Yesterday, eyewitnesses report that a member of the Britannica Party (BNP), who was campaigning on behalf of Better Together and handing out official Better Together flyers, kicked a woman in the stomach in broad daylight on Argyle Street before calling her “an alcoholic or a drug addict”. Police gathered CCTV footage from the nearby shops and took him away in a squad car. There’s a video of the aftermath of the attack here where he owns up to ‘defending himself’.
I have just spent ten minutes trying different search terms in Google to try and find any mainstream media coverage of the event to no avail. The incident is being covered widely on social media, including pictures of the woman confronting the speaker and of her lying on the ground after the attack.
It is particularly interesting that this event doesn’t seem to have been covered in the media because if you type ‘Jim Murphy egg’ into Google you have no problem finding media coverage of that event.
If you watch the video of Murphy getting egged, he immediately starts shouting that he will not be silenced. Shortly afterwards, sensing the opportunity for a smear campaign against the YES Campaign, Murphy called off his speaking tour, citing intimidation from organized YES mobs:
“What is happening is that the yes campaign is now organising to create a mob atmosphere at our street meetings. It’s co-ordinated, it’s determined and it’s increasingly aggressive,” Murphy said.
“What started as individual passionate nationalists having their say has changed into angry mobs of nationalists coming along and making sure that no one else has their say.” [The Guardian]
This is the polar opposite of what transpired when Murphy got egged: in reality, one individual ‘passionate nationalist’/man in the street threw an egg at a Better Together campaigner. Better Together sees this as an opportunity to smear the Yes campaign as organizing angry mobs of nationalists to censor freedom of speech. Nice.
The NO Camp has been spreading misinformation and playing the smear game since day 1 of the independence debate. These dishonest and underhanded tactics are a necessity for Better Together who knew from the outset that they could not win the independence debate through honest open argument and the presentation of compelling facts. The evidence about ‘what’s best for Scotland’ is so heavily weighted against the Union that they have no choice but to rely on lies, swing and smear.
Murphy’s comments about the YES campaign, which are heavily covered by mainstream media, see us enter into what may be the final phase of Project Fear: the wholesale smear of each and every YES campaigner in Scotland. One man throwing an egg becomes ‘organizing to create a mob atmosphere’. In the wake of the second Darling / Salmond debate where popular consensus was that Darling lost, the tacticians at Better Together say, if popular opinion is against you, discredit the population!
If the extent to which this is total, utter shite isn’t self-evident to you, allow me to change the terms. A man throws an egg at a councillor speaking in defence of ATOS. The councillor comes out claiming that disability rights action groups are mobilizing angry mobs of passionate disabled people to intimidate and censor. This shifts focus from the compelling arguments against ATOS and towards the morally reprehensible advocates of those arguments. Smear Campaign 101.
Make no mistake, this has been on the cards for a while now. From random people on twitter being branded Cyber Nats, to George Galloway tweeting “I’m warning Alex Salmond now; I will hold him responsible for any attempt to wreck my Just Say Naw meetings and any physical attack upon me” despite the fact he has never been physically attacked while on tour. The No Campaign are desperately trying to find the unsavoury side of the YES campaign and bring it into the spotlight to discredit their detractors. Meanwhile the brand of nationalism / patriotism (“I am a proud Scot BUT a proud Brit too”) that Better Together are peddling is constantly and publically manifest in the violent disorder surrounding the Orange walks every single year; in Britain First ‘invading’ mosques; in the Scottish Defence League’s flag waving and inflammatory ‘remembrance’ marches that ignore the outspoken public requests made by the family of the man they pretend to pay tribute to.
The best smear against YES supporters they have come up with so far is an egg being thrown. Time is growing short, so that will have to do! Yet aren’t they playing with fire by re-interpreting the actions of random individual YES supporters as a co-ordinated violent effort by Yes Scotland to create a mob mentality?
Let’s turn the tables.
I have no problem coming right out and saying that I don’t think Murphy getting hit by an egg is really all that big a deal. Nobody got hurt, no property was damaged; nothing. A frustrated guy threw an egg. To my knowledge no actual physical violence has taken place at any of Murphy’s road shows, or against any Better Together activists – and if it had I’m sure we would be hearing about it. Given how passionate and heated the campaign for independence is, this is something that should be celebrated rather than ignored or lied about.
Here’s something I do have a problem with: BNP members attacking members of the public who oppose them when they’re soapboxing in Glasgow City Centre. A woman was kicked in the stomach and this BNP spokesperson got back on the microphone and called her “an alcoholic or a drug addict”. This has not been covered in the media at all to date. The reason for this is that mainstream media does not want to facilitate the PR-nightmare that this is for Better Together.
The BNP were out in the streets in support of a NO vote. Eyewitnesses have reported them handing out official Better Together propaganda, albeit in ‘an unofficial capacity’: Better Together, the masters of media manipulation, don’t want to touch the BNP with a shitty stick despite their shared goals because it would be bad PR for them. If you look at Glasgow City Council’s website you will see that the attacker is actually a referendum agent for the NO campaign. If a man in the street throwing an egg at a Better Together speaker is a PR disaster for the YES camp, what is a referendum agent for the NO camp kicking a woman in the stomach?
Why is this incident not being covered in the media?
EDIT (01/09): we have this piece in the Scotsman. Am I, an unpaid ‘blogger’ breaking news faster and more accurately?
Here’s another one: in the last 24 hours a space plastered in YES posters in Pollockshaws was set alight. Let Me Google That For You
The referendum campaign has opened a lot of people’s eyes to mainstream media bias. However, it is wrong to take for granted that everybody’s eyes are open. Not everybody is as internet-minded as the younger generations and it is wrong to think that mainstream media bias is nullified by the truth being out there on the internet. This is why it’s important now more than ever to go to YES events near you, to help handing out flyers and going round doors and actively engaging with people. The passion and dedication that YOU bring to someone’s doorstep could be the difference between independence and perpetual subservience. We can’t afford to be spectators. Everything hangs in the balance.