A few months ago, I wrote here about the launch of a Twitter account under the name Where’s Charlie? by Ian Blackford. It seemed to me then (and now) a clear attempt to personalise the contest on grounds which were undesirable and unnecessary. Mr Kennedy’s fragility was scarcely a state secret. On top that, he was coping with a string of tragedies and losses.
Mr Blackford protested that he was merely raising a legitimate political question. Yet within days, one of his closest associates, a Mr Brian Smith who is, I understand, a former police officer, was using Twitter for exactly the purpose I had predicted, to ask if Mr Kennedy had “a ‘Problem’ that stops you going to Westminster?”.
Mr Smith’s activities were not confined to any one site. Day after day, he bombarded Charles Kennedy’s Twitter and Facebook sites with allegations, abuse and innuendoes. On 27th January, replying to a tweet from Peter Wishart MP, he referred to Mr Kennedy as “our own arch-Quisling”.
Mr Smith sent at least 115 offensive tweets to Charles Kennedy between January and May as well as countless Facebook messages. He was not alone. A member of Charles’s constituency staff worked full-time on deleting abuse from his own social media sites. Any attempt to communicate on behalf of his own campaign met with another torrent of well-orchestrated poison.Isn't "civic nationalism" wonderful?