I like to keep this a politics free zone where possible, but sometimes something comes along which means that just isn’t possible.
On Saturday 19th January an avalanche took place in Glencoe, killing 4 members of a party descending from Bidean nam Bian. Within a few hours the First Minister, Alex Salmond had issued what would appear to be the sort of bog standard press release one expects from politicians when a tragedy of national interest occurs, offering sympathy and help, and thanking the efforts of rescue workers.
Only a few hours later Ian Smart, a lawyer, Labour party member and blogger amongst other things, had taken to twitter to poke fun at the situation and the SNP/First Minister. Within a few hours the unfortunately named Mr Smart decided that he had enough jolly japes “winding up the nats” and toddled off to bed.
I’m not a twitterer, but Mr Smarts comments made their way onto Facebook, which is where I picked up on this. There’s always a cyber-trail, and always someone ready to grab what you say from the screen, so as you can see from the pictures above, Mr Smart could not delete his way out of this, and instead they appeared in an article on the Wings Over Scotland political blog. Any decent person would perhaps apologise and try and extricate themselves quietly from the whole mess, perhaps blaming a hacker or the fact they had a few sherbets in way of mitigation. Not Mr Smart, who instead goes on the attack on his own blog.
I can understand those who say that people should not be on the hills in winter. I don’t agree, but I can see their point. Even when they come out with the old chestnut about mountain rescue personnel risking their lives in awful weather, completely missing the point that those brave souls are volunteers, and who will themselves seldom criticise those who have come to grief. But in the aftermath we can only be thankful that no more were killed, offer condolences to family and friends, and thanks to the rescuers. Which is what Alex Salmond did, and what most people, of whatever political allegiance, would expect him to do.
There’s an old saying which Mr Smart should perhaps take heed of in future: “Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool, than to open it and remove all doubt”.