Radical Independence Dumfries and Galloway campaigner John Dennis reports on Jim Murphy and David Mundell’s open air meetings in Sanquhar and Kirkconnel
The sole Scottish Tory MP David Mundell and New Labour’s Jim Murphy shared a Better Together outdoor public meeting on Sanquhar High Street on 10th July. Mundell said next to nothing sensing hostility from the 50 or so present, the majority of whom were Yes and RIC supporters. So it became the Jim Murphy show with him jealously guarding the microphone and twisting folk’s shouted questions and statements to suit himself. One RIC member remarked that Jim’s defence of the UK sounded like just like an old colonial Tory type arguing against independence for a British colony in the 1950s.
Tabitha Mudaliar, a local writer and Yes campaigner said: “Jim Murphy’s visit to Sanquhar yesterday has already been consigned to history, filed under the heading, ‘So what?’.. However, the ‘No Show’ did achieve one remarkable thing. It brought at least twenty new visitors, people who have never set in foot in Sanquhar, and are never likely to again. Yestival (on 2nd July) has helped put Sanquhar on the Yes map, and right onto the No campaign’s radar. We must do more. Maybe they’ll visit us again and this time deem us worthy of a proper meeting, not a rabble in the street over a can of Irn Bru.”
Local Labour For Independence activist Rod Copeland attended both the Sanquhar meeting and the later meeting in Kirkconnel, where there was a much smaller crowd: “It was in no way Jim meeting with, or listening to the people. It was Jim attempting to score a publicity stunt by talking to the select few, invited by letter. He did get a few followers from Sanquhar, but they were outnumbered by the followers he shipped in, and all that showed up in Kirkconnel were him, his entourage and a few Yes hecklers, who didn’t even bother as Jim didn’t get up on his crates, less than 20 yards from the Food Bank distribution centre in Kirkconnel. All in all I don’t see it was a win for anyone, Jim preaching at the converted without having the appetite for the debate is nothing but a publicity stunt, and a poorly executed one at that. Yes campaigners gatecrashing to be shouted down gain a further contempt for some of the No politicians, and a feeling of solidarity as they see who has turned out with them.”
Dumfries & Galloway RIC leafleted the meeting with the local leaflet (see below) and displayed the RIC banner prominently throughout the Sanquhar meeting and witnessed New Labour’s total failure to attract anyone to the Kirkconnel meeting.
Jim Murphy is apparently doing a grand tour of 100 places in Scotland. Having a megaphone against his monopolised microphone is maybe an idea worth considering.