This morning (Tuesday 23rd May) I awoke with no other thoughts in my head other than finish leafleting the village and prepare for an appointment in the afternoon. Switched on laptop to check mail and social media. SHOCK! Our youth, our future had been attacked, killed, injured and maimed for life. Out of nowhere at what should have been an enjoyable night, as they should have been going home chattering and singing.
Understandably all political parties called a cease to campaigning. I have wandered round all day, not really settling to any task. There has been so much silence and too much time to think today. I am forming a hope in my mind that this quiet spell will be used by everyone in politics to reassess the direction that campaigning has been going. It is all getting too aggressive. At all levels.
When did it become okay to shout rather than talk, swear rather than find the right words, name call in such vile terms? I remember when I started campaigning in Labours heartland, which to be honest was most of central Scotland. No way was I allowed to knock a door on my own because it was likely to be an aggressive male that would come to the door. No-one ever thought of going leafleting on their own if it could be helped.
Things changed though. My moving to an area represented at all levels of government by SNP members probably helped with that mind you. You met opposition on the doorstep but it was usually polite. You could count on one hand the nasty ones during a campaign.
These past few weeks I have noticed a big change. It seems it is now acceptable to point, shout, name call, and say you hate people you don’t know. I can only come to the conclusion that these people are learning their behaviour from examples shown in the media, main and social. The behaviour demonstrated in interviews and debates is deplorable. I seem to remember when growing up that the British Broadcasting Corporation had strict standards of behaviour when on camera. I also remember it being too pompous and upper class right enough. Yes it needed to loosen up and recognise dialects but don’t you think we have gone a bit too far in loosening up? Have I just got old and not up for it anymore? Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale are just not classy in debate. Pulling faces, aggressively pushing themselves forward and pointing at people is not a good look. Being a female in politics does not mean you have to be all nasty macho. Much more effective to smile politely and deliver your message with sincerity. This comes comfortably to someone who believes totally in what they stand for, lives that belief and doesn’t have to depend on gimmickry and shouty speeches which have no positive message for the listener.
A second day of suspension of campaigning has just been announced. I hope those guilty of what I consider bad behaviour will take a wee look at themselves in this down time. I’m not holding my breath though as it is easier to keep shouting SNP bad than it is to try and deliver policies you haven’t thought out or indeed are promising, when the Scottish Government is already delivering!