Salmond says SNP has reached “appalling state” if Cherry’s colleagues failed to defend her freedom of speech
By Lucy Ashton
Former First Minister Alex Salmond says Joanna Cherry KC was treated “shamefully” after a comedy club cancelled her planned Fringe show.
Mr Salmond, who now leads Alba, told a newspaper that “people have the right to put forward an alternative view” after The Stand comedy club pulled the plug on a talk show featuring the SNP MP.
Cherry, a leading critic of the Scottish Government’s Gender Recognition Reform (GRR) legislation, claimed she had been discriminated against on the basis of her opinions.
The Stand cancelled her guest appearance at a talk show to come in August after venue staff told management they would be uncomfortable working at the event.
Asked if he thought Cherry had been harshly treated, Salmond said: “It’s shameful behaviour.
“She’s an elected MP. If we’ve got to the stage that people are allowed to censure MPs, then we’ve reached a pretty pass.
“The Fringe was founded on the basis of freedom of speech, so people who were denied a voice and an opportunity at the established festival could have the Fringe, where anything was allowed to be said.”
Cherry claimed yesterday that some of her SNP colleagues were “afraid” to criticise controversial gender reforms and preferred a “quiet life” instead.
“Many of my SNP colleague agree with me, they are just afraid to speak out,” she said.
“I’ve had a lot of private discussions with MPs and MSPs and many party members. But they have seen what has happened to me ever since I spoke out in favour of women’s and lesbian rights.”
Salmond insisted the issue at stake was freedom of speech and not a row over gender reform.
“I happen to agree with Joanna that self-identification was by and large a major mistake,” he continued.
“But the issue is not really about that. It’s about whether people have the right to put forward an alternative view on the Edinburgh Fringe or are they allowed to be censured?
“It’s a matter of fundamental principle. If the SNP can’t answer the call to defend the freedom of speech, then they have reached an appalling state.”
In a statement released earlier this week, The Stand said: “Following extensive discussions with our staff it has become clear that a number, including venue management and box office personnel, were unwilling to work this event.
“As we have previously stated, we will ensure that their views are respected.
“We will not compel our staff to work on this event and so have concluded that the event is unable to proceed on a properly staffed, safe and legally compliant basis.”
Democrat editor Bill Heaney said: “This is a load of old tosh of course. This gagging disease, described by Cherry as Stasi like behaviour, is sweeping across Scotland.
“The SNP started it and Labour, at least in West Dunbartonshire Council, are going along with it. If they can’t stand the heat then they should get out of the kitchen. The press and public and even maverick politicians are entitled to their say.”
There is a vicious control clique at the heart of the SNP.
Restricting free speech, imposing unwanted gender policies rejected by the vast majority of folks, the rigging of selections and elections together with the policy of trying to physically destroy political opponents is all ending in tears for the out of touch SNP.
The SNP has split. Around 70,000 or two thirds of the SNP members have left and Alba grows in strength every day. And where the members have gone the voters are following.
The control freaks in the SNP may have conspired to democratically shut out Joanna Cherry KC MP but they will not prevail.
The Isla Blair issue of a physical man convicted of rape going to a woman’s prison brought into sharp focus how utterly out of touch the SNP are
Maybe they should go and join the board of the brewers Anheuser Busch who produce Bud Light. Following the release of a Trans Advertising campaign to promote Trans issues across the US, the brew company in three weeks lost – 26.1% of its sales and over £5 billion in share value as folks voted with their feet and ditched the brand.
A bit like the SNP!