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I’ve been called a paedophile, a terrorist and a Quisling: Jim Murphy on the ‘Yes’ mob

30 August 2014

I have had to suspend my ‘No Thanks’ independence referendum tour of Scotland.

It was back in June that I announced my plan to tour the country.  A hundred events.  All outdoors in Scotland’s summer.  Me, my makeshift stage of two upturned Irn-bru crates, a microphone, one of those small speaker-amps, a one or two-strong road crew, take it to the streets.

‘From Barrhead to Barra’ was my catchline.   Barrhead is in my constituency and is synonymous with an industrial Scotland, a half hours drive from Glasgow.  Barra is another Scotland, twelve hundred largely Gaelic-speaking fishers and crofters at the southern end of the Western Isles archipelago.  The tour is old school politics, reconnecting.

Thousands of people have taken part. Most of them have never been to a political meeting in their lives but this is aimed as politics coming to them on their high streets.  Some meetings start small but Scottish people have very British attitudes to queues – once they see one they join in. So the crowds grow sometimes to a few hundred standing on street corners.  It has been real people from all sides of the debate having passionate discussions. It works best when there is genuine disagreement and heated questioning.

But recently something else has happened. Things have become much more sinister. Groups of Yes voters are being organised to turn up to intimidate the No campaigners and silence undecided voters at these street corner meetings. This isn’t about the odd impossible to control idiot that every political campaign has. This is concerted and coordinated. It has caught the media attention because one man in these crowds threw eggs at me. I don’t care that someone throws eggs at me – that’s just the sometimes messy pantomime of politics.

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The tone of the meetings took a turn for the worse after the first TV debate.  Alex Salmond had done badly, and there seemed to be some panic amongst many of the local Yes campaigners.

I had a few great sessions after that, but when I got to Motherwell, there they were.

Shouting. Howling. Screaming. Covered in saltires, the St Andrews flag – our flag. You dont have to take my word for it. Theyre all there on YouTube. And our Better Together website, for all the digital world to see.

Since then it has got worse.  In town after town its no longer undecided voters going about their shopping that I’m meeting but instead there are Yes crowds occupying the street corners I’m due to speak at.  The language of treason is a favourite with them.  Theyre big on Quisling, although I doubt if they know much Norwegian history. Regularly I get called a terrorist and often a paedophile too.

Ugly. But is it spontaneous ugliness? No, its not. The organisational tools are the various Yes sites on Facebook, affiliated to the official Yes Scotland campaign. Its coordinated, determined and increasingly aggressive. I don’t know how high up it goes in the Yes campaign but I do know how widespread it is.

If people out there think this is some normal cut-and-thrust of politics, then theyre wrong.   I have never seen anything like this in my political life.  If people think both sides do it, then theyre wrong.    There is nothing remotely like this coming out of the No camp or any political cause I’ve ever been involved in.  Why would there be?

Weve put the tour on hold for 72 hours, while we talk through safety issues with the police, train our staff on personal safety. We are rotating some of our staff out of the tour who are being targeted for abuse. I very much want to get back on the streets.

The first seventy meetings were a mix of passionate politics and occasional enjoyable street theatre. But recently the Yes campaign allowed the taps of a mob mentality to be turned on. It is time they turned them off.

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Show comments
  • Impudendence

    The only good thing that will come from a no vote is seeing all these smug “we know better than you do” Bitter Together supporters faces when they realise they have just taken a massive dump on their own doorstep.

  • uglyfatbloke

    Since the egg attack was recorded on video and witnessed by Murphy’s security people, presumably no stone has been left unturned in the search for the perpetrator? Or maybe not.

  • Philip Kaulfuss

    You got exactly what you wanted, Jim.

  • jelliedeels

    Eggie Murphy should have called the Beverly Hills cops

  • Claire Smith

    Reap what you sow Jim. The UAF and ANL have been doing this to any group who identifies as being conservative for decades. I’m sure you had absolutely no problem with that though.

  • William_Brown

    Wherever there are borders, there lies fear of what’s beyond. No thanks.

  • Sam_Beresford

    I agree that the campaign seems to have gotten really out of hand. Nationalists will (have – comments below for example) claimed that the No campaign is pretty ugly as well.

    Whatever the (I expect complicated truth) to be honest I think this is unavoidable at this stage – the polls are on a knife edge, both sides feel they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. But Scotland is the loser in all this – it doesn’t bode remotely well for the future of the country, whatever the vote result.

    The rest of the UK is also a loser – we may well wake up to find ourselves living in a radically different country, and we don’t even get a say…

  • Jambo25

    Jim Murphy is a fit 47 year old who was hit by one egg and then ran away screaming. Jim Sillars is 76, not in the best health, has received vicious threat mail and has been subjected to insults about his recently deceased wife Margo. All from No camapigners. Mr Sillars was also egged and then turned to the thrower and said, “You’d have been better sending that to a foodbank”. He then carried on campaigning.

  • hoddles

    Happy to vote to bomb the Iraqis and to keep and use nuclear weapons but frightened of an egg and some heckling. What a wuss!

  • smilingvulture

    Jim Murphy is confusing the kitchen with the front-line

  • Bobby Mac

    The clue is in the term ‘Nationalists’. Nationalism is a pretty ugly phenomenon that attracts violent and hateful people who need an enemy, preferably one defined by race or ethnicity. While the great majority of those who favour independence are neither violent nor hateful, the militant minority clearly are. Do we really want these people running an independent Scotland?

    • hoddles

      Perhaps it hasn’t dawned on you yet that when Scotland is independent we will all elect our government.

      • Bobby Mac

        Perhaps you have forgotten that ‘we all’ keeping electing the Nationalists into office.

        • hoddles

          We all must be satisfied with them then. What’s your problem? You come across a bit like Jim Murphy – if you can’;t get your own way you don’t want to play.

          • Bobby Mac

            Would that be Jim Murphy, the infamous paedophile and Quisling? Logic is a difficult concept for nationalists and here’s a fine example: intimidate and insult those who disagree with you, condone violence against them – and then claim it’s them who aren’t playing fair. BTW, nationalism always has a strong appeal for some and that’s why even extreme nationalists can be democratically elected.

            • hoddles

              Would you prefer to be called “paedophile” and “quisling” or be likened to Hitler, Mugabe, Kim Jong IL, Milosovic, Stalin and other murderous tyrants as Salmond has been.?

              You people are just so blinkered it is untrue.

              Your people were out in force at the weekend I see, attacking a woman in Glasgow and a Yes campaigning group in Edinburgh. And now we have them spreading “faeces” over a Penicuik “Yes” office.

              Get those blinkers off.

  • English Aborigine

    Can any of you recall Jim Murphy as Golden Browns Europe minister in the HoC standing at the despatch box for two weeks

    Lying, smirking and thoroughly enjoying himself telling the country that the Lisbon Treaty was completely different to the Lisbon Constitution and that there would be no loss of power to Europe from Britain

    All the Scottish MPs in the house voted for it except I believe Ian Davidson

    Thanks for that Jim

    Don’t duck next time

  • ChuckieStane

    Will Mr. Murphy now stop attending PMQs with all that shouting he so disapproves of?

    It is a far cry from his early days a Cardonald College as a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and his support for violence through his involvement with the Revolutionary Communist Party’s “Irish Freedom Movement”.

    Mr. Murphy will no doubt pass this off as youthful idealism or overexuberance. Perhaps he should not therefore be so precious when being egged. It is pretty peaceful stuff compared to what he supported.

  • Shenandoah

    My, how desperate the Yessers are getting. Don’t look now guys, but your depravity is showing.

    All the more reason to vote No.

    • English Aborigine

      A commie re-tread

      Well, well, well

      Solid labour then

  • MBC

    Jim Murphy has been going around the country shouting at largely disinterested people in public places where they were peacefully going about their lawful business. His events are ‘attended’ by handfuls of people, not thousands, who look on him with idle and bemused indifference, apart from local Labour activists primed to turn up and clap. Why he can’t hire a hall like other people to do his public speaking in, is anyone’s guess. But clearly his outdoor public events on busy street corners, bawling away at passersby, are intended to be provocative. That’s the whole point. This is not a thoughtful polite debate or question and answer session on the intricacies of the referendum like the Yes events organised in town halls across the country, but rabble-rousing, and after a slow start he has at last succeeded in rousing a rabble. No doubt he has now been cautioned by Police Scotland to desist from his rabble rousing activities which are causing breaches of the peace, and he is trying to paint this as victimisation. In other incidents, Yes posters have been damaged, and a Yes shop in Penicuik had its door handle cunningly smeared with excrement, hidden on the inside so that the unsuspecting person might be fouled by this mess. Murphy it seems eventually got an egg thrown at him.
    This is the depths of evil we are dealing with in our ‘civil strife’.

  • Jim Station

    Is this a sign of how the SNP would treat their dissenters if they got independence? This treatment from their followers sounds worryingly like the Stasi. Salmond’s lack of direct criticism of this mob mentality is downright disgraceful.

  • Voiceofreason

    At least you’ve not been assaulted as a woman, or had your wrist broken as an 80 year old man, nor been firebombed (all acts by BT supporters)…. Not the first politician to get abuse nor egged. Not saying it’s right…but grow a pair.

  • Gordon Bell

    Stop trying to justify your ideology with this. Idiots are not exclusive to ideology.

    • Shenandoah

      Actually there are far more ‘idiots’ on the side of passion and unreason than there are on the side of liberty. And Mr Murphy isn’t trying to ‘justify’ anything like an ‘ideology’ with anything. He believes the vote should be No, for very good reasons.

      Get stuffed.

  • rjbh

    Surely the name that suits Murphy best is, “Complete Erse.”

  • Peter Arnott

    Man goes round Scotland uninvited, surrounded by camera crews shouting at people in public places in high hopes of some headlines about thugs. Four weeks later, here he is.

    But…for THREE weeks he gets tumble weed…Jim talked to the point where his team were putting pictures on Twitter of crowds who were already there for the Fringe…pretending they were there for him.

    Still he kept on shouting. Apparently expecting no negative response of any kind. He tries and tries for a headline… but all he can come up with in the same time frame as Brownite Douglas Alexander looking bad (good news for Blairite Jim!) – all he ends up with is 6 minutes of rammy on youtube and an egg.

  • Cymrugel

    I know Jim.
    God you are so brave.
    Chin up.

  • Facebook User

    A quick search of google shows that Jim Murphy MP has claimed over £1 million in expenses since he became an MP. He is currently using a loophole to rent out his London property and rent another in London at taxpayers expense. I’m absolutely disgusted with these MP’s.

  • Malcolm McCandless

    Jim ‘Eggie’ Murphy need worry no longer, Nigel Farage is to send along his army of fruit cakes, loonies and closet racists to protect Jim when he goes back on the road. Problem solved.

    • Shenandoah

      Another Scot with no brains and no nose for reality. Is this a common problem with you lot, or what?

  • Maidmarrion

    Kind of this paper to give this odious person such a platform to castigate the Yes voters.

    • FF42

      He isn’t castigating yes voters. He is castigating organised intimidation arranged by sections of the Yes Scotland campaign, that the campaign itself hasn’t so far disowned.

      It’s sad to see so many here agreeing with this intimidation on the grounds that they themselves don’t like the man.

  • Freedom

    If people out there think this is some ‘normal cut-and-thrust’ of politics, then they’re wrong. I have never seen anything like this in my political life. If people think ‘both sides do it’, then they’re wrong. There is nothing remotely like this coming out of the No camp or any political cause I’ve ever been involved in. Why would there be?

    Because the NO campaign actually is interested in democracy and the YES people are Leftists?

    Thanks for the article.

  • hoddles

    “Covered in saltires, the St Andrew’s flag – our flag.” Are they not entitled to cover themselves in their flag?

    • Freedom

      Missing the entire point of the piece. I suppose that happens when you’ve got a hoddle on your head.

  • whs1954

    I’m surprised that Jim Murphy is surprised by the Yes campaign.

    Jim Murphy was on the side of No to AV. During that campaign he must have seen, especially in the central belt of Scotland, the sanctimonious self-righteous whining of the Yes side that their side alone had truth, justice and honour on their side while the No side were a bunch of low scoundrels who had bought the referendum result with Tory gold and newspaper magnates’ diktats alone, and as such deserved to be pilloried and have eggs thrown at them.

    That was 2011, this is 2014, and this is the AV referendum redux. So why act surprised? Lefties who know they’re beat in an election always pretend the people must have been conned, and that those who go on the stump for the other side are evil, and so deserve eggs (or more) dumped on their heads. Mr Murphy has been long enough in left wing circles to know the left’s modus operandi. In this referendum, as with the AV vote in 2011, he’s “on the right”. Now he gets his chance to know what it feels like to be consistently on the right at election time.

    In the summer of 2014 Jim Murphy is, to Scottish nationalist minds, ‘a Tory’ and gets eggs on his head. In the spring of 2015 Jim Murphy will be a socialist saviour in the central belt, and his supporters will dump eggs on his Tory opponent’s head. But that will be alright in 2015, for the Tories are “right wing” and “scum”. I look forward to a post on this issue by Jim Murphy in eight months time – but I won’t hold my breath.

    • dougthedug

      What are you havering on about?

      The AV referendum was held on the day of the Scottish Parliamentary elections and before the result of the current 2011 Scottish Parliament was known and well before the formation of any Yes campaign.

  • Roger Hudson

    The Speccie, a soft ‘no’ propaganda outlet on the right stoops to giving space to this lefty rant because you think it might help. I hope not.

  • ian channing

    Look on the bright side, Jim. Now you know what it feels like to be an English Nationalist, at odds with the establishment you represent.

  • Alex Urquhart

    And seeing as we are discussing the referendum. I thought it might be fun to actually look at the REAL reasons people are thinking about voting YES.

    The rest is a distraction.

  • Park5380

    Wow, Jim. Frankly, I couldn’t care less whether Scotland becomes independent or not, but your smearing tactics in this piece stink, and I say it with respect, and twice, they stink. Do you think that by repeating the same lie time and again, you are going to convince people of your beliefs? Seriously mate, you need to provide arguments and not just hollow words and phrases that only show your limited maturity and intelligence as a politician.

  • asalord

    Jim Murphy is an asset to the Yes campaign. We want you back on the campaign trail, Jim. Your presence is worth a thousand Yes votes.

    • Shenandoah

      Whereas your presence isn’t.

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