Hate is an often misused word. It describes an ugly emotion which makes people irrational and can consume them with bitterness. Nonetheless, Peter Ross is correct to say a minority of Scots really do hate Jim Murphy and Scottish Labour (Scotsman, 02/05/15).
I saw this first hand when I attended a Labour rally in Glasgow last Friday where Jim Murphy was due to speak alongside Ed Miliband, Margaret Curran and Kezia Dugdale. Outside the leisure centre where the event was taking place a sizeable mob of nationalist protesters, at least some of whom were SNP party members, had formed to welcome those attending the event.
Intimidation was their tactic. They angrily waved saltires and screamed “Red Tories Out” and swore in the faces of those attending the event and families intending to use the swimming pool. One protester took a close-up picture of every single person who entered the venue – men, women and children. Worst of all, I saw one nationalist make a sexual gesture towards a young female Labour Party supporter.
The irony of chanting “Red Tories Out” when the Labour is not actually in power in Westminster or Holyrood was clearly lost on this humourless bunch. Likewise, the fact that the SNP apparently wants to work with Labour.
Inside the venue most people were bemused by the protest and grateful for the sizeable police presence. However, some people were clearly shaken and fearful. Children were crying.
Personally, I felt a little disappointed that a group driven by hatred and bitterness, not a love for Scotland, were intimidating people whilst waving my country’s flag.
Additionally, I was left wondering one thing. If the SNP gave the mob all they promised, would they be content? After all, mobs are fickle.