Stirling Uni Labour society under criticism for rifle Twitter post

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The society is facing backlash for it’s posting of a rifle image alongside ‘Defend Richard Leonard’ text.

Last night at 23:46, the official Twitter account of Stirling University Labour Society tweeted what has been branded an “insensitive and unprofessional” image of a rifle regarding calls for Labour Leader Richard Leonard to resign amidst Scottish Labour MSPs.

Stirling Uni Labour also called MSP James Kelly a “disgrace” for resigning from the Shadow cabinet and calling on Leonard to resign as party leader, especially in the face of the looming election next year.

The tweet received backlash on twitter, with users criticising the official account for it’s insensitivity, in particular with regards to the Dunblane school shooting incident which took place in the Stirlingshire area in 1996, the UK’s worst mass shooting incident.

The Society is receiving some criticism surrounding it’s professionalism as an official account which seeks to represent Stirling University Labour students, with focus on their conduct online which some critics argue veers into personal account territory.

The student society quickly deleted the tweet concerning the defence of the Scottish Labour Leader, who has met with calls to resign after James Kelly resigned from the Shadow Cabinet, citing Leonard as one of his reasons for his resignation.

The society apologised for posting what it describes as a “meme on some old emo patter”, indicating that they deleted it because “…people didn’t see the reference and were offended. We recognise that we caused hurt and took steps to address that,” per their Twitter account.

A Twitter screengrab of both apologies from the society and criticism levelled by the students. Image Credit Rachel Swan

Stirling University’s Scottish Labour society president Daniel Deery spoke to Brig and gave an exclusive official statement:

“We posted a joke last night based on and old pop punk meme that had posted before with no concerns raised. We did this to make light of a frustrating situation as we often do on the account. We deleted the tweet because it was clear it caused offence and apologised for it.

“We want to make it very clear we were not advocating for violence and is purely a misunderstanding.”

Former MP of Stirling from 1997-2015 Dame Anne McGuire responded to the apology tweets from the society, saying that there was “no excuse to tweet such an offensive image.”

The tweet emerges at a difficult time for Scottish Labour amidst serious internal division in the lead up to the Scottish elections in just a few months time.

Joshua Muirhead, representing the Stirling Students Union had this to say on the situation:

“The recent tweets by the Stirling University Labour Society do not reflect the views of the Students’ Union. The now deleted tweet by the society was unacceptable for the connotations it invokes to historical local and current international events. We would encourage both students and societies to consider any potential implications of what they share on social media beforehand and that they are expected to conduct themselves in a non-offensive, inclusive way at all times, in line with the Union’s E, D & I policies.”

It is unclear as of yet if the society will face any disciplinary action over their Twitter post.

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