A council hopeful and member of Wir Shetland has admitted that the group has “image problems” after an online debate erupted below a story about the weekend’s Sister March in Lerwick.
Duncan Simpson was forced to jump to the defence of the autonomy group when Ali Inkster, who was elected as vice-chairman of the group in November, accused the marchers of hypocrisy.
In a statement circulated today by the autonomy group it was stated that Mr Inkster had resigned in light of online comments which “used language that was inappropriate”.
The press release, from group chairman James Titcomb, alludes to comments made by Mr Inkster on the Wir Shetland Facebook page.
The statement said: “Ali recently got in to an online debate on a visitor post to the Wir Shetland Facebook page.
“During that debate he made a comment that could be considered personally insulting to one of the other commentators, he also used language that was inappropriate for use on the groups page. After reviewing the conversation in question Ali has decided that he should resign his position on the committee.”
A different spat involving Mr Inkster was sparked earlier this week when North Isles candidate and former Wir Shetland member Ryan Thomson shared an article about the online abuse received by women who participated in Saturday’s march.
A story about the march generated a number of strongly-worded comments on The Shetland Times Facebook page. One comment referred to the marchers as being members of the “feminist womens cult”.
Other remarks attempted to paint the march as pointless with Colin Halcrow saying that they should “march against something a lot closer tae hame” before calling the protesters “bloody morons”.
Mr Simpson viewed the event as nothing more than an unnecessary outburst of ill feeling against a democratic election. He went on to refer to it as “baffling”.
In defence of the march some commentators pointed out that the issues it attempted to highlight were larger than Trump.
Commenting below the post on Mr Thomson’s Facebook page, however, Mr Inkster accused the marchers of hypocrisy.
He asked why President Trump’s brag about grabbing women “by the pussy” was more offensive to protesters than drone strikes on the Middle East carried out under his predecessor Barack Obama.
Mr Inkster repeatedly referred to Obama as “obomber” and Hillary Clinton as “killary”.
Mr Simpson attempted to distance Wir Shetland from its then vice-chairman, saying that his views had “nothing to do with Wir Shetland”.
However, he confessed that the group had “image problems” and that it was something they were “trying to address.”
Ex-member Mr Thomson later told this newspaper: “I left Wir Shetland because I simply did not like the direction it was going in. It was not the organisation I thought it was, nor is it what I thought it would become.
“The group as far as I’m concerned is nothing but an anti-SNP group and certainly not the ‘cross party group’ it advertises itself to be, and whilst I agree with the principle of more local powers I could not agree with how the group is run or some of its policies including on immigration.”
When contacted by The Shetland Times Mr Inkster put the phone down.