THE former Nato general secretary Lord Robertson has called on the SNP to condemn its supporters who peddle abuse over the internet.
The Labour peer has criticised the “cybernat” phenomenon that sees anonymous internet users go online to denounce – often in the crudest terms – those they believe are challenging the SNP’s drive for independence.
In an article for the online magazine the Scottish Review, Lord Robertson said he had hoped Scotland had outgrown the unpleasantness that extreme forms of tribalism can arouse.
But the abuse he had recently been subjected to online made him question why the SNP appeared to take a different view to cybernats than towards online sectarian hatred, which had been the subject of a new law.
Lord Robertson said a recent article published on The Scotsman’s website had led to cybernat comment.
“Under that article on The Scotsman’s admirable website, under ‘comments’, was planet CyberNat in full cry,” he said. “But the Nationalist leadership does not condemn them.”
Among the 277 contributions to the comments section (of which 56 were removed) were: “Robertson is an idiotic, pompous traitor to Scotland and the Scots”, “the vermin who inhabit the House of Lords”, “establishment lackey” and “yoos Unionist trash”.
Anas Sarwar, deputy leader of Scottish Labour, has insisted there is no place in Scottish politics for the “anti-Scottish” brigade which the SNP leadership has failed to take responsibility for.
He said: “The SNP leadership need to take responsibility for the action of their activists who are abusing anyone who disagrees with them and trying to shut down all debate about Scotland’s future.
“George Robertson is respected throughout the world for his contribution to defence and foreign affairs and deserves better than these endless and anonymous slurs.”
Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie MSP said: “This vitriol and vilification must be condemned by the First Minister.”