This morning I woke to several messages and news articles discussing the story of Western Isles, Conservative candidate, Ken MacBrayne. A man who is standing for leadership, to be be an example and to help govern a local community. WHAT? This man tweeted the following in reference to the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon:
“Can someone not shove a cattle prod up her nether region? Maybe that will shut her up” and he said “can someone not shove a golf ball in her mouth and a bag over her head”
Police Scotland have a task force designed specifically to tackle abuse towards women. This is abuse, it is threatening, hateful, vile, frightening….. I could continue but you get my drift. I recently sat in the Parliament during a members debate on violence against women. It was fantastic and there were excellent speeches from all sides of the chamber. So my question is this, why oh why do the Torys think this man should be any where near a political position? Shouldn’t they put their money where their mouth (quite literally) is?
So you might be thinking, ah Rosa it’s just Twitter, shouldn’t we just ignore it? Absolutely NOT! We should call out abuse towards anyone, but especially women. Every. Single. Day. If we don’t, then what message do we send out to our young people? Certainly not a good one. It’s our duty as activists and elected members to shine a light on hatred. In my time as a Councillor I received threats both physical and sexual, men turning up at my home and place of work. Online abuse from other elected members and misogyny which would make you feel physically sick. I called it out every single time. I will continue to do so. Always.
Women who are elected represent the public but they are not public property, there’s a huge difference. It doesn’t matter if you’re a “nat” or a “yoon”; a “yesser or a naw”. The language we use towards others be it man or woman, elected official or member of the public, should reflect the tone we would want our future generations to use. It is to them we set the example. Scotland claims to be a place of warmth, friendly tolerance and acceptance. The language of Mr MacBrayne is none of these things and he should be reported to the police. He should then face charges for causing fear and alarm at the very least. If one of my constituents was facing harassment like this I would have her down at the local station before she could blink. As elected members, or even candidates, we have a duty to lead; we must always remember that our position, no matter how significant, brings an element of being role model. What kind of role model was Mr MacBrayne?
Jo Cox was murdered by a man who took abuse too far. It was one of the most horrific things to happen in my time in politics. In the aftermath many people lamented on her beautiful children and how she was a wife, daughter, sister and friend. Jo’s husband asked us all to learn from what happened, in order for her life not to have been in vain. Nicola Sturgeon is a wife, daughter, friend and she is just a woman going to her work. Carrying a load few of us could imagine.
Ken MacBrayne I know you haven’t had a chance to answer my blog, and I see you’ve deleted twitter; but you should be on your knees apologising. Apologising for causing horrific upset and distress. Apologising to the constituents you have no place representing. Apologising to our sons and daughters for setting them the worst example. Most of all he should be apologising to Nicola, because she is a woman who has feelings, a heart and who deserves to be respected just like all the other wives and daughters.