Photographs cast doubt on Labour MP’s Yes-vandals claim


  By a Newsnet reporter
A Labour MP who claimed his office had been vandalised by supporters of independence has been accused of making defamatory accusations after photographs appeared to disprove the claim.
Edinburgh MP Ian Murray posted the accusation on social media site Twitter.  The Labour MP said: “…my constituency office was vandalised by Yes supporters last night. I can take personal abuse but it’s getting out of control.”

However photographs taken by locals who live near the MP’s office showed no signs of any significant damage, save for some graffiti that had been scrawled on the office door.  The images, which were published by pro-independence website Wings Over Scotland appeared to show the letters ‘OE’ repeatedly scribbled on two doors.

The site editor Stuart Campbell revealed that the letters ‘OE’ are in fact the signature of a local gang of youths and means ‘Owning Edinburgh’

Writing on his site, Mr Campbell revealed a cursory search of google revealed a Scotsman article which explains the origins of the signature.

The article headlined ’11 held as police wipe out graffiti’ contained the following:

Eleven teenagers have been detained in a police operation aimed at wiping out one of the city’s most notorious graffiti ‘tags’.

The distinctive signature OE – thought to stand for Owning Edinburgh – has been spray-painted across buildings, billboards and signs across the Capital in recent months.

Other articles located by the Wings Over Scotland editor explain that OE is one of two rival gangs operating in the city, the other being ‘DKM’.

In another newspaper article it says:

Graffiti gangs of middle-class children are being blamed by police for disfiguring hundreds of buildings and signs across the Capital.

Police said the respectable backgrounds of many of the worst culprits was making it difficult to trace and prosecute them.

One of the two main gangs working in the city is based in Morningside and Merchiston and often uses a signature “tag” of DKM. The other, known as OE, mainly operates in Niddrie and the city centre.

The work of OE and DKM can both be seen around the city centre, with Niddrie Mains Road particularly badly hit by the OE gang. OE take their name from Own Edinburgh, a name derived from a computer game in which the objective is to decorate urban settings with as much graffiti as possible.

Campbell adds pointedly: “We’re sure that when Mr Murray realises his honest error and gets a moment to attend to his Twitter account, he’ll be quick to retract the defamatory, inflammatory allegation that the minor cosmetic damage done to his door was part of a disgraceful campaign of cybernat terror.  He has, after all, been Edinburgh South MP for almost four years, and we presume must be aware of such issues.”

However despite photographic evidence which appeared to disprove his claim that the premises had been vandalised by Yes supporters, the Labour MP’s tweet remained published over twelve hours later, with no apparent retraction.  Murray has refused to respond to users of the social media site who have questioned his claim.

The claims by the Labour MP echo similar false accusations which were made by the anti-independence campaign group Better Together.

In April last year, the Better Together campaign claimed that its HQ in Blythswood Square “comes under attack with almost daily attempts of sabotage from SNP activists.”

Appearing on STV, Better Together campaign director Blair McDougall claimed there was a coordinated campaign of ‘smear and fear’ orchestrated by Alex Salmond and the people at the top of the Yes Scotland campaign.

However an investigation by Newsnet Scotland found no evidence of any such attack with local police confirming they had received no complaints.

[Newsnet comment.  The media continually fails to hold to account figures connected to the Better Together campaign or the wider anti-independence movement in general when they are caught making false claims.  These people act with impunity.

Labour MP Ian Murray has made an accusation that appears to fly in the face of the available evidence.  As we have chronicled, the official No campaign made similar false claims of vandalism almost exactly one year ago.  That accusation is still published on the official website to this day.

Leaflets are being distributed by Better Together that are blatantly false – one such leaflet distributed on the day Mark Carney gave his speech on the pros and cons of a currency union, falsely claimed that the Bank of England Governor had criticised Alex Salmond’s currency plans.

Last year an academic was pursued and harried by the media after being found to have accepted a modest payment from the Yes campaign for writing an article, yet time after time we have leading figures in the No campaign, and the campaign group itself, issuing statements that are at odds with reality … yet nothing is ever done.

The criticism levelled at people like Ian Murray are not examples of ‘abuse’ but are the justified criticisms of ordinary Scots frustrated and damned angry at the blind eye regularly turned by the fourth estate, when the No campaign transgresses.]