SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: Pupils at one of Scotland’s leading independent schools are to apologise to an SNP MP after he was targeted in a series of abusive comments on Twitter following a BBC Scotland debate broadcast at the Perthshire institution.
Pete Wishart, the MP for Perth and North Perthshire, was branded a “gimp” and a “yes w*****” by some pupils at Strathallan School after it hosted Brian Taylor’s Big Debate on Friday, where Mr Wishart was one of the guest speakers.
Mr Wishart became embroiled in a flurry of angry Twitter exchanges following a poll held at the end of the broadcast which showed that only three people in the audience were in favour of an independent Scotland.
The online row began after Mr Wishart posted: “Well, that was an interesting BBC Brian’s Big Debate. The audience of 200 were all No supporters, bar three, at Strathallan private school.”
His tweet led to a series of posts by pupils at the school with one declaring: “Hardly convincing us ‘private school’ people to vote for independence by insulting and stereotyping us,” while another branded Mr Wishart “pathetic” and “incredibly unprofessional.”
Mr Wishart hit back, posting: “The Nos go in (sic) about cybernats but you will not believe what I’ve been called by private school kids from Strathallan private school. Maybe the reason the privately educated #Strathallan kids were so abusive is they’ve been taking their lead from the negativity from the Nos.”
He continued: “Being insulted by private school kids is something else.
“So far I’ve been called a ‘yesw*****’ and a ‘gimp’. People pay to educate these kids. What do your teaching staff think about you all flooding my time line and getting increasingly abusive?
“I think we can concede we’re a bit behind with the posh private school constituency.”
He later posted: “Pupils trying to delete their offensive tweets but being caught by @deletedbyMPs that catches deleted tweets on MPs timelines.”
In a statement, posted today on the school’s website, a Strathallan spokesman said: “The school was happy to host Brian Taylor’s Big Debate for Radio Scotland on Friday. Pupils at Strathallan are encouraged to think about all issues and to engage in debate on them.
“They are concerned, as all young people will be, about a number of issues in Scotland today. The discussions during Friday’s programme engendered a keen sense of engagement with the political process reflecting the independent thinking which we promote. A number went into the debate broadly in favour of independence but changed their minds during it. The issue is the basis of the motion for the forthcoming Senior Debating Final so the debate will continue.”
The statement continued: “Comments from a small number of pupils via Twitter after the debate were inappropriate; they will be apologising to Mr Wishart. Clearly they were upset by the attacks made upon them but this does not excuse the nature of some of the responses.”