UK

Paul McCartney Trolled For Backing No Vote In Scottish Independence Referendum

01/09/2014 10:28 BST | Updated 01/09/2014 10:59 BST

Sir Paul McCartney has become the latest celebrity to suffer a stream of online abuse from pro-independence Scots, after he signed a letter calling for a no vote in this month's independence referendum.

Along with 200 figures from cinema, sport, television and literature that included Sir Mick Jagger, Dame Judi Dench and Stephen Hawking, he signed the letter which said: “What unites us is much greater than what divides us. Let’s stay together.”

In comments that probably make Macca glad his 1977 song Mull of Kintyre was released before Twitter was invented, he was called a "prick" - and much worse - on social media repeatedly.

He was also described as "having more money than sense" and needing spoon feeding.

The comments follow debate last week about the problem of online abuse that has dogged the independence debate.

So-called "cybernats" - trolls who attack opponents of independence on social media - have previously targetted public figures including JK Rowling, who publicly backed the no campaign earlier this year.

Labour MP Jim Murphy accused Yes Scotland of "co-ordinated abuse" after he suspended his tour of Scotland over security concerns.

"The Yes Scotland campaign has organised mobs to turn up at every meeting that I'm taking part in to try and silence undecided voters and to try and intimidate me," he said.

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In response to Mr Murphy's suspension of his tour, a spokesman for Yes Scotland said: "We condemn all forms of abusive, dangerous and offensive behaviour, whether it be Jim Murphy having eggs thrown at him, or Alex Salmond being harassed by a road rage motorist.

"For the most part, the independence debate has been conducted in a responsible, peaceful and enthusiastic manner with only a very small minority on both sides behaving badly."

With just over two weeks to go until polling day, both sides are stepping up efforts and hitting the campaign trail.

Mr Salmond will be attempting to unite Dundee's rival football teams around a Yes vote, while Better Together chairman Alistair Darling will be in Greenock warning that independence could put a million jobs at risk.

Elsewhere, Labour's shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker will warn that independence puts Scottish defence jobs at risk in a visit to the port of Rosyth, in Fife.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie will campaign on behalf of Yes LGBT, calling for a Scottish constitution to enshrine the principles of equality.

Speaking ahead of his visit to Dundee, where he will campaign between Dundee's Dens Park and Dundee United's neighbouring Tannadice stadium, Mr Salmond put out a call to the "missing million" voters who have yet to register to have their say in the referendum.

"With just 17 days of campaigning left, people who want to vote but aren't yet on the electoral roll have just 24 hours left to sign up to take part in Scotland's date with destiny," he said.

"The truth about Scotland's immense wealth is reaching people and communities across the country, who are waking up to the huge wealth of opportunity offered by a Yes vote.

"Hundreds of thousands of people, many of whom have never voted in their lives, are now engaged in the most exciting, participative and powerful debate in Scottish political history."

Campaign chairman Mr Darling will launch a new poster campaign in Greenock tomorrow featuring Scots who are saying "no thanks" to independence.

"A million Scottish jobs rely on trade within the UK," he is due to say.

"That is a million opportunities for families in Scotland because we are in the UK and I want to create more opportunities. That is what is best for Scottish jobs, for families and for funding our schools and hospitals.

"I want to change Scotland by taking us forward and exploiting the opportunities and strength of the UK. I don't want Scotland to change by going backwards and separating ourselves from such a rich source of jobs.

"One million jobs rely on our links with the UK. I want a million more - not to put the million we currently have at risk."