By Alan Smart
I spent a real good day and night at the Commonwealth Games on Thursday 31st July soaking up the atmosphere and doing a bit of busking both at the SECC complex and later at Hampden.
I love busking. A nice wee earner, but also a great vantage point from which to observe, get the vibe and have a natter with random folks passing by.
And the vibe on Thursday was fantastic. A great day for Jamaica at Hampden, and one of my highlights was playing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song for a group of Jamaicans in honor of the 1,.2,3 their athletes had just pulled off in the 200m, even with Usain Bolt sitting the sub’s bench. And folks of every other country, but mostly Scots, joining in the chorus.
And earlier, down at the SECC it was just as good. England had done fantastically well in the Gymnastics all wee ,and again that day with three golds in the individual apparatus events. But that day Scotland, through an inspired Dan Keatings, had won our first and only gymnastics gold, and that made it that bit special. So special, that I lost count of the many English fans who came up to me to say how pleased they were Scotland had won that Gold, because the fantastic mostly Scottish crowds had cheered their gymnasts from start to finish all week, and they wanted the chance to reciprocate. And they, as visitors from a rival team had been made so welcome all over the city and beyond.
I could detail so many brilliant anecdotes from just that one day I could write a book. But in short, it was fantastic.
When though I arrived home on the early hours of the first day of August, I checked my twitter fed to find it had gone mental. Why? Because some time just after 9pm on that uplifting day, my brother Ian.Smart, the well known Labour blogger and TV pundit had tweeted what must surely be his worst ever offensive and politically calculated comments? And the have been plenty already.
This one read:
“So two black English lassies cheered all the way round Hampden. I suspect Eck is crying into his soup”
Where does he get this toxic drivel from, I asked myself?
Pished that early on a Thursday evening?
Maybe. But sadly it is more calculated than this. This is his well worn script: The First Minister of Scotland and leader of the SNP hates the English. and he hates black ones in particular.
And of course if this is the outlook of the leader of the SNP, implicitly near all Yes supporters must be like this
And more fundamentally, Scotland as a country must be a real hateful place as its democratically elected First Minister is a racist, and none of us seem to care or notice, except my brother -.and a select band of astute card carrying members of the Labour Party in Scotland.
But not in my Scotland. The real one. The one I saw close up the very moment my brother was tweeting his bile from a sofa in his comfortable home in Kilsyth
So what, some of you are asking? I got a dumb minted brother. Get over it.
But Ian Smart ain’t just my brother. He is the most prominent Labour blogger in Scotland. He is a recent past President of the Law Society of Scotland. He is a former member of the Scottish Executive of the Labour Party. He is a many times wannabe Labour candidate for countless seats at Westmister and Holyrood, for which one has to be vetted and endorsed by the highest echelons of the Labour Party. He is a personal friend of near the entire Labour Party leadership in.Scotland. He is a personal friend of the Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland.
He is “Labour establishment”
No anonymous, youthful, stupid cyber troll. A mainstream figure. In effect an unofficial and endorsed spokesperson for the Labour Party in Scotland.
I used to work in TV journalism and know how it all works. Folks like my brother end up regularly on TV panels as proxies for main line politicians. They don’t speak officially for their party, but they give an implicitly endorsed insight into what their party and its leadership is thinking. Why they get on. Were they not, they would rarely if ever be asked to fulfill the roles of “insiders”
So this is my direct question to Johann Lamont: Is my brother, Ian Smart, someone you have personally known for near on 40 years, still one of your party’s insiders, proxy spokepersons? Do you agree with his tweet? Do you too suspect Eck was “crying into his soup” at the sight of Scottish crowds cheering black English athletes?
And if you don’t – and I hope you don’t – what action will you be taking against Ian Smart, leading Labour Party member, for this latest offensive tweet? His worst , but only one of many he has.made in recent months? Here is a link to a Wings Over Scotland post which documents most of them, if you’ve forgotten
Jack MacConnell, personal friend of my brother for almost as long, and the most prominent Labour voice calling for a moderation in tone from all sides in the referendum debate, what do you think of my brother’s comments, the latest one specifically?
Alastair Darling, who has called on Alex Salmond to speak out on cyber abuse, what are you going to do about this man on your own side and own party? And a fellow lawyer, a recent past President of your own Law Society?
John Boothman, Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland, four decades long a personal friend of my brother, fellow Labour Party student activist from the 1979 devolution era, what do you think? Why, with your journalistic team so apparently keen to highlight cyber abuse ,do you ignore the highest profile serial cyber abuser in Scotland? Indeed, constantly invite him onto your programmes to pontificate on everyone else, but never ask him about his own activities?
I even sometimes wonder if there are two Ian Smart’s: I just re-watched on iplayer Ian on.BBC Scotland’s Scotland 2014 from the evening of immediately prior to his latest offessive tweet about the First Minister and the Commonwealth Games crowd. He was one of two live panel pundits at the end of the programme. He was introduced by host Sarah Snith as “Labour blogger, Ian Smart”. And the first item discussed, the games.
Here my bother stated:
“People have been told to keep politics out of the games, and I think this is right”
But he himself had already brought politics into the Games as early as the Opening Ceremony with a widely discussed and wholly tasteless tweet about the Ukranian Malaysian air disaster, made just after Scotland’s First Minister had led a 1 minutes silence for its victims.
Did Sarah Smith not know that? Or, more likely, is there an implicit understanding that a BBC Scotland presenter can ask John Boothman’s chum about anything except his own cyber posts?
And then, less than 24hrs after telling BBC Scotland flagship current affairs programme that politics should be kept out of the games, he posts an offensive, unsupported and highly racially charged tweet about Scotland’s First Minister and the crowd at the blue ribbon venue of the games.
Is my brother even credible?
But he is. He is the Scottish Labour Party’s main proxy spokrsperson in Scotland. Well known to the lot of them, from Johann Lamont down.
One phone call from Johann to Ian could put an end to the bile he spews out. One phone call from Johann’s office to the BBC making it clear that Ian was no longer to be considered a proxy spokesperson for Scottish Labour would soon see his invites dry uo
So how about it Johann?
Scottish media, check it out!
But you might have to wake some of them up first.
Ian Smart. Chair Glasgow University Labour Club, 1978
Margaret Curran, Secretary, Glasgow University Labour Club, 1979
Johann Lamont, Committee member, Glasgow University Labour Club, 1978
John Boothman, Chair, Strathclyde University Labour Club, 1979.
Alan Smart (Me), Chair of Glasgow University Labour Club, 1980
Check oot ma album of Yes Songs at http://www.citizensmart.net