I sense this could best be presented as a three-parter.
I know I’ve used Charles II Stuart’s expression previously, and perhaps too often. It is, allegedly, the original of what school histories bowdlerise as “Let sleeping dogs lie”. Discovering that convinced me never to rely on the classroom diet provided. And so a natural dissident was born.
So, for these first two parts (and then I’ll attempt a summary-reflection) yesterday I found myself getting involved in two different disputations.
Both were Scottish in essence.
One was on James Kelly’s Scot goes Pop blog. For the epicene, those above the salt, this is in the same territory, but a social class and literacy just above the horrors of the “Rev.” Stuart Campbell’s Wings Over Scotland.
Both those sites (and several others in the cyber-SNP diaspora) are waxing strong, and vexed, and expectorating against J.R.Rowling and all her works.
The cause is that Rowling declined to pay her dues to the Yessers during the #IndyRef. So she is a “Britnat”, an incomer, a traitor, and a whole string of other clichéd inventions.
The precise circumstance was that Rowling had taken umbrage at a particular tweet from Natalie McGarry. Indeed, her. Allow Tom Peterkin, of The Scotsman to explain:
The Glasgow East MP Natalie McGarry got more than she bargained for when she made disparaging remarks about the world’s most famous children’s author on Twitter.
A furious row erupted that resulted in JK Rowling suggesting she might sue Ms McGarry after the former SNP representative accused the Harry Potter creator of “defending abusive misogynist trolls”.
Ms Rowling revealed she was considering taking a defamation case after Ms McGarry claimed the author had “tweeted support” of a Twitter user, who uses the nom de plume of Brian Spanner QC to attack Scottish Nationalism.
A series of tweets were posted by Ms McGarry, whose political career has been marred by her suspension from the SNP after financial irregularities were discovered in a pro-independence group that campaigned during the referendum.
In a tweet addressed to Ms Rowling, McGarry said: “It is quite simple flee with craws…You tweet supportive tweets of a misogynist Twitter troll.”
The MP then added: “Do you or don’t you tweet supportive tweets of a misogynist and abusive Twitter troll like Brian Spanner. Answer is Yes. Simple.”
Ms Rowling replied: “So you need some evidence for that or I’m going to need an apology.”
The author added: “You are a politician making a public accusation. Show me where I have defended abusive, misogynist trolling.”
During the online spat that spanned six hours and involved many participants, Ms McGarry also said she “regretted” queuing to buy Ms Rowling’s books.
Ms McGarry later apologised for “any misguided inference” that Ms Rowling supports misogyny or abuse.
But the row escalated when Ms McGarry subsequently tweeted an image that had been altered to wrongly suggest Ms Rowling had responded “you’re a good man” to an abusive tweet sent by Brian Spanner.
According to the author, Ms McGarry had taken the “good man” tweet out of context. Rather than a response to an abusive tweet, it had actually been posted when Brian Spanner helped to raise money for Ms Rowling’s Lumos children’s charity.
Never having had dealings with “Brian Spanner” (whom I now discover tends to similar “vagina monologues” as Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daily Mail), I naturally incline to accept the Rowling version.
Over to you, James Kelly!
Kelly’s blog, Scot goes Pop!
Mr Kelly reckoned he had identified the hidden hand behind “Brian Spanner“. To do so he identified three dozen of Spanner’s relatively modest 4,622 followers on Twitter, and listed them as a large number of the unionist establishment (especially the journalistic unionist establishment). Including said J.K.Rowling.
I took exception: this list looks remarkably like the black sentence and proscription of Julius Caesar, Act IV, scene i. I read several of the journalists listed there. I don’t have to agree with them, but I know what they write today will be the tittle-tattle of received opinion, the public-bar wisdom of the morrow.
From there it became increasingly bizarre:
- What age are you 70???? [Would I were so young, but what’s a bit of ageism between commenters?]
- ... as you haven’t posted here before it would be useful to know what your interest in this matter is? [There is entry requirement to participate in Mr Kelly’s open house?]
- I see from your profile you’re in London, so is your main interest in Scottish politics or in Rowling? [London? wrong. And my main interest(s) are somewhat more catholic: lector, si monumentum requiris, circumspice.
- Inevitably, once names are in the frame, others are drawn in: a journalist and book-reviewer in her own right had to be identified as the wife of a Labour politician. Remember: this whole she-bang was about casual sexism. Muriel Gray was one ripple further out. And so we arrive at (better believe it) “Joe McCarthy” and “Arsene Wenger”.
And this to cap it off
I for one will not rest until every msm Scottish journalist is unemployed. Its time to shut the papers down then we can create a free and fair media.
No irony there, then.
Anyone for a nice lie-down in a darkened room?