Former councillor cleared of breaching Code of Conduct over Eurovision tweet

A former SNP councillor who suffered threats and abuse over a tweet made throughout final 12 months’s Eurovision Track Contest has been cleared of breaching the Councillors Code of Conduct.

Rhiannon Spear, who stood down as a councillor this month due to the “toxic atmosphere in politics”, was cleared by the Requirements Fee for Scotland after being reported for tweeting: “It’s okay Europe, we hate the UK too. Love Scotland. (Scottish flag emoji) #Eurovision” (coronary heart emoji).” through the 2021 Eurovision Track Contest.

The tweet was created after the UK scored “nil” factors within the competitors however sparked an indignant backlash, with Labour and Conservative councillors amongst these to criticise her. Conservative councillor Thomas Kerr mentioned it confirmed the “true face of nationalism [is] simply as vile as another”.

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Ms Spear mentioned each she and her household had suffered “abhorrent” abuse and threats on-line over the publish, which additionally noticed her deactivate her twitter account.

Ms Spear was additionally investigated over a second tweet posted final 12 months, which mentioned: “The UK has a billionaire chancellor who received’t give NHS workers a good pay rise throughout a worldwide pandemic + a racist Prime Minister who’s extra fascinated by lining the pockets of his Tory donors than feeding hungry youngsters”.

Councillor Rhiannon Spear won't be seeking re-election to Glasgow City Council
Former councillor Rhiannon Spear stood down this month over the “poisonous ambiance in politics”

Each tweets had been reported to the Requirements Fee for Scotland which confirmed the previous councillor was protected by the improved proper to freedom of expression underneath Article 10 of the European Conference of Human Rights.

In each instances the appearing Moral Requirements Commissioner (ESC) mentioned that Ms Spear might have been “perceived to have been appearing as a councillor when posting these feedback and, subsequently, the Code utilized.

However the former politician mentioned she had posted her remark through the announcement of the outcomes, the place the UK acquired zero (or nil factors), and at a time when many had been making related jokes concerning the UK (as a rustic) and its place on the earth.

She mentioned she intentionally mirrored language from a movie about Eurovision the place somebody had mentioned that everybody hates the UK. She mentioned her use of the phrase “hate” was on this context and was an “exaggerated joke”.

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The ESC concluded that it was of the view that, on the face of it, it was not clear that there had been such a breach of the Councillor’s Code of Conduct.

Ms Spear additionally instructed the commissioner responding to the grievance about Mr Johnston that she used the time period “Prime Minister” within the publish context intentionally to present the tweet a political context. She argued that many individuals take into account the Prime Minister to be racist and he or she was not the one politician or particular person to make use of that time period about him.

By referencing written newspaper columns the place Boris Johnston referred to as folks from Africa as “Piccaninnies” with “Watermelon Smiles” the previous councillor famous that the PM had additionally referred to younger folks having an “virtually Nigerian curiosity in cash” and had used the phrases “financial institution robber” and “letterbox” to explain Muslim ladies who put on a burqa.

The Requirements Fee famous that whereas it was obvious from the grievance {that a} member of the general public had been offended by tweet, the ESC got here to the view that there was no proof to recommend that the remark was supposed to harass, alarm, or misery and, subsequently, thought-about that it might additionally not quantity to hate speech.

Ms Spear has been approached for remark.

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