Don’t Get Angry, Get Smart.

This article, which will likely be splashed across every unionist media outlet in the country in the morning, which let’s face it, is most of them; is exactly why independence supporters need to take a walk round the garden when they’re pissed off, count to ten, and bloody think before commenting on Facebook or tweeting unfounded rumours to discredit a “unionist”.

She’s married to a Tory, erm…no she isn’t. But her Dad’s a Tory, erm…nope.  But she “lied, pure and simple”. Did she? You have evidence to back that up? Here’s a pro tip…a bunch of photos on Facebook proves nothing. There are a number of reasons why she might be able to afford to odd nice night out, and they would be the nights she would post on her Facebook. She would hardly be likely to post pics of herself at the food bank would she?

“But she was in a swanky hotel in New York”. Well, clearly she was, but maybe she has family in New York who paid her flight and put her up, and maybe she put a fiver a week away for a year so she could have a night out when she got there.  You don’t know.

Now I’m not saying I believe all that. What I’m saying is that by making such claims, without a shred of real evidence, it looks like a witch hunt, and that’s exactly how the majority of unionist news outlets in the country will portray it. They will make independence supporters out to be rabid, blood and soil nationalists on a vendetta. They will use it to say we are unreasonable people like the BNP or the EDL. They will use it to make independence look like the ideology of fringe nutters; to de-normalise it. If you doubt that, you haven’t been paying attention.

The social media outrage against this woman may or may not turn out to be justified.  I don’t know.  I don’t have enough facts one way or the other to form a defendable opinion, so I’m not going to.  That’s why I didn’t join the chorus of condemnation.

The whole issue of the nurse has become the most talked about point of the leader’s debate, and for what?  To prove the BBC is biased?  Is that really the best way to make that point?  While everyone is banging on about a nurse who may or may not be a liar/plant, they are frankly doing the unionists and the BBC a favour.  While they’re acting like a pack of dogs chasing a car, no one, except Wings, is asking the fundamentally more important question of why the debate focused almost exclusively on devolved issues that have no relevance to a UK general election, and how that gave the unionist/opposition parties a huge advantage.  Who made that decision?

Please, when it comes to making claims about opponents, if you want to win independence, stick to arguing things you can back up. If you don’t have definitive proof, say nothing. It doesn’t matter how much you believe something to be true. You don’t even have to be wrong. If you simply can’t prove something it’s just your word against theirs, and the media and unionist politicians will take their side. It doesn’t help the independence cause in any way, but it does have the potential to cause great harm to it.

It’s not about “pandering” to anyone, or being soft. It’s about picking battles you know you can win, and avoiding ones that might backfire. It’s about not handing ammunition to the enemy through our own stupidity.  If you want to win independence, don’t get angry, get smart.  As my old man used to say when I was a kid, “think before engaging gob, son”.  Think about the evidence.  Picture yourself in court having to defend your statements.  Can you?  With proof that will stand up to scrutiny?  Are there any other possible explanations that the unionists and their media chums will use to discredit your claims and paint us all as fringe lunatics?  Are you 100% sure?

If you can’t give yourself a satisfactory answer to those questions, don’t engage gob.

And remember, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.  “Joe Bloggs in the QT audience last night is a Tory councillor”.  That’s easily proved.  “Joe Bloggs is a liar”; not so easy.

(Just to be clear, I’m not talking about silencing debate, or not arguing points here.  Not everything is a black and white evidence based argument.  Some things are emotional or common sense, and perfectly valid points (eg. “the Rape Clause is wrong”).  I am specifically talking about making accusations against individuals.  As a general rule, just don’t do it, unless you are absolutely 100% confident your argument can be proven beyond doubt.)

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