ALBA draws a line
The ALBA Party has reported tweets apparently suggesting physical threats against their female candidates to the police. The reported tweets included those from a male Green Party candidate for the North East of Scotland.
The comments followed reports from an ALBA women’s Conference at the weekend where a Twitter spat erupted over reported comments of ALBA Central Scotland candidate Margaret Lynch. Ms Lynch was expressing her concerns at a safe space Conference and none of the attacks upon her come from people who actually heard her comments directly.
The Twitter reports did not in any event accurately reflect the concerns expressed by Ms Lynch about two Scottish based organisations among others supporting an international group that have openly advocated decriminalisation around adolescent sexual behaviour. Despite a statement from ALBA which fully accepted that Stonewall Scotland and LGBT Youth Scotland were “reputable organisations who had done much good in society” the stream of online abuse continued and spilled over into direct threats including the proposed organisation of meetings to target people individually and the suggestion to Dundee Council that an ALBA candidate, a primary teacher of 36 years standing, was somehow not a fit person be teaching.
Party Leader and Former First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“This was a safe space Conference where ALBA women were encouraged to express their concerns over a range of subjects. It resulted in our Party’s policy statement on Women and Equalities.
"Women participating are entitled to do so without being subjected to Twitter pile-ons or even worse threats of violence. Thus we are drawing the line.
"People who threaten our women candidates will be held to account. Men who put at risk women's jobs and livelihoods will be faced down. Name-calling of ALBA women by male SNP MPs and candidates will be challenged, and media who fan the flames of this disturbing behaviour will be reported to the appropriate regulator.
"In an election campaign people often do and say foolish things but we shall not have our female candidates bullied or threatened. That stops right now. Apart from anything else Margaret Lynch was defending the rights of women in Scottish society while these keyboard warriors were in nappies. The irony of people advocating hate speech legislation while simultaneously resorting themselves to physical threat and bullying behaviour is substantial.
"Let me be clear. As the First Minister who introduced equal marriage in Scotland, I would never tolerate any homophobic behaviour.
"Women are entitled to raise concerns without being targeted in this fashion. If people wish to disagree then by all means go ahead. But our candidates are entitled to speak their minds at safe space events without being traduced or intimidated. ALBA will protect their right to do so. ILGA World has issued a statement providing clarification which I welcome.
"The Women and Equalities Policy we have passed is cogent and reasonably expressed. It calls for positive and engaged debate on how we can reconcile the search for equality with the protection of hard-won rights and sex-based safe spaces. It calls for a Citizens Assembly to work through these principles in an informed manner.
"It says things which have long needed saying in Scottish society and does so in an entirely positive way. That is how ALBA shall conduct the debate.
"Now that this particular matter has been reported to the police ALBA will make no further comment on this specific controversy. We have also referred the hacking of data from the Women’s Conference given the degree of the individual threats now being made.
"The ALBA Women ad Equalities Policy Statement will continue to be a major feature of our election campaign. All ALBA candidates will conduct that debate in a considered and responsible manner.”
- The Declaration concerned is from the "Feminist declaration" which ILGA World are signatories to, which makes the call to “eliminate all laws and policies... that limit the exercise of bodily autonomy including laws limiting the legal capacity of adolescents... to provide consent to sex.” And to “end the criminalization and stigmatization of adolescents’ sexuality” The Declaration claims support from organisations worldwide, a list that does include many reputable organisations.
- ILGA claims support from organisations worldwide, a list that does include many reputable organisations.
- Among tweets that have been reported to the police include:
- From a Green candidate who states: "Have these queerphobic Alba posts spurred my hero arc where I now spend 1 whole year in isolation getting super buff and then I just go around punching fuck out of queerphobes? Stay tuned."
- From a Mr Connor Beaton, after calling ALBA “a fascist organisation in the making” proposing a workshop next weekend “where we’ll single out the most anti-LGBT candidates in this election and work out how we can make their lives misery”
- From an SNP candidate describing the ALBA women as “Extremists masked as Indy supporters reveal their truly homophobic transphobic politics”. It is simply not appropriate to label women candidates and speakers including Muslim women as “extremist” based on second-hand reports from a single tweet.
- Further, as well as the tweets that have been reported to the Police, National Office Bearers of political parties have taken to National Newspapers to make wholly unfounded comments about our candidates, and in doing so further fan the threatening atmosphere our female candidates are being subjected to:
- Lloyd Melville, the National Communications Officer for SNP Students in the Times Newspaper: "The Alba Party is full of socially conservative, regressive bigots. The behaviour of their candidates and supporters is a testament to this. If they get into parliament, make no mistake, they will side with the Tories against progressive policies, and oppose LGBT+ rights at every turn". This is a deeply offensive, false and defamatory statement against our candidates, particularly those that are members of the LGBT community that have campaigned for equality for decades.
- content-press release