Denunciation wars

Derek Mackay’s behaviour was self-evidently unacceptable for a person in his position. Although it is worth noting that had he been an ‘ordinary’ citizen of Scotland what he did would barely have raised an eyebrow. It certainly wouldn’t have been deemed newsworthy. Few employers would have considered it cause for disciplinary action. This is not to minimise the foolishness of Mackay’s conduct. It is merely to recognise the facts. Facts which are in danger of disappearing in a fog of competitive outrage and frantic virtue-signalling.

There are people in society who are held to a higher standard. Rightly so. It is entirely proper that those who are entrusted with authority or high office should be constantly mindful of their duty to meet the public’s high expectations. But neither authority nor high office makes the incumbent other than human with all the failings, flaws and fallibility that this entails. Defects of character and deficiencies of integrity which are seldom more in evidence than on those occasions when predatory politicians get the scent of blood.

Everything is exaggerated. And increasingly exaggerated. As if the partisan palate is ever more readily jaded and demanding of more and more seasoning. The smallest misdeed is gleefully seized upon by political rivals and fashioned into a career-destroying – and on occasion life-destroying – weapon. Various political rivals and even “friends” try to outdo one another in their public expressions of shock and horror for fear that an inadequate response might be maliciously construed as condoning the offence. The misdeed comes to be defined by the ramping reaction to it rather than being judged by normal standards.

The solemn self-righteousness of politically expedient indignation is every bit as patently contrived as the theatrical exhibitions of grief which follow the death of some ‘much-loved celebrity’ or ‘national treasure’ as inevitably as bodily decay. And with much the same nausea-inducing effect on more cynical observers. Sites of tragic death become instant makeshift shrines littered with mawkish ‘tributes’ to the departed from people whose mourning is grossly disproportionate to their non-existent relationship with its object.

The meretriciously maudlin melodrama of competitive grief is a close cousin of the leck-strutting displays of hyperbolised denunciation which can be prompted by even the most objectively trivial transgression.

Derek did a daft thing. He is paying dearly for his incomprehensible stupidity. But nobody died or was seriously harmed by his foolishness. I am prepared to cut the guy some slack and I barely know him. You’d think those claiming to be his close friends might be at least as supportive. Should the quality of forbearance not also be something we expect of our politicians? Or at least some sense of proportion.



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24 thoughts on “Denunciation wars

  1. This will be weaponised to maximise the damage in the propaganda war.

    I have said many times. The SNP need to fight mud with mud. Tarnish your opposition. Weaponise their pecadilos .

    This is going to be a rough ride. Get used to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A balanced view Peter! I have, however, one caution. You say, “But nobody … was seriously harmed by his foolishness.” We really don;t know whether or not any harm was done to the boy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He’s sixteen years old FFS! By the time I was that age, I’d been propositioned by men at least half a dozen times. It didn’t bother me then and it doesn’t bother me now. If the laddie has reached sixteen without learning or being taught the ways of the world then it’s his parents who are at fault.

      And let’s bear in mind that this was not a one-way thing. It was an EXCHANGE between two consenting adults. It was only Mackay’s position which made his part in this exchange unacceptable.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Derek Mackay was very silly. I hope for his sake that’s all there is to it. Either way his career as a politician is over.

    I note that Jackson Carlaw’s first response was to question why Nicola Sturgeon had not set up a help-line for the alleged victim and hadn’t “sought assurances” from DM as to whether there had been others similarly on the receiving end of seemingly unsolicited and unwanted attention of the now ex-Finance Minister. This had somehow constituted a “collective failure of leadership” within the SNP.

    Clearly NS is the prime target of JC here. This, together with the upcoming Alex Salmond trial will be useful deflection and detraction from the constitutional question. This won’t change minds but it will probably slow momentum merely because debate on this Independence issue will be temporarily side-tracked by these personal issues (of potential criminality, nothing to do with political argument).

    Recently (in her ‘Next Steps’ speech) NS quoted Michelle Obama, stating that “when they go low, we go high” when describing how to respond to political opponents’ below the belt tactics.

    If she is not already I think Nicola should be aware that when people like JC start low, they aim to go lower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am more concerned about Derek Mackay’s wellbeing than that of the “boy” – who is only being referred to as such because it serves the narrative. This has been a devastating blow to the man. No doubt he brought it on himself. But the impact is likely to be out of all proportion to any harm he may have done. I just hope he has some supportive people around him.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree.

        As a 16 year-old the ‘boy’ is able to get married, start a family, pay taxes plus join the army to potentially kill others and be killed.

        This news ‘story’ was broken by The Sun – not exactly an organ of moral rectitude.

        The media have been playing, and will continue to play, this for all its worth, all the while hiding behind a facade of righteousness when it they are really just a politically motivated and prurient press.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree.

    As a 16 year-old the ‘boy’ is able to get married, start a family, pay taxes plus join the army to potentially kill others and be killed.

    This news ‘story’ was broken by The Sun – not exactly an organ of moral rectitude.

    The media have been playing, and will continue to play, this for all its worth, all the while hiding behind a facade of righteousness when it they are really just a politically motivated and prurient press.

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  5. I can’t believe the utter stupidity of Derek Mackays actions but he has not broken any law and it might well be that he has been set up. This outrage follows a similar pattern as the claims against the former FM where only one side of the alleged allegation(s) has been named. How can that be fair or just. It takes two to tango and those involved are legally adults. Its about time that individuals making allegations where the public have an interest, are named in public. I would also like to know whether or not money changed hands during the process of this story being made public.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My first thought when I read of this was that it was a set-up by the British state. Craig Murray’s experience came to mind. Then Derick acknowledged that it’s true. I still think the exposure of the contacts may be a set-up, but I suspend judgement,

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    2. I don’t think it was a setup.
      I can’t see any evidence of that.
      However, it is curious the family chose to take it to the tabloid before anyone else.
      In that sense, we could say he was “setup”. But the contacts, themselves, hardly give that impression. Any “setup” here, has come at the end.
      Like everyone else, I am surprised a person in such a senior position could allow himself to carried away like this. I don’t what he was hoping to get.

      I am of the opinion, something must have snapped here, with the MSP..
      He got married young, and ended up divorced after admitting he was Gay.
      Little wonder so many Gay guys into politics, go get married, for fear of being “Outed”, but the pressures eventually in most cases becomes too much. That seems to be what could have happened here.

      I was however, utterly appalled at Jackson Carlaw at First Minister’s Questions, Thursday, there.
      OK, he asked about it,to begin with, as one would expect in such dramatic circumstances, but after having been given a very detailed answer to his points, he went on ad infinitum, and practically ignored every single answer he was given, and it was very clear even then, he was attempting to pin the blame on the First Minister.
      Also, this “child” stuff…. the boy is not a “child”. Still very much a boy,of course, but hardly a child.
      It was also interesting, and we should throw this back at Carlaw, and the others, he rants about child protection, but what care does he or his lot in London have for so many many others that age, when they deprive them of money for anything, and hound them to death, and have them living out on the streets?
      He doesn’t care then, does he???
      Apart from the fact, Carlaw’s own political group is steeped in such affairs. Has he called for ex DWP Secretary Stephen Crabb to be thrown out Parliament in London? Did he demand ex MP Ross Thompson be thrown out of Parliament, or even the tory Party??? No! He did neither.
      Carlaw should be ashamed of himself… But tories don’t know what that means. So he isn’t!
      Carlaw himself isn’t above reproach with his failed businesses and missing paintings, etc.

      It is also infuriating when some are using this to attack Independence. As if this one incident, makes Scotland unique in the World, that somehow it couldn’t be Independent, but yet they don’t say that of anything similar in England
      Next time something like this hits Westminster with a tory, or even a Labour politician, we should declare England ungovernable, and it ought to be taken over by the EU.
      See how they respond to that!

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  6. I tend to agree with most of what you’ve said above Peter. Hope everyone can just move on and put this distasteful incident in the past.

    More concerned with what it says about the SNP leadership. They must know that every communication they make is monitored and recorded for potential use against them, in particular by the security services. If they don’t, they are too naive to be providing the leadership that we need.

    More worrying would be that they do know but carry on like this anyway, believing that they’re not a big enough problem for this to be used against them and released. The leaders of the independence movement either should be, or aspire to be, a huge problem to the British state.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I have not been impressed with Mackay. He seemed like a very weak man and not particularly able and this has just confirmed it. I was gobsmacked when it was suggested that he might be a possible successor to Sturgeon. I was unable to see what talent or drive the man had. Yes, I feel sorry for him to an extent, especially as he is not a strong and resilient person like Salmond and will take this hard. But I feel sorrier for Scotland that this was the best we could do and that this weak man was given so much responsibility. I am just glad it has come out now rather than later when it might have done even more damage. It is a tale of power corrupting though. Mackay has been a politician since the age of 21 and has glided into the high position he recently occupied. He’s not lived a life like the rest of us and power has made him feel invulnerable.

    Hopefully it will all die down soon and he can be retired to some unobtrusive position somewhere and get on with the rest of his life. It’s not the end of the world and will soon blow over.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most political figures these days have been in politics since they were teenagers, either at school or college, and very few of them have known life outside of that.
      Not all such folks are make for poor politicians. Some can be quite brilliant. But these days being brilliant is now a rare thing..
      I would say Mackay wasn’t too bad, and his Budget seemed reasonable in the circumstances.
      But I would not have thought him that great either.
      And actually, I am of the opinion, a lot of the MSPs we have, lack quality on all sides, but it is also a bit noticeable within SNP ranks too.
      The better ones, are not always in senior positions..
      And while some of the Scottish Government are very talented, we can’t say that of everyone in the administration.
      As for this dying down, sorry… that ain’t gonna happen any time soon.. A senior SNP figure???
      They will make this run for as long as they can mange to make it run, and will use it again during the Salmond saga, and use it against Independence to their hearts content.
      Had he been anyone else in any other non pro Independence group, it would be forgotten about by all, in week or two.. But he is for Independence. The Media Establishment, and the Unionist politicians,at least are not going to let it pass by and forget about it, for that one reason.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Folk would do well to remember how accusations led to the suicide of Carl Sargent! We will never know if this was asting & if the messenger on other end really is only 16.. if he existed at all. The Full Transcripts printed by tthe Scum did not read in any way creepy. the screenshots of phone – all showed the same time of day. the deleted or redacted parts..why? Mum claims not to have know till last week, yet we see ‘boy’ saying mum would worry about him being in Edin but not worried about dinner.this was said last year! DM was profoundly stupid for engaging with anyone in DMs he had never met just due to his job. That stupidity cost him dearly. SNP too quick to dump their people at slightest bit of mud slinging! me, I’d demand the propers transcript, the kind you would see in court, not their selected edits! SNP want it to go away quick so do not challenge, not give accused chance to defend & refute! When are they going to stand up to the bullies in WM & Holyrood?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. It may have been entrapment. If so Mackay fell for it. These kind of things will happen. It’s how the receiver deals with it that’s important.

    Derek showed himself to be a sleazeball. But let’s not get carried away.

    There was no physical contact, no threats , no suggestion of having sex. Indeed it was all conducted on social media. The harm to the youth is minimal.

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  10. I have tried to rationlise the conduct but cant. Its inexcusable. Then I checked Boris. Boris is a 55 former married man with young children and a partner 24 years his junior numerous affairs etc.I couldn’t help but feel that Mackay who I have never liked is being subject to a standard not applicable to English politicians. I see Fallon and Green are still MPs
    .

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    1. You got it perfectly right there.
      Also… the Gay dimension comes into this in a big way, tho they would never admit it.
      Gays, have to be extra careful, else the Media, and more than a few political opponents will go to town, as we see here. Especially if the Gay dude, is for Independence. I wonder if that was a factor in the 2017 Media campaign against MP John Nicolson in Strathkelvin, where the BBC at an rate, never had Jo Swinson off the airwaves. No other.non MP candidate got the kind of attention, and airtime she did.
      There is just a whiff an anti Gay bias here to me.
      Had this been a non Gay politician, and this a girl of similar age, would we be having the same level of outrage? He would still have had to resign from Govt, regardless, I’d say.
      Where was the outrage with MP Stephen Crabb firing off truly outrageous messages to 19 year old girl? He only ever met her once at a job interview, which he didn’t even give her, but did give her lots of unwanted attention.
      Not a peep from the likes of Carlaw over that.,and Crabb is still an MP for tories today .(I noticed that Welsh based Stephen Crabb was girning his face off at non English MPs not being allowed to take part in that NHS vote mid week. But he didn’t say anything on the day, and it was SNP MPs who were accused of being grievance mongers!.) Tho he was forced to leave his DWP post, but, not at the time itself, as far as I am aware.
      But MSP Carlaw & Co. are using this also to beat the wider Independence movement.

      One thing about this, I do have to say, and I can’t really stand the guy, I thought Labour’s Richard Leonard handled it better. He gave a brief opinion of it, then quickly moved on to other things. He was actually a bit more effective this time, but, he was also more dignified on Thursday, I thought, compared to Carlaw, and I think someone else tried to throw in few things, but can’t remember who.

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  11. A 42 year old rock star would be thought a weirdo if he WASN’T shagging 16 year olds!
    Mick Jagger is probably still humping teenagers, and we all just chuckle.

    Like

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