What does this SNP candidate mean when she says Labour candidate is a fair target for “community justice”?

So there’s a piece in the Telegraph this morning from Andrew Gilligan. I know that’s not a promising start – but bear with me. He’s written about some of the more unpleasant aspects of the election campaign in Scotland. I’m not surprised to hear that the campaign has taken an ugly turn – after all, this is what I saw in early September last year:

“As the cameras moved in to grab the shot though, the mood turned unpleasant. Yes placards were brandished, leading to pushing and jostling for position. Then the heckling began. Labour was an “English party” and any Scot who backed Labour should be “ashamed”. One man, arriving on the scene wielding a motorcycle helmet began loudly shouting that Scotland was “for the Scottish” – a sentiment that drips with xenophobia.

This was getting ugly, and quickly.

Yet this was far from the nadir. In an attempt to soothe tensions, Curran and Scottish Deputy Leader Anas Sarwar approached the protesters and attempted to talk with them. Curran asked one man to shake her hand. He refused. She told him that she was proud to be a Scot. He told her it was “disgusting” that she was a Scot.”

That was far from the only example that I saw of this visceral, angry nationalism during the referendum campaign. On the day of the referendum vote I was spat at in the street in Edinburgh. My “crime”? I was standing outside the Better Together office.

But it was the mention of Curran’s treatment in Gilligan’s report that got my attention, as I’d also seen her come under verbal attack last year. SNP activists have been “hunting” Curran whilst she’s out in her Glasgow East constituency, filming and heckling her as she attempts to speak to local people on their doorsteps. They post the video on their Facebook page, talking about how they had “cornered” Curran.

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This is really despicable stuff – ugly tactics. The Telegraph report says that:

“Natalie McGarry, the SNP candidate in Glasgow East, issued a low-key rebuke to Mr Doughty-Brown. Even as she did so, however, she added that Mrs Curran was a “fair target for community justice”

That line “community justice” leapt out at me. What on earth does it mean? So I tweeted this:

Mcgarry argued that the comment was quoted out of context. Fair enough, I thought – so I tweeted the full statement from Facebook, the full context:

Now there’s an interesting caveat in that statement. Whilst Mcgarry is ok with “people journalism” (is that what this is? Following people with cameras?) the concern seems to be about the anonymous voter rather than Curran (lest we forget – the target of the “hunting”).

So I asked Mcgarry whether it would be ok to “hunt” Curran when she’s on her own and not talking to voters, on the bus, in the shops, with her kids or whether it’s just unacceptable on the doorstep?

I haven’t really got a reply to that. And I’m still very troubled by the term “community justice”.

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