DCSIMG

A soapbox meeting that turned as dark as the skies above ...

Jim Murphy in the middle of the heated debate on Kirkcaldy High Street. PIC: FPA

Jim Murphy in the middle of the heated debate on Kirkcaldy High Street. PIC: FPA

 

It was the week the referendum debate came to the heart of town - and turned sour.

It was the week an MP was egged and heckled by opponents, forcing him to temporarily abandon his Scotland-wide tour.

It was the week a chair was thrown from a balcony at a Yes campaign bus.

It was the week when the blame game swamped social media.

It was the week when some people just lost the plot.

And it was the week when people caught up in the nonsense simply shook their heads in utter despair...

So let’s start at the beginning.

Better Together confirmed Jim Murphy MP was bringing his old-style soapbox campaign to Fife - two upturned Irn Bru crates for a stage and a microphone to give his message in support of the uinion.

The local Yes campaign was prepared with posters and banners, but some - not all - went beyond the standard political heckling as this gathering outside the entrance to The Mercat Shopping Centre turned as dark as the skies.

A couple standing next to me moved forward to hear. The tip of their umbrella accidentally nudged a woman in the back of the head. They got a mouthful.

A colleague who stopped to watch during her lunch hour was abused for simply applauding a point he made.

Around Murphy, one man stepped into his personal space to stare him out, while a woman tried to grab his microphone.

A photographer for a national newspaper was abused for being English.

From the moment he stepped on to his soapbox, Murphy was drowned out by a wall of noise - any political points made were lost amid the yells, the abuse and the insults.

He was a traitor, liar, war criminal, and a quisling, often in the same sentence. People yelled above others who were jeered above folk trying to ask questions. It was grim stuff.

And then came the eggs.

As the Mercat mayhem fizzled out - the police arrived after the event - one Yes campaigner quietly moved through the crowd apologising for the behaviour of a few; conduct summed up in one defining image on the front page of The Times the following morning of a Yes-badged supporter giving a defiant one digit salute straight to the camera.

The fall-out was still raining down on Twitter and Facebook timelines as the next outrage came - a chair chucked.

Jim Sillars was in town on Friday with his Margo Mobile.

He was joined by David Torrance MSP as they set out on their rounds.

At one stop a chair was thrown from a balcony - another moment of utter madness that could have had nasty consequences had it struck anyone standing round the vehicle.

And so the temperature was cranked up once more as a direct result of the actions of individuals who have simply lost the plot.

By the weekend the place was awash with conspiracy theories which belonged in thre X-Files, and the tedious blame game went into over-drive.

This really wasn’t Kirkcaldy’s finest hour...

 

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