Scottish Daily Mail
Twitter ‘mob’ puts free speech in peril
Debate being quashed, says Free Kirk Moderator
SCOTLAND is becoming a ‘monochrome society’ with no real freedom of speech, according to one of the country’s leading churchmen.
The Reverend David Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland, blamed the ‘mob mentality’ of social media users and ruling elites for quashing diverse debate.
Celebrities such as JK Rowling and politicians including the late Charles Kennedy and Labour’s Margaret Curran have all been the target of vile online ‘trolls’ on Facebook and Twitter.
It is this that Mr Robertson addressed in his Christmas message. The Dundee minister said: ‘As I listen to the same opinions, delivered by the same people with the same certainty, in their own media “safe spaces”, I cannot but wonder how monochrome we are becoming as a society.
‘Just as the free market has meant the devastation of our high streets and the removal of diverse local shops, so the need to instil the new morality in our schools is reducing them to a monochrome dullness.
‘Social media combined with the increasing power of the rich has resulted in a mob mentality which threatens anyone who dares to be against the “equality and diversity” agenda, thus ironically seeking to prevent any real diversity from the social and moral mores handed down from those who govern us.’
He continued: ‘Equality is one of the great mantras of our society – and yet the more we shout about it, the less it happens.
‘The gap between rich and poor increases and as this is accompanied by a decline in the public services, it means that for the poor it is even worse: poorer education, poorer health care and poorer job opportunities are not good news for the poor.
‘Our liberal elites talk about equality but have failed to deliver it.’
Turning to the way in which the festive season is now celebrated, Mr Robertson said: ‘There was a time when Christmas was either banned or hardly celebrated in Scotland.
‘Sometimes when I see the exploitation and farce of much of today’s Christmas celebrations I am tempted to think that our forefathers had a point.
‘However, I believe they got it wrong and that Christmas is a wonderful time of year to remember the birth of Christ and to consider the light that has come into the darkness.’
Mr Robertson is minister of St Peter’s Free Church, Dundee.