4 May 2015

Could SNP do more to ‘name and shame’ the fringe?

The mutual mudslinging continues after events this morning in Buchanan Street in Glasgow.

Nobody could sensibly characterise it as a violent protest. Neither I nor my team witnessed any intentional violence. So let’s not make not more of it than it was. Aggressive, ugly and intimidating – but not violent.

The mudslinging? Scottish Labour saying they “beg to differ” from Nicola Sturgeon’s comment to Channel 4 News that the fracas “had nothing to do with the SNP”.

This evening Labour sources passed Channel 4 News a dossier of photos depicting three people who Labour claim are key activists and who contributed to Jim Murphy and Eddie Izzard not being heard today in Glasgow.

The Labour dossier claims that there are links between the hard left fringe of protesters and the SNP leadership – something that the party has consistently denied, and which Nicola Sturgeon robustly countered when I spoke to her today.

Similar mud is being hurled back from the SNP supporters of course. Their followers quick to point out that at least one Labour activist was tweeting just before the rally that he hoped these named protesters – and they all know them by name – would turn up and cameras too.

So SNP activists claim it was a dark, black, propaganda deed from Scottish Labour to wreck their own rally and blame the oft-alleged NNF – nasty nationalist fringe.

But come on guys. Do we seriously think Scottish Labour are able and willing to get Eddie Izzard up from London on false pretences to wreck their rally and his day out?

Really? Seriously?

Well – who knows? There could be a few grains of truth in both sides on this one and you can expect more of same as Thursday gets ever closer.

And finally some perspective? We are talking here about half a dozen serial campaigners here – Jim Murphy also knows most of them by name too. Everyone in Scottish politics does.

That includes Nicola Sturgeon herself, who also told me: “My very strong belief is that all parties have a right to make their case to the people and they should be listened to respectfully.”

It is hardly a deep threat to democracy or public order – but still. Could the SNP be doing more to name, shame and distance itself from this small, loud and undemocratic fringe?

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