SNP MSP Karen Adam's tweets about Ghislaine Maxwell case were well-intentioned. Outbreak of hatred shows what's wrong with modern democracy – Scotsman comment
Following the conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell for sex trafficking, Karen Adam MSP wanted to make a point about abusers: they are not “bogey men under the bed” or “scary monsters”, but rather “our family, friends and colleagues”.
Her remarks were designed to warn that abusers often appear to be upstanding people and that is one reason why their crimes can go undetected.
The tweets, which could perhaps have been better worded, included the line that “paedophiles and predators are people” but the surrounding context made it fairly clear this was the SNP politician’s intention: “It’s uncomfortable to humanise them because we then have to face the horrors in plain sight… Yes a daughter did do that. Daughters can be capable of doing that. Horrifying isn’t it? Face it and warn our kids.”
However, Alba Party general-secretary Chris McEleny then tweeted: “If you didn’t think the SNP had been captured by ideological zealots that care not about independence, here’s one of their newly elected MSPs with a new line of ‘paedophiles and predators are people.’”
Subsequently, Adam said she had been sent “death threats” and “vile abuse” and told that she would be “put through a wood chipper”.
After she clarified her remarks, for those like McEleny who somehow failed to see their true meaning at the outset, he said she was making an “important” point that “we should all listen to”. He pleaded with people to discuss politics in a “much nicer way”, adding he had also been receiving “abuse, threats, and requests for me to do horrible things to myself”.
McEleny’s initial response raises questions about an over-willingness to misinterpret what others say for party political ends – assuming he actually read Adam’s full comment.
If only he and others had taken the trouble to ask for clarification, all this hatred could have been avoided. The haters should now engage in self-reflection, if they are capable of doing so, particularly given that McEleny agrees Adam was trying to make a good point.
This whole affair succinctly demonstrates a worrying modern trend that risks the destruction of democracy. If we rush to judgement, fail to talk to each other in a civil way, and demonise our opponents, we will end up in a world full of demons or, in other words, hell.
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