Threats to Politicians Eat Away at the Fabric of Democracy


The news that Police Scotland is investigating a threat against Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is welcome. There has been a disturbing trend in recent years particularly since the advent of social media for ill-judged and threatening comment to be disregarded.

In this instance the person who made the remark, a freelance sports journalist, Frazer Paterson, seem to have thought it hugely amusing to tweet a suggestion that Ms Sturgeon should be hung outside Bute House (the official residence of the First Minister).

He subsequently tweeted to retract the suggestion and said he meant ‘no harm to her’ (see link):

He also said his comment was ‘unprofessional. However it was more than that because for every individual like Mr Frazer who puts their name to such a disgusting threat there are anonymous cyber bullies and poison pen writers who are much more pernicious in their actions.

In the Isle of Man recently Police stepped in to investigate threats against the Manx Treasury Minister, Eddie Teare, (see link):

Mr Teare appears to have been targeted in this scurrilous manner because he is currently Treasury Minister in an administration which his having to handle difficult public spending cuts. However the threats were even more menacing because they were also directed against his family.

In Ireland to the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, was threatened in June 2013 when a poster to Facebook suggested he would be shot (see link):

Kenny later told the Dail that he was subject to sustained threats and targeted in the most despicable way (further link):

In the case of the Manx Treasury Minister and the Taoiseach the threats were made anonymously and as yet no arrests or prosecutions have occurred. However in relation to Ms Sturgeon the culprit is known so it is to be hoped that Police Scotland will deal with the matter appropriately.

Threats of this nature directed at elected politicians for no other reason than the fact that they are doing their job should be dealt with robustly, they eat away at the very fabric of our democracy.

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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