Brick thrown at Scottish Lib Dem HQ

So, yesterday morning, this happened:

This would have been awful if it had happened to any political party, but you always feel it more deeply when the building is full of your friends, people you really care about.

You have to wonder what goes through the mind of someone who thinks it is ok to put human beings in danger like that.

Elections are stressful enough for any party’s staff. By this time, they’ve been working ridiculous hours for months, and the idea of work/life balance has completely gone out the window.

They shouldn’t have to worry about missiles coming in the window or any other threat to their safety.

Alistair Carmichael, our campaign chair, said:

This morning a brick was thrown through the window of our HQ in Edinburgh.

“Fortunately no one was hurt but it could have been very different and our staff are understandably shaken by this.

“I’m dismayed that this kind of behaviour seems to have taken root in Scotland. Political campaigning should be about the clash of ideas, not about acts of violence.

“I would like to thank Police Scotland for their work in detaining a suspect. I also want to thank all our party staff who have been affected by this incident but who continue to give their all in delivering our campaign in this election.”

There is never any excuse for this sort of behaviour. It’s becoming more frequent. SNP and Tory offices have also experienced vandalism and graffitti in recent months. It’s about intimidating and trying to silence people. The proper reaction is not to be silenced and to keep campaigning.

Willie Rennie made a brief reference to the incident in his morning run video this morning, thanking people for their support before talking about today’s focus on social care.

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • John Marriott 20th Apr '21 - 10:16am

    The cynic might say that no publicity is bad publicity! More seriously though, could it be the some people are actually getting worried about the Scottish Lib Dems? The fact that both the SNP and Tories have received similar attention recently might indicate from whence this action emanates.

  • The most frightening thing for me is that this happened during the day-time, during normal working hours so the perpetrator would have expected there to be members of staff present at the time.

    IMO, this is yet another symptom of how toxic and dysfunctional the political discourse in Scotland has become. Things became very nasty in the run-up to the 2014 referendum and we’ve never recovered. It’s not all one-sided either – it’s just the inevitable consequence of reducing all political debate into a binary issue. It encourages the attitude of “you’re either with us or against us” and everything that comes with that.

    I’ve sometimes worried I’ve been dramatic when I’ve feared the Ulsterisation of Scottish politics, but more than ever we are encouraged to see everything and everyone in terms of whether or not they are for or against a particular constitutional arrangement. Intimidation of political volunteers has become endemic. If you volunteer on political stall in Scotland, expect to have your photo taken and added to a list.

    It’s why I’m so frustrated when well meaning party supporters from other parts of the UK think that another referendum would be no big deal.

  • @Fiona

    “Things became very nasty in the run-up to the 2014 referendum and we’ve never recovered.”

    I don’t think they did at all. It was overall a remarkable exercise in peaceful respectful democracy. What its your evidence to the contrary?

  • Peter Martin 21st Apr '21 - 7:56am

    @ Hireton,

    You’d have to live in Scotland to know whether Fiona’s point was valid.

    If our wider experience of a later referendum is anything to go by, it probably is. It would be good if everyone could have shaken hands after “a remarkable exercise in peaceful respectful democracy”, as you put it, agreeing the vote settled the matter and that we should all move on to other things.

    But, we know they don’t do that!

  • @PeterMartin

    I do live in Scotland which is why I question @fiona’s comment. I note she hasn’t replied.

    We did move on until England decided to leave the EU in 2016 and opened up the question again.

  • Fiona is right. The 2014 referendum was a deeply unpleasant experience for many of us in Scotland. The worst I’ve had in 30 years of active campaigning.
    I was frequently shouted at and intimidated while delivering Better Together leaflets in Edinburgh. On one occasion spat at. The modus operandai for some of them was to just follow you silently and stand at the end of the drive as you delivered the leaflet, then follow you to the next house; rinse, repeat. If you tried to engage them in friendly conversation, (“Hi. How’re you doing? I’m just delivering some leaflets for the campaign. Would you like one?”) they just stayed silent, continued to stare. This happened to me 2 or 3 times in different bits of the city.
    Now I’m a big boy and to be honest it just made me even more determined to beat them, but I know for a fact that a number of younger activists decided to stop campaigning as a result of this. One young woman I saw was in tears when she came back to HQ.
    And no, this was not an ‘isolated incident’. I’ve heard of several similar experiences. It was also unpleasant to just talk about the issue in the pub. People who were laughing and joking with you a few minutes before would go silent and hostile when you happened to mention you were voting No. I know of people who haven’t spoken to members of their family since the vote.
    So Hireton I guess if you were part of TeamYes and drank the kool aid then it was all great fun. I do see that. But you have to understand that 55% of us were not in that gang and to us the whole thing was a desperate effort to stop people taking away something that means a lot to us, A bit like 2016. And yes, many of us were abused and intimidated. And to hear people talk about what a great happy civic engagement it was is frankly a bit insulting.

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