by Rab Bruce’s Spider

There’s a lot of discontent among the Yes community online at the attitude of the SNP. Not only is there no official endorsement or even mention of the All Under One Banner marches, some senior representatives have spoken out against online abuse by CyberNats, resulting in gleeful headlines in the mainstream media about how disgusting and odious we are.

While making abusive comments should not be condoned, the headlines are now portraying every Yes person who ever posts anti-Union messages on Facebook or Twitter as being tarred with the same brush as the small minority of people who go out of their way to post abusive comments. It is also noticeable that the leading politicians within other parties make no effort at all to curb the abuse posted by supporters of the Union which can be every bit as disgusting and hurtful as any Yes campaigner has ever written. Any brief search on Twitter will easily confirm that, yet the media never seem to notice it.

But Whatboutery doesn’t help anyone, so let’s look at the real issue here. We see daily comments from Unionist politicians which are highly misleading at best and sometimes downright lies. Yet the SNP’s own media unit never challenges these misrepresentations. We must ask why not? Few journalists are ever going to challenge a Unionist politician no matter how much drivel they spout, yet the task of rebutting their misrepresentations is left to individual Yes supporters and, of course, websites like Wings Over Scotland and Wee Ginger Dug. There is no rebuttal from the SNP at all. Indeed, they seem determined to distance themselves from those who are doing the job their own media unit should be doing.

When you add in the fact that SNP politicians were happy to talk about the anti-Brexit protest marches but will, with only a few exceptions, say nothing about the AUOB marches which are made in direct support of the SNP’s core policy, it is no wonder some Yessers are unhappy at the SNP’s stance.

To compound this apparent disinterest in grass roots support, we have senior members giving the mainstream media exactly the sort of story they want about CyberNats. This is playing into the hands of the unionist media and, however strongly they feel about unacceptable levels of abuse, it is a serious miscalculation to allow the media to portray all Indy supporters in this way, especially when Saturday’s march demonstrated, yet again, that the support is being given with genuine good humour. The media were at pains to portray the march as causing trouble which was referred to as a "Clash" with a counter-protest. This clash, from the reports of those who were actually at the march, consisted of a couple of dozen Union supporters shouting abuse of the sort the SNP apparently decry, with the Yes marchers smiling and waving back to them. It’s not exactly the scenario conjured by the word, "Clash".

Now, we all know that the SNP are the political vehicle through which Scotland’s status as a normal country will be achieved, but that doesn’t mean we follow them blindly like a cult. We can criticise them when we disagree with them, and on this occasion there is a lot of disagreement over their stance towards the grass roots support.

Whether or not you believe protest marches achieve anything at all, you can bet that the Unionists and the media would make a big song and dance if there were no such marches at all. They are already pushing very hard on the line that there is no public support for a second IndyRef, and if there were no marches, this would only add to their argument. If the marches continue to garner the level of support we have seen so far, at least we can point out that they are lying when they say there is no support.

So, while it must be said that anyone dishing out abusive comments online isn’t likely to persuade anyone to move from No to Yes, it must also be said that it really doesn’t help the cause of independence if the SNP are going to slag off a large section of their most active and vociferous support.