by Colin Campbell
WHEN Inverness councillor Emma Roddick stepped forward on the podium at the counting centre on Saturday as a newly-elected list SNP MSP for the Highlands, it must have been one of the best moments of her life.
As the youngest MSP elected to Holyrood, at just 23 years old, her sense of joy must have been overwhelming, as she spoke of the honour she felt on a remarkable day.
Later she said on Twitter: “There is absolutely no keeping up with notifications on here today – thank you for all the kind messages. Heading to Edinburgh tomorrow so today is for cleaning the flat and cuddling the cat. And nobody needs to worry – the furbabies and axis are taking care of, Blue, Ginger, Scuff, Garlic, Axl, Rose and Mudkip.”
But Ms Roddick’s honeymoon was not to last. Not even to last more than a few hours in fact.
And she was subjected to a venomous onslaught of criticism which brings out the sheer poison at the heart of nationalism.
It came from the nationalist Wings on Scotland website, which describes itself as the most widely read Scottish political website in the world.
Roddick had tweeted on Saturday: “Biggest disappointment of the day has to be losing out on Fatima Joji MSP and and an SNP majority due to wasted list votes for the Alba Party. The North East is poorer for it, I’ll miss her in Edinburgh and I’m sure she has a bright future.”
She received criticism on her own website for misunderstanding the way the list voting system works. One contributor wrote: “I despair. You are now an MSP and apparently do not understand our voting system. If the Alba votes had gone to the SNP they would have been divided by 10 at the start of the calculation like every other SNP vote adding just 819 and no extra seat.”
The owner of Wings over Scotland, Stuart Campbell, who has a very large following among extreme nationalists, and hundreds of his contributors who supported the Alba Party, launched an attack on Roddick of an altogether different magnitude.
Campbell wrote: “Roddick is a truly epic idiot, and if we were to start telling you why we’d end up with a post longer than this one. She only got to the top of the SNP list rankings because she has a mental illness called Borderline Personality Disorder (also more descriptively called Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder) and readers can decide for themselves if its symptoms sound like good traits for a politician to have.
“Personally we can barely think of a more unsuitable job for someone with BPD than being an MPS. It seems criminally reckless and irresponsible for the SNP to have put her in such a position. If her opening salvo as an elected representative is anything to go by, her unfortunate constituents are in for a rough few years.”
And it didn’t stop there. Hundreds of comments from readers appeared below the article, some of a deeply personal nature, including aspects of her socialising and personal life and personal habits.
I’ve never met Ms Roddick but she has sent me a couple of friendly emails regarding material which has appeared here. She has also done well and made a positive impact since quite recently being elected to Highland Council.
Earlier this year she wrote: “I’ve talked a lot about my own mental illness, and in the last decade, seen public understanding and awareness grow.”
The attacks on her were reprehensible and disgusting.
But they encapsulated the sheer poison which runs through the veins of extreme nationalists. Many of them have a wholly irrational hatred of English people. When that doesn’t satisfy their bloodlust they start hating each other. All too often hatred, a marked step up from mere grievance, seems to be at the core of nationalism.
At the election the SNP lost out on a majority by just one vote. The fury and recriminations of that will not end anytime soon. And for now, a decent person like young Inverness woman Emma Roddick has been hit by the full brunt of it.
And aged just 23, she’ll have to be tough and resilient beyond her years to take it.