By Martin Kelly
A Scottish Labour MP has controversially claimed that people who post online criticism of Unionist politicians should be prevented from attending public debates on Scottish independence.
In an article in the Daily Mail, East Renfrewshire MP Jim Murphy (pictured) attacked what he called 'cybernats' who he says post anonymous messages insulting and abusing Unionist MPs like himself.

Murphy told the right wing newspaper: "There is a real worry that these anonymous cybernats who hide behind the safety of their computer keyboards in their bedrooms will come out into the public as the referendum comes closer,"

The Labour MP suggested they should be prevented from attending debates saying that allowing them to attend public meetings or TV studio audiences was: "The last thing we need."

"These people are as determined as they are obsessive and they will think nothing of attending every meeting and getting tickets for every TV and radio debate." he added.

Mr Murphy's comments were criticised by pro-independence site Wings Over Scotland, whose editor Stuart Campbell accused the Labour MP of trying to curtail debate and "vet audiences".

Ridiculing Murphy's comments, Campbell wrote: "At first we'd assumed he was demanding that no wicked 'cybernats' should be allowed to feature on the panel of TV debate shows.  But on reading further it became clear that in fact this professional politician, this tribune of the people, wanted to vet the audiences.

"We're not quite sure how that would work.  'Are you now, or have you ever been, a cybernat?' forms to be filled out before Question Time attendees were admitted to the venue?"

On the Labour MP's claim that online Yes supporters are controlled by the SNP, Mr Campbell added: "Jim Murphy, of course, knows perfectly well that the SNP don't control independence supporters on the internet, because he’s not a complete imbecile.  The party has around 25,000 members, and according to opinion polls an absolute minimum of a million people - 40 times as many - will vote Yes in September."

The Scottish Labour MPs outburst follows the growing interest in online citizen journalism which, in contrast to traditional media outlets, is far more sympathetic to the idea of independence with sites like Wings Over Scotland and Bella Caledonia attracting hundreds of thousands of readers.

The term 'cybernat' was coined by Mr Murphy's party colleague, former Labour MP and MSP George Foulkes, who used it to describe online supporters of independence.  However the term has been adopted by pro-Union commentators and politicians who use it to denigrate their online critics.

Several Unionist politicians, including Lord Foulkes, have themselves been caught posting imappropriate messages online.

In February 2012, Foulkes compared independence supporters who challenged his view on devolution, to Holocaust deniers.

In a tweet, the Labour peer said: "CyberNat myth that Devolution was forced on the Labour EU or Council of Europe (stories vary) is akin to Holocaust denial".

Another episode witnessed the former Labour MP and MSP use the shocking rape of a young girl to attack the SNP and independence.

He tweeted: "Horsemeat in school dinners,14 year old raped in City bus & Orkney firm in administration yet all we hear from SNP Govt. is more on Indyref!"

In September 2012 Lord Foulkes party colleague, Labour MSP Michael McMahon published a photograph of Alex Salmond standing alongside media mogul Rupert Murdoch with a caption that read "Remember the 96 Mr Salmond".

The '96' was a reference to the 96 people who died in 1989 during an FA Cup semi-final match between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

In February last year it emerged that Nicola Sturgeon had received death threats on her twitter account that threatened to "Kill the bitch".  The Deputy First Minister did not report the incident to the police and instead blocked the messages.

Commenting at the time, Ms Sturgeon said: "I hate to see stupid, offensive, downright ignorant rubbish from people purporting to believe the same stuff that I believe in.  But it is not just a problem from the Yes camp.  Some of the most diabolical stuff comes from people on the No side."

In another incident in 2012, a message posted on the official Facebook page of the No campaign contained a threat that bullets would be fired into SNP leaders.

The message from Gary Coburn, which read "I wish the vote was how many bullets do we get to fire into the SNP leaders." was allowed to remain for three days before being removed.

Months later another sick message from a Scottish Labour campaigner targeted the father of First Minister Alex Salmond.  Someone calling himself Daniel Kelly posted a message saying he wanted Mr Salmond’s father to die.


# IXL 2014-01-24 08:27
This is simply Murphy once again revealing his true self. Do a search online into his behaviour when a student. He was a "far left" activist with a senior position in the NUS. ( Incidentally I do not believe he ever managed to ACTUALLY Graduate )
There were many complaints about his activities and behaviour- NB when searching, do not simply accept the Wikipedia record about him. There's a LOT more dirt out there.

PS Murphy... You can have my full name and address anytime - I'm prepared in all circumstances. :-)
# tartanpigsy 2014-01-25 00:11
A bit here on Murphy,and I can now use ;)
# iain2013 2014-01-24 08:37
Mr Murphy seems to think that all Yes supporters are organised centrally, at Cyberat/Cabernat/Cabernet Sauvignon Together. What's happening is called genuine grassroots opinion, Mr Murphy. Quite different from the manufactured No Better Together UKOK astroturf outfit.
# Mad Jock McMad 2014-01-24 08:37
The stench of the naked fear of the likes of Murphy and his chums hangs heavy on the air.

Sawar's train crash and ridiculing on the BBC Scotland debate by ordinary members of the Scottish public clearly is hurting.

Anyone who points out the failure that is Labour in Scotland is now a 'cybernat' - Murphy is in the process of burning his own boats. Last night's stowed out at the Labour for Independence meeting must have hurt.
# WRH2 2014-01-24 08:39
I'm trying to figure out how the "cybernats" or even "Cabernets" would be identified or are MI5 even now checking who we are and drawing up lists of those to be banned. I too, am quite willing to tell them who I am but I'm definitely not a "Cabernet". I just don't have the muscles!
Doesn't Murphy have anything better to do than think up this tosh?
# Christian_Wright 2014-01-24 08:51
The eye sees not itself but by reflection. These Labour stalwarts stock-in-trade is the language of division, characterized by a visceral hatred of all things nationalist.

There are innumerable examples of dehumanising defamatory language directed at Alex Salmond and other leaders in the independence movement.

It encourages the less stable to believe violence in word and deed is justifiable. The never ending vilification of the First Minister is akin to brainwashing, creating a normalcy of practice. It delivers the message that feelings of contempt and rage toward him are reasonable and even laudable.

My concern has long been that this validation and encouragement of thuggery may lead to tragedy.
# connect2 2014-01-24 08:55
This is very sinister. I've no doubt that Murphy is expressing a sentiment common among Unionist politicians, particularly Labour politicians. The UK is a controlled democracy, similar to Russia and has, until recently enjoyed this control unchallenged. Now, with social media, crowd funding and other initiatives contributing to the debate, that control is now slipping. This terrifies Murphy and his fellow Labour politicians. Ordinary people are circumventing the traditional MSM (controlled, or controlling of the Unionist parties), to the great anger of those with vested interests in the Union remaining in place. Murphy's comments are in common with the events in the 1930s when governments in Italy, Germany and later, Spain, cracked down on freedoms. Murphy's comments are a serious threat to democratic freedoms; we should be worried. Will they be challenged in the MSM? Of course not. The slide to a darker society continues apace, with Murphy and others at the helm.
# Ben Power 2014-01-24 09:31
Shock horror, could it just be that Scots are actually thinking for themselves and that there is a growing groundswell of belief that Labour and Murphy actually only have self interest as their core.

Nae it must be mindless cybernats orchestrated by SNP.

The whole diatribe sounds like Unionist pollies elites actually want and will try to achieve censorship of our rights of free speech.
BBC apparent attempts to bully the uni academic are another example.
# X_Sticks 2014-01-24 09:35
I think Murphy's attack on the 'cybernats' is the beginning of the campaign I predicted to try and damage the online pro-indy community.

We scare the pants off them because, as connect2 says, they can't control it.

The continuation of the union has always relied on total control of the media to stifle debate. They have lost control, so now all they can do is to try and brand the online community as nasty, scary extremists in the hope that people won't engage in the online debate.

It's not going to work Jim.
# Leswil 2014-01-24 09:38
This is an attempt to exclude Indy supporters from debates as they know that when things are properly debated, they lose. They are trying to close that door, which is shameful and unacceptable. It just shows how low labour have sunk, with further to go.

In reference to the Cybernat comments, I would suggest he go and look at the bile and incredible comments from Britnats which out way the the venom shown from the Scottish side.

Bitter Labour is in panic mode as is all the Bitter Together mob, and panic they should. As they are being found out at every turn as there is NO POSITIVE CASE FOR THE UNION.
# cjmjr 2014-01-24 09:43
Citizen journalism will be the death of the union and its growing by the day, every lost paper sale adds to that growth as Scotland moves away from the London based mass media and their manipulation of the political agenda. They simply can't hide from the truth and we citizen journalists aka Cybernats are putting it out there for all to see. The BBc stopped us commenting on political stories because we were winning the argument, it did not stop us we simply moved on creating new forums and online news sites where they had no control at-all, we did not give up as they had hoped. Vote YES anything else is a vote for the Tories and their austerity agenda.
# creigs1707repeal 2014-01-24 09:53
So, Mr Murphy--when you do not like the message your solution is to silence the messenger. How exactly does that square with a free and democratic society?

My full contact details are avaialble upon request.
# Abulhaq 2014-01-24 09:58
The expression about heat and kitchen comes to mind here. With the No camp the divide between reasoned argument and abuse is becoming fudged. BT regularly bars Yes apologists for daring to offer a critique of comments on the site. Most abuse from Unionists seems to involve ad hominem attacks on SNP politicians or pro-Yes figures: and as for the Daily Mail......
# call me dave 2014-01-24 10:10
Aye Mr Murphy... You wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes in the days of the soap box in the town square.

You and your ilk hide behind the MSM in all it's forms and hardly meet 'the public'. Luckily the internet, in general, allows a flow of debate and ideas between folk.


Hooray! It’s official I can still be British.
# Breeks 2014-01-24 10:17
Is he serious??? What does he advocate? Brownshirts at every debate to haul Cybernats out of the audience like octogenarians at a Labour party conference?

Or cybernats compelled to sew a big yellow star of cybernatery on their clothing?
# Jimbo 2014-01-24 10:26
"There is a real worry that these anonymous cybernats who hide behind the safety of their computer keyboards in their bedrooms will come out into the public as the referendum comes closer,"

Firstly; Because Murphy beavers away at his computer in his bedroom doesn't mean we all do.

Secondly; Never in all my years of posting online have I seen any independence supporter use the kind of language towards a Unionist politician like this vile stuff directed at the First Minister and Deputy First Minister:

Warning the following link contains offensive language - NNS
# Spirtle 2014-01-24 13:22
That link reveals some pathetic individuals.

Nothing like a bit o reasoned debate eh!
Aye and some o these folk have a vote as well!

Each and every one of them should be put before their intended victims tae explain and humiliate themselves. Methinks they are all channelling the vacuous empty frustrated personal anger onto an issue which they cannae cope with. Fools the lot.
# cjmjr 2014-01-24 10:39
Breeks You Sir are a card. "Octogenarians at a Labour party conference? Love it.
# Dcanmore 2014-01-24 11:00
Kind of fitting that Scottish Labour MPs run to the Daily Mail to get their stories printed these days. With the shift of Labour to the right they make good bedfellows. Labour supporters in Scotland should take note.
# Rannoch 2014-01-24 11:04
Online criticism of Unionist politicians only exposes their lack of knowledge on any given subject.

The real worry for the Better Together campaign is the knowledge gained on-line by the so called "cybernats" which can be used against politicians like Murphy, who in most cases haven't a clue what they themselves are saying.
# RTP 2014-01-24 11:59
I like this one from DB.
# call me dave 2014-01-24 12:39
Currently Mundell and Smith getting a pasting on Brian's big debate BBC radio.

Patrick Harvie marvellous at debunking those scare stories.


Latest is those frigates will be built in Clydebank whether it's NO or YES.

Mr Carmichael... and Mr Davidson... we await your apology.


Murphy's law.
# Macart 2014-01-24 13:31
Apparently Mr Murphy fears discussion or challenge. I'm sure he'd rather just turn up late to this debate say his piece and have utter silence in reply.

Happily we still live in a democracy and Mr Murphy will indeed have to put up with challenge, noisy or otherwise.

As for cyber shame:
# zorbathejock 2014-01-24 14:04
I'm still waiting for Murphy to say if he supported the break up of Yugoslavia into the present independent countries. If he supported that union then fair enough ,he supports the present UK union.If he supported the break up then why is he opposed to Scotland becoming independent?
# ButeHouse 2014-01-24 14:40
The Daily Mail and Mr Murphy MP seem to fit well together - hand in glove. Excellent trick for a so called socialist.

I like the earlier post's asking if cybernats will have to sew a yellow star on their jackets.

If so it it will be worn with pride.
# Independista 2014-01-24 14:44
As far as I am aware, the only 'cybercommenter' to have been actually charged and CONVICTED is UNIONIST.
Podcaster David Limond was given a six month jail term after subjecting a journalist to racist and sectarian abuse last September, but as far as I am aware only one printnewspaper reported it.
It took on-line sites like Newsnet, Bella and Wings, to bring it to the public's attention.
Of course neither BBC nor STV thought it worth reporting, which tells you something about where they stand.
# Blanco 2014-01-24 14:47
There is only one sure way of avoiding the cybernats, and so this is my 'modest proposal'. Pass a law in the UK parliament banning the internet in Scotland. On you go Jim, as the man with the legislative power, bring decency and predictability back to cyberspace.
# proudscot 2014-01-24 15:20
I have always taken the view that lying pro-union politicians of all parties, such as Jim Murphy, Ian Davidson, Douglas Alexander, Maggie Curran, Anas Sarwar, etc., are the reason many people still vote Labour in Scotland. Their constant claims that they are still "the party of the people or the working man; the only credible alternative to the Tories"; etc., and their blatant stealing of SNP policies and then rebranding these as their own in recent Scottish Government by-elections, unfortunately fool genuine Labour supporters into continuing to vote for them.

This constant deception will only be stopped if and when Scots vote for independence. Only thereafter will these unionist fellow-travellers be seen for what they are, namely self-seeking, professional greasy-pole climbing careerists, fattening themselves at the Westminster taxpayer-funded trough.
# Radge 2014-01-24 15:24
Fortunately when the "Noble" Lord Foulkes gets on his Twitter high horse, one need only mention Drunk & Disorderly and Assaulting a Police Officer to put him back in his box.
# gus1940 2014-01-24 16:03
How about a Cybernat Car Sticker.

I would buy one.

Surely this disgraceful outburst from Murphy is a massive own goal and is capable of exploitation by YES.
# call me dave 2014-01-24 16:29
Information is getting out there!
Well done to them

and well done to her
# bringiton 2014-01-24 16:32
Well folks,it appears that we are having the desired effect.
When we have Unionists and their press pack attacking our online community,it is clear that they are deeply worried about the impact we are having on the debate.
Keep it up.
# theycantbeserious 2014-01-24 17:15
Murphy, from "ban the bomb" to "ban the cybernat" and "ban the democracy" that same democracy he has enjoyed throughout his life? that irony?
# Claverhouse 2014-01-24 17:46
I agree with Connect2..their grip is slipping along with their masks
I would love to tell Murphy who i am and i will forward my details onto him...but i will need to know what his address it home 1 or home 2!!
# Roll_On_2011 2014-01-24 18:09
What Jim Murphy believes Democracy should look like:
# bipod 2014-01-24 18:44
Jim Murphy and the Daily Mail with their new cybernat watch column would have us all believe that only Yes supporters post mean comments on the internet. It would literally only take me 5 seconds to find comments posted by no supporters that are far nastier than anything posted by any Yes supporter, you would only have to go onto the daily mails own website and click on a article with "Scotland" or "Alex Salmond" in the title and you would be swamped by a tidal wave of nasty and some down right racist comments. And that is without going onto the No campaigns facebook page.

It amazes me that these people can complain about this and still keep a straight face, because they all know damn well which side posts the most abuse on the internet.

Can you imagine what their reaction would be if AS or NS called on DC to reign in the Britnat posters on the web?
# bringiton 2014-01-24 19:01
Or how about reigning in their rabid British nation press ?
# weegie38 2014-01-26 07:55
How about reigning in their own MPs? After all, the current Shadow Scottish Secretary is on record as saying she wouldn't be disappointed if the First Minister died.
# Teri 2014-01-24 19:13
Since I'm sure there are cybernats living in most cities, towns and villages in Scotland, why don't we hold Mad Cybernatters' Tea Parties all over the country? Invite the meeja along to see us and talk to us and it will easily dispel the myths about us being created by the CyberUnicorns.
Murphy can come along and meet us all in person if he likes.
# Muz 2014-01-24 19:38
Is Len McCluskey a cybernat?

I bet Jim would like to get him excluded. You know ... for getting Jim sacked.
# Didnaeken 2014-01-24 21:27
I can't find any article from the Daily Mail, has it been taken down, if so then why?

How does Jim Murphy define criticism or what is insulting as no quotes have been given; is it having a difference of opinion?

I agree that there is a certain minority on both sides who could be insulting, but how does he know it's not a Unionist posting such insults. It works both ways & cannot make that claim without evidence.

If he's talking about a difference of opinion he'd be better to question everyone that agree or disagree on opinion polls, how far does it go?

The point I'm making is everyone has different opinions, but that doesn't make it offensive unless he can prove otherwise it is what he is claiming......
# bipod 2014-01-24 23:34
You can read about it on wings.
# gus1940 2014-01-25 14:02
The Scottish Edition of The Mail complete with its daily anti-SNP lie-replete rantings form Roden, Warner et al is not available on-line - at least I've never managed to find it.
# GrutsForTea 2014-01-25 00:00
This is nothing but an attempt to smear anyone who criticises Lab/Con as a "cybernat". I expect this line to be used after further TV debates that the audience was highjacked by "cybernats".

What makes him think that anonymity loving "cybernats" would suddenly decide to thrust themselves into the limelight of national TV?

Like so much of the Unionist guff it doesn't even make proper sense.
# ScotFree1320 2014-01-25 14:50
It seems that Mr. Murphy is going around the houses with this one, because it appeared in the Huffington Post just before Christmas. The comments on that article say it all.

Which tells us that this is the latest long-term plank of the No campaign's strategy to shut down the debate, by dehumanising, denigrating and ostracising all pro independence online campaigners whilst at the same time scaring undecideds from that forum.
# Ard Righ 2014-01-25 15:08

Inverting the projections of a public servant are the quickest approach to the truth, this is particularly so for those who evade reason.
# farrochie 2014-01-25 15:57
Has Murphy ever commented on his "leadership role" in organising parties against independence? I think not.

He no doubt developed good working relationships with Tories and LibDems while he was involved in this attempt to stifle Scotland's ambitions. He remains tight-lipped on his activities during those days.
# gus1940 2014-01-25 16:40
The Scottish Edition of today's Mail is again screaming about the great Cybernat Scandal and tries to make a connection with the current prosecution of misusers of Twitter elsewhere suggesting that Westminster may take action against the Cybernats.

Strangely this non-story is of such massive national significance that it doesn't merit the slightest mention in the on-line London Edition.

The hypocrisy of Murphy and The Mail over this great trumped-up scandal is monstrous - one only has to look at the Comments on the likes of The Mail, Express and Telegraph when they have a Scottish item to see the preaching of real hatred - not forgetting of course the cretins who fill the Comments section of The Scotsman and that quaint OBE character from Woking who seems to think that the more times he mentions Eck by name in his ludicrous musings in The Herald the more effect his twisted message will be.
# bringiton 2014-01-25 18:44
If the extreme right wing London press are complaining that we have broken the law then they should report matters to the police(which police however?)otherwise they are just trying to shut down the debate which is anti democratic.
They deserve the same scrutiny about their ownership,behav iour and motives as they are trying to subject the online community to.
We are clearly getting the Westminster establishment rattled so keep it up folks.

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