Trolls do not typify debate

WE are now well into the final 100 days of the independence referendum campaign.

Loading Comments
Share
Print

Three separate polls over the past week have all shown support for a Yes vote on the rise, the No vote is on the slide and the race now virtually neck and neck. There's little doubt, then, that the Yes campaign heads into the final strait with optimism, confidence and momentum on our side.

The last few days have also seen some debate about the tone of the debate. A minority - on both sides - who hurl abuse at their opponents on social media have dominated too many of the headlines.

I completely and utterly condemn all such behaviour - regardless of who it comes from and who it is directed at.

I know, from the personal experience of regularly receiving vile comments on Twitter, just how horrible some of this online abuse can be.

Anyone engaging in this kind of conduct who believes, either that their behaviour is acceptable or that it does the cause they profess to support any good at all, is seriously misguided and downright wrong.

They should cease and desist and accept that everyone in this debate - without exception - is entitled to their opinion and to express it freely.

But the wider point I want to make is this. These online trolls are a tiny minority.

They do not typify the debate our country is having. For the vast majority across Scotland, the referendum campaign is interesting, energising and exciting.

People care deeply about the decision they are being asked to make and, no doubt, at times they feel frustrated by both sides of the campaign. But overall, the debate is a good and a thoroughly positive one.

I've lost count of the number of people I have spoken to who normally don't take that much interest in politics but who are, right now, deeply engaged and interested in the issues at stake.

Public meetings the length and breadth of the country are packed out with people eager to listen to the arguments and ask questions.

Indeed, the turnouts at the many public meetings I've spoken at are quite unlike anything I've ever experienced before.

Suddenly, as a nation known, like many others, for low turnouts in elections, we are intensely interested in - and well informed about - the way we are governed, how our economy works, where power is best held, how that power can best be exercised to make Scotland a fairer and more prosperous country, and how collectively we will be best equipped to address the challenges we face and maximise the opportunities we have.

There is something quite wonderful about all of that and, whatever the outcome of the referendum, I hope that this sense of interest and engagement will continue for a long time to come.

So over the remaining weeks of the campaign, let us all argue our case with passion.

But let us do so with respect and in a spirit of celebration of the fantastic country we are all so lucky to live in.

Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

167544

Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email news@eveningtimes.co.uk
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

SPOTY, Cinderella at the SECC and festive things to do.

Times Out

Entertainment

Lifestyle

TV Advert
Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

What a year for me...it’s a wonderful life!

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.