By a Newsnet reporter  
A pro-Union blogger who regularly appears on BBC Scotland political programmes has caused anger after using a racist term in an online exchange.
Solicitor Ian Smart, who describes himself as a "Lefty lawyer and Scottish Labour Party hack", claimed 'Poles' and 'Pakis' would suffer if Scotland became independent and that a century of Tory rule was preferable to independence.

Labour supporting Mr Smart, who is a former president of the Law Society of Scotland, caused outrage after he tweeted:

"Better 100 years of the Tories than the turn on the Poles and the Pakis that would follow independence failing to deliver."

Challenged to explain his racist comment, Mr Smart implied that many Scots were currently anti-English and that independence would see the country turn on other minorities when they no longer had the English to blame.

He added: "That those unable any more to blame the English will need somebody else to blame.  Seems obvious."

Despite being asked to remove the offensive tweet, a defiant Mr Smart refused and, using a derogatory term, went on to compare supporters of independence with the Ku Klux Klan, tweeting:

"Lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the cybernats tonight.  Also lots of WE ARE NOT RACISTS tweets from the KKK in Alabama. LoL"

The messages were condemned by others using the social media site and come at a time when both sides in the independence debate have issued calls for an end to online abuse and offensive messages.

Following the exchanges the solicitor posted an article on his blog in which he appeared to regret the use of the terms 'Poles and Pakis', but claimed the sentiments expressed were not meant to represent his own.

However the pro-Union blogger claimed the outrage that resulted from his use of the racist term was 'hysteria'.

He wrote: "I should have put the words 'Poles and Pakis' in quotation marks for it is clearly a sentiment I was ascribing to others.  I also accept that, for some people, even when put in the mouths of others the "P word" is never acceptable.  But I did not for a moment expect the hysteria that has followed."

However, Mr Smart repeated his earlier claims that Scots who had voted Yes would turn on other ethnic groups if things did not work out as expected.  Citing Jews, Gypsies, Asians and Anglo-Irish as historical examples of victimisation he said backed his claims, he added:

"Throughout I have attempted to make the simple point that the part (and it is only a part) of the Nationalists support that currently blame the English for all our woes, would, inevitably, on finding that Independence is not a cure for all our ills, look round for somebody else to blame."

Mr Smart also claimed Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon should shoulder part of the blame for what he described as "a small element of the SNP support, particularly drawn to the internet, who seem to me to winding themselves up in to a state of near hysteria about the Referendum."

He added: "They are not being helped by remarks such as those made by Nicola Sturgeon that the alternative to a Yes vote would be 'nothing'."

Ms Sturgeon’s remarks were a reference to more powers currently being promised by Unionist parties as part of the devolution settlement if Scots reject independence.  Independence supporters have suggested that a No vote will, like the seventies when Scots were promised something better after the failed 1979 vote on a Scottish Assembly, end with nothing being offered.

A recent poll conducted by Yougov has suggested that only 33 per cent of Scots believe Unionists will keep their word to grant more powers to the Scottish Parliament should Scots vote No in 2014.

The row over the racist tweet has led to independence supporting filmmaker Jack Foster creating a short satirical video lambasting the continual attempts by Unionists to demonise their independence opponents and the hypocrisy of denouncing as racist, people who challenged Mr Smart’s tweets.


# clootie 2013-05-06 20:12
Only a bigot would use that term.

I would not expect a left leaning labour party hack to use it.

The above assumes of course that he is a socialist by values held and not for the opportunities available.
# Macart 2013-05-06 20:14
Absolutely beyond belief isn't it? Following Mr Smart's thought process to a logical conclusion, the English are required as hate figures to prevent an inherently racist Scots populace turning on other minorities? This to be followed by a tweet comparing the cybernats to the KKK which apparently is a laugh out loud joke.

Words fail.
# maisiedotts 2013-05-07 08:07
Only a racist would automatically THINK of comparing the SNP with KKK. In fact it's a rare occurrence to hear about the KKK in the news nowadays not something that springs to mind easily (nor should do) in multicultural Scotland is it?

He's got one very sick mind. I wonder how he explains the huge numbers of "English" people who are essentially Scottish by residence who will vote YES next year? They also post on-line do they target the English ........ or Westminster?
# Macart 2013-05-07 09:26
As I posted only recently maisie, we keep our own noses clean and let bullies, racists and bigots paint themselves into a corner. We know its about politics and principle, its about Westminster governance and Holyrood governance. Its about the right to choose. The likes of Mr Smart and other prominent BT members want it to be otherwise.

In their dreams.
# Soloman 2013-05-06 21:01
You can find some strange stuff when trying to find out about someone!
# Peter A Bell 2013-05-06 21:08
I reckon the targets of Smart's derogatory and demeaning language have more pressing concerns that the drunken Sunday night twittering of some hate-filled British nationalist bladder. And it's not really my place to be offended on their behalf in any case.

What I am less inclined to shrug off is the profoundly insulting suggestion that, absent the restraining hand of a beneficent and paternalistic British state, the people of Scotland are bound to degenerate into a seething mass of ethnic violence.

Smart's attitude to Scotland puts me in mind of the history books we still had when I was at school in which the "Fuzzy Wuzzies" were portrayed as the grovellingly grateful beneficiaries of the British Empire's civilising influence. Such is the sneering contempt in which we are held by British Labour.
# oldnat 2013-05-06 21:11
And when challenged again today, this exchange took place.

klocked this
I see. So to recap. Happy with 100 yr Tory Gov & anti English bigotry.
Shall I put that down as your positive case for the Union? @ianssmart

Ian Smart
@klockedthis I'm never happy with either but they are preferable to independence. That's where I started.
# springster 2013-05-06 21:12
Mr Smart has a very high profile and is so well thought of by the BBC that he regularly appears as a pundit on both TV and Radio.

This is not some idiot keyboard loner firing off ill thought out obscenities. This guy is a lawyer, former president of the Law Society in Scotland and a well known TV pundit.

As such, this is a much bigger story than the Susan Calman incident for which there still seems to be no evidence for the more serious 'death threat' claim.

Will we see BBC Scotland cover this episode in the same manner as 'Calman-gate'? We'll see tomorrow. Be interesting to see if they have a term to describe pro-Union online campaigners.

Jack McConnell's intervention is unbecoming for a former First Minister. He would do well to reflect on his own exchanges, one in which he appears to admit 'baiting' his opponents.
# jjmac 2013-05-06 21:55
This is absolutely disgraceful language from anyone, far less from a man of his standing.
What we must be wary off is that we do not fall into the same trap. Thank god for the moderation on this site because at times I have pressed the send button a miillisecond..well maybe more, before the red mist subsides.Maybe this facility is not available on Twitter. Thanks again Newsnet moderators.
# 1scot 2013-05-06 22:28
jjmac, A man of his standing??? He just fell off the proverbial cliff, and left with no standing, whatsoever.
# jjmac 2013-05-06 22:42
Totally agree. All that's left for him now is to hit the proverbial rock bottom.
Not that I would wish that on anyone.
# Macallan 2013-05-06 23:18
Given that Leigh Griffiths was charged over an alleged racist tweet for which he had almost immediately apologised for - I take we can expect to see police charges in this case . Or is there a different set of rules for ex-presidents of the Law Society of Scotland and BBC contributors who back the Union
# Massan_Gow 2013-05-06 23:48
I think you will find, Mr Smart (a misnomer if ever there was one), that 'hysteria' is the mainstream media getting their 'knickers in a twist' about a comedienne who claimed to have heard she had had death threats. One would have thought a lawyer would have been privy to the idea of proof.

Of course, no hysteria by said media when it comes to 'dodgy donations' so we can be rest assured this will blow over nicely for you.

Those comments/tweets, however, shame your profession as well as yourself but having seen your rantings in the past I'm hardly surprised.

I'm only glad you are on the Better Together 'side' as I would not want to be associated with and tarred as the same ilk as you.
# oldnat 2013-05-07 00:02
Actually, Calman never claimed to have received death threats. She said they were a bad thing - with which we would all agree.

It was including the phrase in the first line of the Scotsman story, which implied that she had received them.
BBC Scotlandshire does actually contain accurate reports (occasionally!)
# cjmasta 2013-05-07 01:22
Well if the BBC fail to report this one with even half the vigor over the Calman supposed incident then I think it would be a good thing to say to those who maybe aren`t convinced that the BBC have an agenda that here is the evidence and it`s happening right here, right now.
I look forward to getting in from work tomorrow night to see if this will be picked up on by any of the unionist leaning media.
# Roll_On_2011 2013-05-07 04:13
OT - Have just come across this article in the Indy:

“ Britain is a worse place to be a mother than most of its European neighbours, including Germany, France and Ireland, claims a global survey of women's health and political influence.

This country's levels of maternal and infant mortality are higher than in many Western nations, while numbers of women in government in Britain are far lower than around the world. The UK was ranked 23rd in the annual Mothers' Index compiled by Save the Children. “

The article goes on to say:

“ The top three positions were filled by Finland, Sweden and Norway. “

Shurely shome mishtake here… this after all is Great Britain. Perhaps ‘Tethered Together’ will add this to their positive reasons to stay in the UK.
# Macart 2013-05-07 06:05
Near as I can tell only the Scottish Sun has picked up on this story.

Now considering the blanket coverage given to the Calman issue last week, an issue based on allegations of social media abuse, where does this leave any objective person's view of the Scottish press? Online independence support was deliberately demonized and villified by the press for an allegation of online assault and foul language. Mr Smart however feels quite free and safe to make out that Scots are racist and that in particular independence supporters are no different from the KKK. Balance anyone?
# maisiedotts 2013-05-07 09:25
Herald have now posted an article too.
# Legerwood 2013-05-07 15:26
The Herald had a fairly large article on this in their print edition this morning.
# admiral 2013-05-07 06:55
OT but the latest scare stories - sorry, "positive case for the Union" - in today's press:

- Scotsman - what will happen to the Lottery in an independent Scotland?

- The Times - an independent Scotland will struggle to maintain electricity/energy supplies.

This would be the same Scotland whose share of Lottery funds was diverted to pay towards the London Olympics and the same Scotland that generates an electricity surplus and exports it (at a cost) to England.

Just too wee, too poor and too stupid to manage anything, eh?

Couldn't make it up (except they do).
# fairliered 2013-05-07 23:32
Quoting admiral:
OT but the latest scare stories - sorry, "positive case for the Union" - in today's press:

- Scotsman - what will happen to the Lottery in an independent Scotland?

- The Times - an independent Scotland will struggle to maintain electricity/energy supplies.

This would be the same Scotland whose share of Lottery funds was diverted to pay towards the London Olympics and the same Scotland that generates an electricity surplus and exports it (at a cost) to England.

Just too wee, too poor and too stupid to manage anything, eh?

Couldn't make it up (except they do).

Stopped buying lottery tickets when they were used to subsidise Olympics. Only buy Euromillions now. That won't change after independence.
# bringiton 2013-05-07 08:08
This person's track record on predicting future events has been well wide of the mark (remember his prediction that AS didn't want a referendum and that it would never happen).
I wouldn't give his latest one the time of day and in any case,Scots can see what 30 years of Thatcher rule from London means to them and if he thinks that people want another 70 years of that then he needs assistance with his mental processes.
# Leader of the Pack 2013-05-07 08:12
Rather an unelected Tory Government ruling Scotland than a democratically elected Labour party. I honestly cannot digest this sentiment comming from a very prominant and vocal long term Labour party member. Is their hatred of democratic nationalism so intense they would happily cut their own throats to remain enthralled? Or are they simply terrified of losing their own substantial perks and gravy they milk from the corrupt Westminster system of Government? At least the latter can be understood if not condoned.
Some people would rather have a chance to sit in the House of Lords than see their own country democratically Governed and run from within.
# Abulhaq 2013-05-07 08:17
The word "Paki" rolled off his finger tips a little to easily for comfort. It is an offensive term. Like the n-word it is hate term. Unionism is morally and intellectually bankrupt. May the Scottish People soon be free of it!
# 1314 2013-05-07 08:17
I think we are being given the runaround here. As others have pointed out this guy is no keyboard numpty, so does it not seem strange that, after last week, we now have somebody in the opposing camp apparently making a sitting target of himself.

Note his spin on his own words as reported in the Sun. If the BBC make anything at all of this it will give him an opportunity to emphasise the NO line of narrow nationalism as opposed to the YES line of internationalis m.

For this to backfire on the NO camp he would have to be seriously challenged by supposedly neutral journalists on the BBC etc, and how likely is that. And even if they did have a real go at him it still plays into the NO narrative of making a mess of what should be a more serious, elevated, non-party debate.

They love this stuff, and the more they can engage in a mud fight, the better it suits them.

We have stop playing this closed loop game.
# farrochie 2013-05-07 08:24
Well done to the caller to Call Kaye who brought up Ian Smart in the discussion of footballers as role models.

Kaye shut the conversation down in short order, but too late, the point was made. The BBC is deciding what news you will hear and what you will not hear.
# gus1940 2013-05-07 11:17
He really had her struggling.

Of course after she suggested that he should complain to The BBC and not her she closed the discussion without allowing him to reply with the obvious answer that complaining to The BBC was a total waste of time.

Today's bbcscotlandshir e article is on Smart and is excellent.
# RTP 2013-05-07 10:03
Jack McConnell's intervention is unbecoming for a former First Minister and also a Lord?? is there not some way he could be reported to the House of Lords for supporting rascist remarks made by an
ex-president of the Law Society of Scotland and see if some action could be taken against him.
# RTP 2013-05-07 10:49
OT but strength to our arm.

Massive oil payback in pipeline as platform repaired

ENERGY giant Taqa has started work to potentially unlock 1billion barrels of oil in the North Sea.

"Taqa managing director Mr Koot commented substantial investment in repairs not only keeps this section of the North Sea profitable,but it also protects long-term security of the UK "Scotland my insert" oil supply."
Oh dear Darling and here was I thinking that Scotland could not rely on oil as according to you and the likes of Moore and Alexander we could not manage this volatile commodity and it was running out just as we were told in the 70s.
# maisiedotts 2013-05-07 12:22
Right on cue the latest scare story courtesy of BBC which ignores the territorial waters and resources of Scotland
# Macart 2013-05-07 13:27
Hah, as you say right on cue.

Still international law, the continental shelf and of course our own settled borders dictate what that outcome will be. That's one issue which will not be up for negotiation.
# pomatiaH1 2013-05-07 14:55
We can add other points, as in, when Canada, New Zealand, Australia and all the other countries of the Commonwealth became Independent, the deal wasn't, "OK but the UK keeps all you mineral assets".
# Macart 2013-05-07 15:43
Exactly. Mind you it won't stop the media from releasing rot like this every day between now and the referendum. Never let facts or logic get in the way of a good story. :)
# maisiedotts 2013-05-07 16:16
O/T the Guardian has an article about energy efficiency targets and the EPCs for existing housing. Once more Scotland's Government proposals get done down.
# cuckooshoe 2013-05-07 18:27
I burst laughing this morning when I heard the chirpy newsreader on BBC Scotland News, during BBC 1 Breakfast, use the word 'warning' and independence' in the same sentence.. It has not gone unnoticed.. ;)
# bringiton 2013-05-07 13:04
A common theme from most of the No Better Together people is the low esteem they hold their fellow Scots in.
According to them,without Westmister rule,we would descend into a nation of poverty stricken,bigott ed racists.
Would you vote for someone with these views?
Labour has been trying to hide the fact that working class people in Scotland have been disenfranchised by their pursuit of voters in England since Blair took over
Nothing will change because English voters are still on their neoliberal road and will continue to impose this view on Scots as long as Greater Engand persists.
# From The Suburbs 2013-05-07 14:36
All mothers should vote YES in 2014 referendum for Scandinavian style of social democracy rather than stick to Westminster’s welfare cuts and a UK which is the fourth most unequal country in the developed world thanks to the social and economic policies of successive London governments.

The Save the Children’s State of the World’s Mothers report for 2012 ranks the best countries to be a mother in are:

1 Finland 2 Sweden 3 Norway 4 Iceland 5 Netherlands 6 Denmark UK is 23rd
# Galen10 2013-05-07 16:29

A number of people on twitter have been talking about making a complaint about Ian Smart's comments to the Law Society. I imagine the more people who do this the better on the grounds of professional misconduct, bringing profession into disrepute and use of intemperate and racist language.

Link for the process here:
# Dee 2013-05-07 21:24
Bbc Scotland re also back to the usual opening dramatic scare headlines, with using the words ,, Warning and Independence being used in the first sentence, so predictable .
# allanandkate 2013-05-08 04:37
Do these people actually think that we are blind AND stupid? I like my mince and tatties, but this verbal mince from The Animal Farm directors just stinks. Please be kind towards my first comment on this site...A and K.
# gus1940 2013-05-08 07:49
At this stage it is very difficult to judge just how valuable to the YES Campaign this guy Smart is but judging from his laughably inept performance on last night's Scotland Tonight he must be worth as much as the Tweedledum amd Tweedledee of THe Axis Of Lunacy in The Scotsman those gallant fighters for Independence Messrs. Gray and McKay.
# Viking Girl 2013-05-08 09:54
Iain Smart. 07.05.13. Scotland Today. Interview John McKay
Mr Smart seems to be in denial about his inappropriate language.
He tried to excuse it by saying it was 'a tweet.'
He went on to mention Susan Calman, possibly to distract us from the pejorative nature of his 'tweet.'
Mr Smart seems to have the power of prophesy. He thinks he can forecast that violence towards foreigners would ensue in the result of a 'No' vote in 2013.
This fits neatly with the current publication of the book linking Scottish Nationalism to National Socialism.
He finished by saying his 'tweet' was being 'used as a stick to beat me,' neatly casting himself in the role of victim.
If he was able to look into his own heart, he might see that he made the stick himself.
# kenneth_clark336 2013-05-08 11:12
Jenny Hjul has an article in today's Courier entitled "Venomous invective that shines a light on the dark underbelly of separatism". Concentrating on Roseanna Cunningham, it states that "Nationalists are becoming so wound up in their quest for independence that a level of intolerance, bitterness and hatred is now entering the debate". The word xenophobic is used by an academic who now fears for his safety, and the article ties his fears in with "a Scottish comedian" who has received "death threats". Note the plural. This trashy piece of red top journalism ends with, "a side-effect of the Nationalists' urge to break up Britain is the destruction of goodwill." However, a letter on the previous page claims Salmond is aiming for a "racist divorce from the union". Language such as this is never used by any of the YES letters I have read in this paper. There may be a dark underbelly to this debate, but I know where it lurks and I'm sure Jenny Hjul does too.
# Frankly 2013-05-10 09:21
# cokynutjoe 2013-05-10 09:34
"Smart Boy Wanted", but not too smart!

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