Scottish Referendum Results Can't Come Soon Enough As Discourse Hits New Low

18/09/2014 14:17 | Updated 18 September 2014
Jackie Baillie/PA/Getty

Baying mobs, death threats to politicians, voters being threatened and reporters in need of security guards, it's no wonder that the end of the Scottish referendum will be a welcome relief to most tomorrow.

It's been a campaign so marred by ugly examples of vicious intimidation and outright bullying from both the unionist and nationalist camps, that it has left the Prime Minister longing for the "welcome release” of assassination.

As the debate reaches fever pitch, a Yes supporter has apparently been arrested by police outside a polling station after allegedly assaulting a unionist. Separate reports have also emerged of a blind pensioner being punched in the face for supporting a No vote.

Labour MSP Jackie Baille Tweeted a picture of graffiti outside one polling station branding it "absolutely disgusting intimidation by Yes."

A poll conducted by the Telegraph found that 46% of No voters have at some point felt personally threatened by Yes supporters, with 51% adding they had felt intimidated or pressurised by nationalists.

The spiteful nature of the campaign has been particularly encapsulated on Twitter, with the depravity of trolling reaching a new low today.

Vicious internet trolls, from both sides of the campaign, today attacked Andy Murray after the tennis player came out on support of the Yes campaign.

In one particularly venomous Tweet, a user told the Wimbledon star he wished he “had been killed at Dunblane”, while Yes supporters accused the athlete of voicing his opinion too late.

Murray is the latest celebrity to be hit with abuse after speaking out on Scotland, with J K Rowling gaining the wrath of Yes supporters after she donated £1 million to the "Better Together" campaign earlier this year.

As security was today stepped up by the BBC and the Scotsman under orders from the National Union Of Journalists (NUJ), it emerged that police have been informed of a serious threat made against a journalist and his family.

Although many reporters from major news organisations have given examples of abuse throughout the campaign, the BBC has undoubtedly borne the brunt of the nationalist ire, having been accused of bias.


At the peak of the "sinister" media backlash, frenzied protesters marched in Glasgow with a giant banner featuring BBC political editor Nick Robinson’s face and a call for him to be sacked.

Kay Burley yesterday faced repeated heckling during live reports on the vote, with the Sky News reporter eventually calling a campaigner a “knob” live on air for allegedly threatening her cameraman with a stick.

But that didn't stop nationalists immediately launching scathing abuse of Burley on social media, accusing her of being biased against camp Yes, and calling her "disgusting."

Mail columnist Quentin Letts described how he got on the wrong side of the "thuggish" SNP security boys yesterday, getting barred from a press event with Alex Salmond by "the goons in black suits."

"Good luck, Scotland. You may be needing it," the sketch writer concluded.

Tom Bradby, the political editor of ITV News, described the level of harassment journalists have faced as "worse than anything I saw in Ulster."

"It is frankly absurd," Bradby wrote in the Mail, "those in Scotland who are quick to abuse and see bias around every corner might want to think about the face they are showing the world."

But Scottish nationalists dismissed the seasoned reporter's concerns, branding him an "agenda driven hack."

Controversial MP George Galloway also faced fierce animosity earlier this week after speaking at a No campaign rally in Glasgow ahead of the referendum.

The pro-Palestine MP for Bradford West claimed he was threatened at the rally after being heckled from protesters.

He was reported to have said: "In the last 30 minutes I have been told I am going to face a bullet."

Alex Salmond himself faced accusations of bullying after a series of emails were printed that suggest Scotland's First Minister tried to silence the principle of St Andrews University when she warned of the impact of independence.

A spokesman for Salmond told the Telegraph the emails were part of "routine dialogue" and said all discussions were "cordial".

Ed Miliband, who last night pulled out of appearing at two events, has claimed the campaign for independence has an "ugly side" following chaotic scenes when he was mobbed as campaigners from both the Yes and No camps clashed in Edinburgh.

Alistair Darling, the leader of the pro-Union Better Together campaign, said earlier this week that the atmosphere over the debate had "soured" over the last few days.

He said the animosity between some Yes and No voters had become "deeply depressing" - pointing the finger of blame at the nationalists. "We don't have CyberNats," he said, referring to aggressive online Yes supporters.

Salmond, meanwhile, said he felt the debate had been "peaceful and joyous".

Yes Scotland has previously said it condemns all forms of abusive, dangerous and offensive behaviour.

Yes And No Campaigns Take To The Streets Of Scotland

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