THE BLOG

Egg-Gate: Jim Murphy and the Acquiescence of the Media

01/09/2014 14:36 BST | Updated 31/10/2014 09:59 GMT

The last few days has shone a light into the workings of the mainstream media and their reporting of the Scottish Independence Referendum. While we have had wall-to-wall coverage of the furore surrounding Jim Murphy and the 'sinister' egg throwing, we have been met with a wall of silence and minimal reporting of far more serious incidents that have happened over the weekend.

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Last week, an alleged YES supporter threw an egg at the Labour party MP, Jim Murphy, as he took part in his 'soapbox tour' of Scotland in opposition to Scottish Independence. Politicians being egged and the heckling high-profile MPs while they are on soapbox tours are nothing new in British politics. A whole series of MPs have been egged in recent years while John Major faced, what he called, a hateful mob when he embarked on his own 'soapbox tour' to the run-up to the General Election in 1992.

Egg-gate then became 'sinister' with Jim Murphy publicly accusing the YES campaign of orchestrating "coordinated" confrontations between YES supporters and the Labour MP. But, as with all stories, there are two sides to be told. Even before the furore of Egg-gate, YES campaigners had blogged about the aggressive and confrontational nature of Jim Murphy's 'soapbox' tour. Yet, the media ignored this side of this story and worked themselves into a frenzy about the so-called nastiness of the YES Campaign. They permeate the Myth of the Cybernat. Portrayed as 'vicious' and 'aggressive' - the Cybernats are, according to the media, the scourge of democracy and the slayers of free speech. Yet the truth - or the other side of the story - paints a very different picture. The vast majority of pro-Independence supporters are warm and welcoming, passionate and knowledgeable - they are, in the main, just ordinary folk.

On Saturday, the Radical Independence Campaign set up an event in Glasgow where hundreds of ordinary folk gathered to persuade shoppers of the merits of Scottish Independence. During the day, a man campaigning for a NO vote in Glasgow was arrested for allegedly assaulting a woman.

To compound this issue, a YES shop in Glasgow was victim of an alleged arson attack in the early hours of Sunday morning.

At this point I would like to make clear that I am not apportioning blame for these incidents on either the BetterTogether Campaign or any other Pro-NO groups. The responsibility lies at the feet of those who perpetrated these acts.

What was telling is the media's reaction, or lack of reaction, to these events. At the time of writing this article - 7pm on Sunday night, except from here and here, there is no mention of the alleged assault on the woman in Glasgow and, as far as I can tell, there is no mention of the YES shop fire in any of the media. The question must be asked - why has the media turned their back on reporting these incidence?

Except from the notable exception of the Sunday Herald, every mainstream media outlet, from all the newspapers to the 'impartial' BBC, has an anti-independence stance. Scots have had to endure the second biggest selling newspaper in Scotland implying that Scots just didn't have it in them to run Scotland any better than Westminster. We've had to endure the constant negative narrative that has come from all media outlets. A parroting of BetterTogether press releases masquerading as journalism.

The purpose of this relentless negativity and the tarring of the whole YES campaign is to counter the ever-growing and ever-positive pro-independence movement. The YES campaign is only able to counter the media's negative narrative due to the power of social media and hard, hard work at a grassroots level.

With less than three weeks left until the Independence referendum, the pro-UK media in Scotland should now retreat from their entrenched position of 'NO'. The future of our country is too important to be derailed by pointless partisan politics - a stance of 'Let the people decide' would win you more friends than the position you hold at present.