I don’t normally blog about politics.
It’s not something I feel comfortable discussing.
It’s just one of those subjects where it’s important to have a view – but there’s no winning in a debate about it. Mostly because people can get very aggressive if you don’t see things their way.
So until recently, I preferred to remain silent on the subject.
But when the lovely folks over at BritMums were looking to do a post about Scottish Independence, they asked me if I’d write the point of view of the No voter.
If indeed I am voting No (or Better Together – which is the official title of the campaign to keep us in the UK).
They already had a blogger to write a post on why she was voting Yes, and another who was in the “Undecided” camp.
Of course, everyone assumes I’d vote No because I’m English.
I’m a Geordie. But since I left the Toon aged 18 to pursue my career, and I’ve now been in Scotland for 19 years, I can honestly say that this beautiful country has been my home for the majority of my life.
And, as it happens, I am in the No camp.
But not because of where I was born – just simply because I’m not yet convinced there are proper plans in place to run the country, that we won’t be plunged into an economic crisis by politicians who don’t yet know what the hell they are doing, that our losses won’t outnumber our gains.
But there are other points of view, and if you want to read the BritMums round-up, check it out here.
I agreed to write my thoughts – fully prepared that some abuse would be coming my way. And for that reason I didn’t go back and monitor the comments which would undoubtedly be left on the post afterwards.
Until this week that is….
Stupid, I know. But I took a peek at what others were saying and ended up feeling pretty upset and angry.
Comments like “Have you heard of the white paper Donna?” and inferences that 20 years in the future my kids might be ashamed of me, left me with a bitter taste in my mouth.
I am continually amazed by those who think they’re going to turn you over to their perspective by belittling you with sarcasm or insults.
They call themselves passionate, claiming they’re entering into ‘rigorous political debate’.
I say if someone finds you offensive, you need to take a long hard look at yourself and your tone (especially when writing something down and not addressing someone face to face) – rather than banging on in the same vein.
But the two weeks of comments (none of which involved any slurs against the other two writers) left me feeling I needed a right of reply.
And so after an almost sleepless night, I typed up my response, ending with “…that’s just my point of view. An informed choice. You are welcome to make yours.”
You’ll see it, among the many comments.
It seemed I wasn’t the only one unnerved, as another blogger immediately contacted me via social media to say she’d felt uneasy and thought I was being unnecessarily attacked. She was relieved I’d responded – and thought my reply was measured under the circumstances.
Anyway, I felt better for it. And I have no regrets about taking part in this particular round-up.
The following day, I was distressed to see #WhyImVotingUkip was trending on Twitter.
Now I’m all for letting people do their own thing at the ballot box. But this was like reading that the nation was selling its soul to the devil. So I put out a tweet…..
I’d been too afraid to check out the hashtag for myself, fearing another tirade of abusive messages – this time with a healthy sprinkling of racism, homophobia, xenophobia and the like mixed in.
But when other Twitterers reassured me I wouldn’t be disappointed, I took a look.
The party had naively tried to get the hashtag trending to promote themselves. But the rest of social media had hijacked it to let Ukip know what they really thought.
And if the previous day had been a political pain in the posterior, that day proved to be a political hoot, which restored my faith in mankind.
Here’s some of my favourite tweets, which had me crying with laughter at my desk:
This cheered me up no end, and the following day I went to place my vote for the Euro elections.
As I write this, there are reports coming in that Ukip have enjoyed some success down south (a better argument for Scottish Independence than any of the rants levelled at me earlier in the week!)
Only 36% turned out to vote, which made my heart sink into my boots.
But once again Twitter cheered me up, by reminding me the party isn’t as victorious as it would have us believe:
Oh and one of the more ferocious commenters on the BritMums page has come back to have another go at me.
This time, I glanced at the final paragraph of her rant, and decided from its tone that I didn’t need to read the rest. Although I did leave a comment asking her to just agree to disagree. (Who’s betting this will lead to more abuse? The woman’s like a dog with a bone).
I certainly won’t be going back over to check.
Politics. It’s a dirty old game.