McGarry branded “disgusting” for Somme cannon fodder comment


MP Natalie McGarry has been branded “disgusting” after describing the fallen soldiers of the Somme as “working class men treated as dispensable cannon fodder”.

Today is the anniversary of the first day of the battle of the Somme on which 20,000 British soldiers died.

But in her Twitter tribute former SNP MP Natalie McGarry has been accused of political point-scoring and even ignoring the facts of the tragic battle – where officers died at a higher rate than regular soldiers.

Posting on Twitter this morning she gave a link to the song “The Green Fields of France” – which pays tribute to the Scottish dead in the battle.

She captioned it with the comment: “A song for a sombre day. When working class men were treated as dispensable cannon fodder.”

Today marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle
Today marked the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the battle

But the comment has drawn scorn from many other social media users keen to point out the mortality rate of officers, which was a staggering 60% on the first day.

Others accused her of class-based political “point-scoring” on the day of remembrance.

Responding to her tweet, one user said: “Officers had the highest casualty rate at the Somme. 60% of officers died on the first day. Ms McGarry you disgust me.”

Many others pointed out the same figures – with one adding, “the fact remains that those who led and went first over the top were officers.”

Another went on: “I think you’ll find those cannons didn’t discriminate on grounds of class.”

Among those accusing her of playing politics with history, one Twitter user sternly told her: “Today isn’t about politics. Please stop trying to create a class war by disrespecting our fallen heroes.”

Another added: “A day like today and she mouths off.”

One more added: “It’s all about point scoring with Natalie McGarry and the SNP, even over the Somme.”

Ms McGarry originally seemed unapologetic about her message.

Responding to Twitter users presenting her with the 60% casualty rates of officers, she tweeted: “I am talking numbers, not proportions.”

But late in the morning the tweet disappeared from her profile – indicating it has been deleted.

McGarry was a member of the SNP until November – when she was suspended after being linked to an investigation into missing cash from a campaign group she is involved in.

McGarry has been involved in a number of Twitter spats in the past.

In January she accused JK Rowling of supporting another Twitter users with misogynistic views – before deleting her tweets and apologising to the author after she threatened to sue.

In March she accused Alastair Cameron, the leader of the Scotland in Union organisation, of being a holocaust denier on Twitter.

Again she was forced to apologise, and also paid £10,000 in an out of court settlement.

In January a senior figure of the SNP came under fire for describing school army cadet forces as “cannon fodder”.

The comments forced Nicola Sturgeon to distance the party from the anonymous comment – saying: “This is a phrase that should not be used as it characterises our armed forces in a way we do not agree with.

“Our armed forces have our full support in the important and often dangerous jobs they do.”