited them. Journalists chortle over people like John Brown and his dislike of anything remotely connected to Celtic which goes all the way to not wearing the colour green, but scream from the rooftops whenever supporters express similar views. It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.
Real bigotry is a subject they’ve kept at arm’s length for as long as I’ve been alive, but that would have been difficult to tackle, and this is an easy target they’re going after, and their relish at the task oozes from every editorial.
This doesn’t even stop with the kind of stuff they routinely ignore.
Most of them clap their hands with undisguised glee at the idea of what they refer to as the “return” of the Old Firm game, the brand built on hate which they’ve spent the last four years falling all over themselves to rebuild and promote anew.
They also think nothing of seeking the opinions of men like Hugh Dallas – who one paper put on the back pages this very week, even as they lambasted her on the front – and radio stations and the evening news channels still go out of their way to seek the opinions of “supporter reps” who’s own social media postings raise the hairs on the back of your neck.
Graham Spiers, writing in The Herald recently, even suggested that Scottish football should “rehabilitate” Craig Thomson, who’s own behaviour on the internet was about a million times worse and more extreme than anything this girl did.
You tell me; what’s wrong with this picture?
In the meantime, his newspaper has its reporter’s door-stopping this girl and circling like vultures, which of course does nothing good in terms of her discipline case, making this into a national issue and pretty much leaving her bosses with nowhere to go … something else I hope her legal people are all over, and planning to highlight when the time comes.
And all this is to say nothing, of course, about their political coverage, which has created more “out” groups – everyone from social security claimants to immigrants – than Goebbels’s propaganda ministry would have dared dream about.
Our media as moral guardians?
Give me a sodding break.
They can keep their phony outrage and hysterical commentary, but that’s easy for me to say as someone who’s not been directly in their crosshairs. The stench of their own double standards reeks out their offices, but I understand that they’re simply playing to their traditional audience and this is a story that, as I said above, simply has everything for those retrograde scum.
I posted a piece on this site just last week about the number of their fan sites, and supporter reps, who spend their days trawling the net for information they can use to damage anyone whose opinion doesn’t merge with their own.
I was inspired to write that by a tweet from Jim Spence, about how he’d heard a story about another journalist whose job was under threat by these people.
I now think I know who he’s talking about it, and it wouldn’t be the first time this particular person has been targeted by these folk.
One website in particular has editorialised on this writer at great length, and much of the content is libellous and ought to be pursued.
This story is another case in point.
It’s not difficult, I’m sure, to imagine how this is being greeted on those same forums and websites.
This is like something Santa dropped down the chimney.
It’s the potential ruination of somebody’s life and what it brings to them is great joy.
I don’t know what else to say about that other than it makes my skin crawl.
These same people, emboldened by this action, are now frantically trying to select a target for the encore, and Jeanette Findlay’s name has been bandied about as she, too, works in an educational environment and has views they don’t happen to agree with.
Jeanette has already made her disgust at the hate-mob – old and new media both – known as regards this issue, and I applaud her for that and thank her from the bottom of my heart for reminding us all that there’s still a spark of humanity out there in the world, and those who are intelligent and compassionate enough to look at the bigger picture.
But of course the “big picture” doesn’t matter to the pitch-fork wielding horde, some of whom can’t wait to moralise against anyone and others who have more specific targets in mind and think of this story as a God-send.
Their anger is the phoniest kind there is, and it makes me retch and it ought to make all decent people feel the same way.
Their own hatred is palpable, and even a little scary.
They are a different species.
Someone’s career hangs in the balance here. Someone’s life is quite literally on the cusp of being destroyed, and at Christmas time too. In their attitude towards this lies the truth about their own rancid characters.
Their overriding emotion isn’t regret or sadness … it’s glee.
This is the Festive Season in Scotland, eah?
Goodwill, and all that.
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