Jim Murphy is a thoroughly unpleasant individual.
I'm convinced that he is the thin, more conservative version of George Galloway. Neither like being challenged and will blow and bellow any naysayers aside. Bullies.
Myself and a friend got wind that he was gonna do his 'soapbox' thing 'opposite' a certain pub on the seafront in Edinburgh West. We're both left of centre and can both remember meeting Mr Murphy on anti-racist marches in Glasgow some time ago - back when Murphy was an NUS high-heid-yin hoping for a cushy career in the Labour Party.
My friend is a member of UNISON and hails from a Glasgow scheme. Indeed, he admitted to having been a member of the Labour Party Young Socialists some 30 years ago. Both of us are public servants and are seeing our pensions eroded and pay frozen. We also don't like it that Better Together see fit to use sectarian BNP supporters who one day tweet that 'Catholics should hang from lamposts' while the next appearing on televised Better Together propaganda posing as 'ordinary voters'.
Things are slow to get going but at half an hour later than the scheduled time there are around ten BT automatons gathered. There is no 'juice crate' or megaphone. Instead, Jim and his weird looking band set up camp in a local beer garden. Two shiny drones in BT jackets take to the esplanade for all of 3 minutes to hand out leaflets. No-one seems interested so we engage the drones in conversation and are invited across 'for a chat' in the beer garden where Jim is holding court with a pint in hand. Farage?
|Where is |
I raise the Yvonne Hama issue. Murphy asks 'Did that sway you into voting Yes or were you Yes beforehand?' I say it doesn't matter - you shouldn't use racist sectarian nutters in your publicity. 'If you were Yes beforehand then it isn't an issue' he retorts.
|Better Together's grassroots - kept hidden today|
During the conversation, another friend who's working on a documentary about the referendum texts to ask where Murphy is going next. Reasonable request, no? However, this is where things get really weird.
"It's all online" says one of the drones. 'No it isn't, my friend has tried. Can you tell me just now though?'
"Stick to the issues" says a posh professional PR guy in a suit who wears a 'No Thanks' badge.
Eh? We're confused. 'We aren't arguing, only saying that a friend would like to interview Mr Murphy for his documentary. He's a Swedish film-maker...'
"Shut up and listen!" says the posh suit.
'Er... where will you be next...?"
Murphy steps in, guffawing and egging on his Mormon-esque mates to shout us down. An elderly posh couple - they look like something from Condé Nast Boat Owner mag - step forward. They old guy approaches me in an aggressive manner, finger wagging, "Why don't you just shut up and stop shouting over Jim" he says like an angry father.
I persist. 'Listen. There's a chance for you air your views in a documentary...'
Jim and Posh Suit raise their voices. 'OK these guys obviously aren't interested in the real issues. let's all move over to another table'.
At this point, we open our jackets to show off our bulging belts of explosives as Murphy seems to expect. "Saor Alba!" we cry as we detonate ourselves sending Yessers and BT loons alike into space...
|No. You can't join the club.|
Actually, we just left.
It's sad when a discussion with an MP leads to said MP and entourage putting their fingers in their ears and yelling 'nah nah nah....!'
We were struck by a number of things...
- my friend said that they were the poshest Labour guys he'd ever met
- none of them looked 'ordinary' - they were like pseudo-religious politico hobbyists
- Jim Murphy doesn't like being challenged as has been evidenced in his '100 Days of Sodom' tour
- Murphy has the desperate air of a man who sees his seat on the gravy train evaporating
- they made no attempt to persuade us to vote 'no'