top of page


‘Scum’ is that word used when you want to take an insult to the next level. Call someone a proper ‘vile’ human being and mean it.

Without excusing it… it’s so overused these days it’s lost a certain bite to it.

BBC’s James Cook was caught on video receiving abuse from Independence-supporting protestors outside the Conservative leader's debate in Perth last night.

One man shouted, “you’re a liar, a traitor!” Another shouted “scumbag”

There was a difference in tone between the two of them. The guy calling him a liar was shouting it at Cook with serious emotion behind it. The other boy made it sound like a throwaway comment. You’d have thought it would be the other way round with how severe an insult ‘scumbag’ traditionally is.

It’s almost become a trend. Down south you’ve got a ‘F*ck the Tories’ movement. If you’re a true, woke liberal then you better expect some dirty looks at the next protest if you don’t call them scum… or something along those lines.

I was at Kelburn Garden Party this summer and one of the DJs even played the tune Liverpool & Everton fans have been signing to it. ‘F*ck the Tories’ was put in massive letters on the digital screen behind as he did so. People singing along to it, smiling, laughing… not exactly Woodstock 69 but mibbe a cooncil version of what the artist wanted it to be. Closer to Woodstock 99 in terms of the message it sent, without all the chaos, truthfully.

People say it without emotion anaw. I hear it at the fitbaw aw the time… ‘The scum are 1 up.’ That could easily be associated with any of the teams involved in the biggest rivalries in the country.

But it’s no a word that should become normalised in politics. It’s hurtful and it’s often directed at quite ordinary folk doing nae harm. BBC’s Cook was literally getting footage of the protest the person shouting it was involved in… to publicise their cause.

There's always two sides to a coin but. Where else do these people get to vent their emotions?

Online? On, at times, toxic digital platforms, with easily-misconstrued, one-dimensional communication? With the very real potential of anxiety-inducing backlash for no being able to put yer point across like politicians eloquently do?

Fair point… go to the polls then. Vote, no? Dae it fair and square?

The problem with that argument is that’s exactly why these people were ragin last night.

Most elected MSPs in Parliament represent independence-supporting, referendum promising parties. If you count the votes from the Scottish General Election in total (regional & list), most of them went to these parties anaw.

And yet bookies favourite to be the next PM is saying that the Scottish First Minister will simply be “ignored.” And, thereby, also ignoring those voting with the intention of wanting another referendum. It’s these very folk expressing their anger.

Why are words like scum being thrown about? I’m no a rocket scientist but it’s probably a lack of places to be properly heard that leads to these words being used. I’m no condoning it but let’s tell both sides.

Why is the man shouting ‘traitor’ and ‘liar’? He probably feels betrayed. Lies are being told about the movement he feels passionately about. Just because he doesny have the speak James Cook is able to spout, this doesny make him any less relevant.

Some of you will be hinkin wow, bold call saying lies are being telt. But in fairness, they are. And it’s being made legit by high-end politicians leading our political parties. Look at this Tweet fae last night which was then endorsed by Alex Cole-Hamilton, leader of the Scottish Lib Dems:

Spitting at pensioners? I actually burst out laughing when I saw this. That’s an utter fabrication by a boy that’s got increasingly excited as he’s typing out the Tweet.

I dunno what Bowie is smoking but he’s mibbe hittin a bad yin. Someone gee him a text the day, see if he’s alright after his trip.

Am no saying one side is innocent either by way. Folk across the board are at it aw the time in politics… and, like most people, I didny agree wi the stuff being shouted at Cook last night.

But, like in all situations in life, it's handy to play devil’s advocate and consider other folk’s opinions even if they are shaudily displayed… specially voices that are clearly no being heard.

& am no saying James Cook deserves the brunt. Far from it. Fae the praises being sung about the guy reacting to the video, sounds like a decent enough guy just daein his job.

But, in the same breath, we need to be careful and no de-legitimise the views of ordinary people… cos the language and actions used are just gonnae get worse.

Why? Well, folk areny happy wi the BBC and gee or take naebody’s saying a word outside Twitter. Just last week they had to change their headline cos ae how bias it came across.

Or the lack of ability to get a decent interview wi Douglas Ross during the Conservative leadership contest. Or the similar absence of Anas Sawar when Keir Starmer categorically ruled out Scotland’s route back to the EU. Or when Jeremy Corbyn was ignored after expressing his concern for democracy if we deny Scotland the independence vote. Just to name a few.

Again, naebody’s perfect. But when the stream of Tweets come rolling in the day about the ‘bile’ and ‘hatred’ that the Scottish independence movement stirs up… and, ironically, the heavy abuse online both this boy and Nicola Sturgeon will get in return… have a second thought for the person feeling the need to shout these things at a journalist. Why is it they feel this is their only chance to say something hard-hitting and get noticed? Maybe this guy represents one of the statistics you hear on the tele about folk no being able to feed their bairns, with his mental health taking a paggering over several years after the pandemic and aw the other carry-on we’ve been through. He might be coming off the back of waiting hours on an ambulance for a loved one, and unable to shake a horrible feeling of being used at how politicised services like the NHS are in the media.

And this man probably hinks the only way to sort it all this is to rid Scotland of Westminster rule… could be a bad shout. Might be an awful shout. But end of the day it’s his shout that he’s entitled to.

And aye, the boy beside him’s hud a shocker calling Cook a scumbag. Was uncalled for & it should be held accountable.

And shouting ‘liar’ and ‘traitor’ could’ve been presented a lot better… maybe it would’ve done with the right platform.

But a poorly executed outburst in a heated moment caught on video doesny make his feelings any less legit than yours. That side of the story must also be told.


bottom of page