SNP suspends member amid calls for police action over '˜anti-Semitic' blog
Police Scotland is being asked to look into the case of a blog penned by an SNP member at the centre of an anti-semitism row.
He has now been suspended by the party and the SNP is also being urged to suspend West Lothian councillor Frank Anderson, who shared the blog on social media and initially denied claims of anti-semitism in the blog.
The councillor has now issued an apology.
Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon was urged to investigate claims that SNP members shared the blog on social media.
The article was written by party member Gareth Wardell, under the pseudonym Grouse Beater, who has now been suspended by the party. The article cited Hitler as part of an attack on the role of the GMB trade union in last week’s strikes in Glasgow. It also criticised GMB chief Rhea Wolfson over her role in the strikes. But it has met with angry reaction from Labour figures who point to the fact that Ms Wolfson is herself Jewish.
GMB Scotland Secretary Gary Smith said the SNP’s suspension of Mr Wardell was “the only logical course of action” to take.
And he said: “GMB will also be contacting Police Scotland to establish what further action can be taken.
“However, the apology from Councillor Anderson is insufficient in light of the earlier defence of his comments.
“We believe this is contrived and insincere. He should be sacked from his elected position and his political membership should be suspended. As we said earlier, no political party has clean hands on the issue of anti-semitism but nobody should need any reminders that anti-Semitism is on the rise and we in GMB are clear that it is absolutely intolerable.
“The Councillor’s position is untenable and if he cannot do the right thing himself then the SNP must take that decision for him.”
The blog cites Mein Kampf, and describes how Hitler attacked unions “over an over again” in his book.
“Unions are fascism’s Public Enemy Number 1,” the blog states.
And it adds: “He (Hitler) accused ‘The Jew’ of gradually assuming leadership of the trade union movement. Hitler wanted a blindly obedient fighting force loyal only to the national leader of government.
“Whether or not Wolfson is intellectually aware of Hitler’s outlook is unknown but she is certainly commendable assiduous in condemning anti-semitisim in the Labour party.”
The author says he amended part of the article referring to Hitler after criticism in the comments section of the blog - but rejected claims of anti-semitism.”
In a statement to the Herald, Mr Wardell said: “The only sinister aspect to my essay is the way political opponents tried to make it sound sinister.
“They use the fascist language it warns about, anti-intellectual, portraying everything in terms of ‘them and us’.
“Ms Wolfson has been grievously misled. When advised what they were up to I strengthened the praise of her anti-Semitic stance in relation to Labour’s troubles.
“In this case it’s quite a stretch for me to be anti-Semitic brought up in Jewish family.”
A link to the article, which was denounced by Labour as “anti-Semitic”, was shared by the SNP branches for Livingston East, Edinburgh Eastern and various SNP councillors.
An SNP spokesperson said: “A complaint has been passed to the disciplinary committee and the individual has been suspended.”