LIb Dem Councillor assaulted while delivering Focus leaflets

Up and down the country, councillors and campaigners from all parties will be spending their sunny Sunday out and about delivering leaflets or knocking on doors talking to residents to find out what is on their minds.

At this time of year, quite often you’ll have a chat with people in their gardens. Most people are lovely and friendly even if they don’t vote for you. A few can be a bit grumpy but it is relatively rare that someone is downright abusive. And, thankfully, even less frequent that they actually resort to violence.

This morning Edinburgh Lib Dem Councillor Kevin Lang was delivering his regular Focus in Almond ward when a resident grabbed him by the throat. Kevin recounted what had happened on Twitter:

I’ve been doing politics a long time so I’m used to shouty, angry people but today is the first time I’ve ever been physically assaulted.

Was simply out delivering my councillor newsletter when a man came out of his house, grabbed me by the throat…

and stuffed the newsletter down my shirt, using all kinds of profanity as he did so. I’ve obvs reported to the police.

No matter what divides us, this kind of intimidation and abuse of people you disagree with has no place in a free and democratic society.

Thankfully, Kevin is fine. He’s understandably a bit shaken but nobody who knows him will be in the slightest bit surprised that he just got on and finished his round. I’m not sure I would have done.

His friend and Scottish Lib Dem Leader said:

Former leader Willie Rennie added:

These sorts of incidents are rare. I could have been put off when a woman took one of the first leaflets I ever delivered when I was 15 and put it on her garden bonfire with a look of disdain that almost turned me to a pillar of salt. It turned out she was a leading light in the local Tories. I’ve been chased out of streets by Labour activists in by-elections and had abuse hurled at me but never anything like this.

I’m sure you will want to join with the Lib Dem Voice team and send our best wishes to Kevin. The fact that we now hold three out of the four Council seats in Kevin’s ward in a proportional system is testament to the amount that he and his ward colleagues Louise Young and Lewis Younie do for local people.  This incident will not put them off, but nobody should ever have to put up with this sort of intimidation and violence when they are serving their community.

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

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  • Despicable. Hope you’re OK Kevin. I’ve had my hairy moments over the years as well while out campaigning, but it’s important not to ever let them intimidate us. And remember, they wouldn’t bother if we weren’t winning.

  • I hope Kevin’s OK and the police take it seriously.

    I wish this surprised me, but unfortunately it doesn’t. There’s so much anger in politics right now. It’s been angry in Scotland for at least a decade, which has come in waves, and you can see it building up again everywhere you look. It’s not to say that people shouldn’t be angry about what’s going on in politics, but the conspiracy theories and the rush to use terms like ‘traitor’ fans the flames.

    I admit to feeling some anxiety when delivering leaflets myself. There’s one woman who always seems to be on the look out as she comes to the door, refuses a leaflet, tells me her neighbours don’t want one either and scowls as she watches me do the rest of the street. There are a few doors with cameras and it always crosses my mind that my image could end up on a website of known ‘quislings’. I work with some hard-core nationalists, and I’ve heard them talk about comparing pictures on their databases of activists as they canvas or man stalls with people appearing on Question Time etc.

    On the other hand, there are some lovely people. Usually the older generation, who tell me I’m doing important work. I doubt they care about the colour of the leaflet, but do value public service.

  • Anthony Durham 10th Aug '22 - 10:39am

    I still dine out on the tale of when I got bitten while delivering leaflets in Greenwich. A human bite is notorious for being almost as noxious as a Komodo Dragon’s and even though the police whisked me off to A&E for prompt attention my bitten hand still swelled up like an inflated rubber glove. The offender got a slap on the wrist in court.
    Almost more painful was a cat-slash I received in Lewisham. We all know the danger from dog jaws silently waiting inside a letter box, but I discovered the hard way that a demon cat could extend its paw with claws extended, to rake my hand holding a leaflet actually outside the door.

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