Thursday, 5 September 2013

"BetterTogether" Silence on Violence to Blame for Attack on Pensioner

On Tuesday, a BetterTogether-supporting extremist attacked an octogenarian pro-Independence campaigner with such violence and ferocity that an ambulance was called to take him to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he received medical treatment for cuts, bruises and broken bones sustained in the assault. 

I'll say that again, just in case you didn't get it: in 2013, in Scotland's second-largest city, in broad daylight, an old age pensioner was beaten up by a Unionist because he dared to campaign for Scotland to become an independent state again. 

This assault is sickening and utterly unsurprising. 

Since even before George Osborne's campaign officially launched, the Unionists have whipped up what can only be described as a hate campaign against anyone who campaigns  for - or is even believed secretly to be a supporter of - independence. The main "beneficiary" of this hate campaign is Alex Salmond, the SNP convenor and First Minister. 

Both the First Minister and Deputy First Minister regularly receive death threats. Having myself been the recipient of death threats and threats of violence, veiled and open, from Unionist extremists, I can testify that it is not the most pleasant of experiences. 

The No campaign has stood by whilst their supporters spread their messages of hate, sent their threats of violence and did nothing. As Australian army chief, General David Morrison, said: "the standard we walk past is the standard we accept".

But the No campaign isn't merely walking past these extremists. It actively uses them. One of its favourite sons, trotted out with depressing and monotonous regularity to fight the No corner, is a man convicted of a violent assault - but still sits in Parliament - the racist, sectarian thug, George Foulkes.

The extremist Unionist group, the Orange Order, which could be reasonably described as the paramilitary wing of the "Scottish" Labour Party, bans Roman Catholics from joining - and even expels its own members who attend, for instance, the funeral or wedding Mass of a Catholic neighbour or workmate. It is on record as saying that when Scotland achieves independence, it will become a paramilitary organisation fighting to "Keep Scotland British".

The fascist Orange Order is an integral part of the No campaign, and will actively campaign alongside its Labour Party colleagues for Scotland to remain a nation subsumed by the Union Flag, and with a constitution which bans Roman Catholics from attaining certain State offices. 

And the official No campaign ran an advertisement last year which admitted that it would pay the travel expenses of Orange Order and BNP members to come to Scotland and campaign in the referendum campaign. 

Even outside the institutional violence of the No campaign, it walked past on the other side of the road when one of its activists, someone called Louise Morton, boasted of her son - a Unionist councillor on the local authority - and other drunken louts, threatening violence against pro-independence supporters at the Maggie Fair in Garmouth, Moray and intimidating them into leaving. Blair McDougall walked past. 

This seems to be a regular tactic from the No campaign: in a campaign suffering from a demographic crisis (it is believed that have fewer than 100 volunteer activists nationwide) which requires Payroll Unionists to staff it, it is unable to participate in most local fairs. Its tactic, therefore, is to demand to the organisers that as there is no No presence, the Yes campaign - which is a genuine grassroots, community-led movement - should be banned. 

When this happens, and No gets the debate shut down, they are content. When the organisers resist, the sinister threats of violence such as in Moray, come out from the louts and thugs who support the campaign, funded by Arkan's sponsor Ian Taylor. 

After pressure was put on the organisers of the Dunfermline South Gala by local Unionists, they canceled a Yes Scotland stall there. Undeterred, the intrepid volunteers set up a table soon after outside the Bruce Festival in Dunfermline, and again the Unionists tried to have them removed. Blair McDougall walked past.

In Cowal, Argyll, the local Yes shop was attacked by Unionist extremists. Blair McDougall walked past. When the Courier reported on the attack, the Orange Order arm of the No campaign called for nail bomb attacks against the newspaper in reprisal. Blair McDougall walked past. 

Blair McDougall has walked past threats of violence and actual intimidation. That's the standard the No campaign accepts. 

And now, to reverse what the Cranberries said, his silence has caused violence. 

Blair McDougall must come out - unreservedly - and condemn this violent assault by one of his supporters on an elderly Yes campaigner.

He must tell the violent thugs who support his campaign - the BNP, the Orange Order and the SDL - that they are not welcome.

And he must make it clear that closing down debate and intimidating Yes campaigners is not an acceptable tactic. 

Blair McDougall shouldn't accept this standard any more. He should act, and act now.

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