By G.A.Ponsonby

A Labour MP at the centre of a row over accusations his constituency office was “vandalised” by independence supporters, has been forced to admit that the ‘vandalism’ was in fact Yes stickers.

Ian Murray, who is the MP for Edinburgh South, created a stir on Tuesday when he tweeted that Yes activists had vandalised his official office.  The Labour MP complained of having been subjected to personal abuse, which he said was getting “out of control”.

However pictures taken by locals within hours of the Labour MP making the accusations, found no evidence of vandalism save for some graffiti on the office doors which was linked to youths from a local gang.

Challenged by users of the social media site to provide evidence of his claims of vandalism by Yes activists, Murray initially refused to respond.

Yesterday in a series of questions posed by online site Wings Over Scotland, which originally broke the story, the Labour MP refused to address several key elements surrounding his claims.

According to the site’s editor, Stuart Campbell, the Labour MP declined to explain why no pictures had been taken of the alleged vandalism.

Murray also refused to confirm if the vandalism had been caught by two security cameras which are located on the premises.

According to the Wings Over Scotland editor, Murray himself is alleged to have said: “Is it vandalism? Well, probably not”, something he apparently later denied having said.

Responding on his own blog the Labour MP has defended his original claims that the stickers were an act of vandalism perpetrated by Yes activists.

Attacking what he called the “vitriol and bile” he had been subjected to on twitter, Murray wrote: “The vandalism was not on the front doors as stated by the blog post.  The doors to my constituency office have been like that since approximately summer 2010, mainly because I purchased a special paint due to the colour matching, not realising that it was ineffective for the job and requires to be sanded down.”

The Labour MP explained that the reason there was no stickers visible when locals arrived to check his claims of vandalism, was that they had been cleared by staff.

Describing what he termed “the poisonous nature of the referendum” Murray insisted he had to protect his staff from “such abuse”.  The Labour MP also confirmed that he had “informally” reported the sticker episode to the police which he said had resulted in his office having “a crime prevention survey done”.

He added: “It was not right that they had to clean these stickers off the windows and doors yesterday and it is not right that they have to work in such an environment. The Chief Inspector agreed and has arranged for my office to have a crime prevention survey done to best protect my staff.”

Murray’s high profile complaints over Yes stickers are in contrast to the silence from Nicola Sturgeon whose office was surrounded by what appeared to be pro-Union Ulster loyalists in 2013, some of whom had hidden their faces.  The gathering witnessed placards being placed on the MSP’s constituency office and Union flags draped over the office facade.

The episode, which was filmed on behalf of Newsnet Scotland at the time, was not reported by news media or condemned by Unionist politicians.

[Newsnet correction. An earlier draft of this article suggested that the image that appears at the top of this article was an actual picture of the constituency office showing the Yes sticker in situ. This now appears not to be the case. The image is a mock-up which used the solitary sticker published on Mr Murray’s blog.  We understand the single sticker image was originally posted as a stand alone image by the Labour MP. As yet there is no confirmation that this sticker image was taken prior to the office window being cleared up.]


2014-04-02 23:56

The original image was suggesting that we need to get some perspective on the term ‘vandalism’.
2014-04-03 09:10

X_Sticks: Ian Murray’s blog is now featuring the exact same inset picture of the offending “sticker” (complete with reflected cycle lane symbol) as alleged “proof” of the vandalism. But the “recreation” of the crime scene from which that inset pic is taken is obviously a photoshop of a GoogleMaps image (sans sticker). If you look for the office on GoogleMaps, and view it from the same angle, you’ll see exactly the same car approaching the junction in exactly the same position, and exactly the same pattern of fading to the yellow lines (since repainted).
2014-04-03 12:03


“Ian Murray’s blog is now featuring the exact same inset picture”

No, the inset picture on MY photoshop (above) came from Ian Murray’s website. He posted the picture of the sticker first, then I photoshopped it onto the Google streetview of the office. I could guess the location of the sticker from the reflection of the bike roadmarking.

I hope thats clear now.
2014-04-04 08:31

Thanks for clarification X_Sticks! Yes, I did misinterpret that. Got it now, though. 🙂

2014-04-03 09:23

Tut tut Newsnet.

You have edited my post which I put up TO MAKE IT CLEAR that the graphic I put together IS a photoshop ‘recreation’ of the ‘crime’.

I don’t want to be accused of trying to pass it off as a genuine photo. The insert on the graphic IS the photo posted by Mr Murray.

Please make this clear.

[Admin – Your initial message was amended because it gave the impression that Newsnet Scotland had doctored the image. An unintentional side effect of your wording.

We are unclear if the sticker shown on the window is an actual example of the so called vandalism. We assumed, given that the Labour MP himself had used the same sticker image, that it was authentic.

Can you get in touch please?]

call me dave
2014-04-03 00:47

Mr Murray doth protest too much. He has been making much ado about nothing and has been found out trying to gild his shabby story.

Meanwhile we have two wobbles on the same day.

Wobble 1.
‘NO’ to turn down the campaign heat until June and Gordon is coming off the bench.

Wobble 2.
2014-04-03 02:03

Hard to believe unionists are still talking in these misguided ways. Gordon Brown focussed our resolve against Thatcher? Err, what? Cameron will take inspiration from John Major? Ooo err Norma, quaking in my boots. Alistair Darling made a robust positive case for the union? Sorry, I must have missed that. The NO campaign expected a wobble? A wobble? It’s been goof after gaffe since sausage roll boy, the 500 multiple choice DIY scare story, and one porky pie after another spinned for days to the point of ultimate tedium. Better Together parties have been repeatedly out manouvered by Mr Salmond to bray for Christmas like proverbial turkeys; killing off Devomax before it split the YES vote, and uniting behind the no currency union only to find their argument has a fatal glass jaw.
The Better Together campaign is built on sand. We’re told there’s a positive case for the Union, but nobody can say what it is.
Jo Bloggs
2014-04-03 06:53

Breeks, ca canny. You’ll be labled a “scary fanatic” for daring to ask them what the positive case is, or seeking to point out the fallacies in what they say.

2014-04-03 03:55

Yeah, stickers. (laughs up sleeve) 😀

What is the youth of today coming to? Nothing, smashed or spray painted… some stickers. This is the vile vandalism which stressed Mr Murray to the point of public outcry on twitter.

Just childish nonsense and I do mean Mr Murray’s claims.
2014-04-03 07:21

As far as I can see you are exaggerating Macart make that sticker as in the singular 😀

Indeed I was one who rightly demanded date/time stamped evidence and if that’s it frankly I’m amazed. Ian Murray’s gall and hysteria are shocking. First up there are CCTV cameras in the locale. yet before ensuring he had a culprit to blame he went off on a tirade blaming Yessers.

In fact what he blamed others for was exactly what he did by jumping to conclusions. I think whoever stuck said sticker did so in such a manner as not to deface the window but neatly centred it.:-D

The man is NOT one for calm logic and certainly not someone I’d want representing me at Westminster.

2014-04-03 06:13

Maybe it was just a typo. Didn’t they make stalking a criminal offence pretty recently?
“Hello Police? There’s a sticker outside my front door and it’s not going away”.
“Did you say sticker?”
2014-04-03 07:15

Will Mr Murray’s career survive ‘stickergate’ and his pitiful attempt to demonise and smear the YES campaign? When you are perfectly willing to exaggerate something in order to wilfully damage others, what kind of representative does that make of you?

Jeez, that’s stooping fairly low by the opposition.

2014-04-03 06:28

Ian Murray considers the word “YES” to be an act of vandalism.

Stick(er)s and stones Mr Murray?
2014-04-03 07:03

mmmm……. Possibly Mr. Murray should be more concerned about the egg on his face than the sticker of dubious provenance on his window?
2014-04-03 07:57

Murphy and Murray
Labours answer to Dumb and Dumber

And Murray is my MP 🙁
Not for much longer !

P45 for Murray
2014-04-03 12:02

He calls the press and has a word with the Police.
Meanwhile 2-300 weapons of mass murder are based in his back yard and there are food banks all over the place.
2014-04-03 12:11

If it was a Better Together sticker would Ian Murray still have classified it as ‘vandalism’ and tweeted to the world as such?

As regards to the YES sicker on his window, personally I would have called it guerrilla advertising, the same as fly-postering.
2014-04-03 19:39

He’ll be complaining about the lamp-post banners at Lidl next.

2014-04-03 19:48

It genuinely amazes me that someone who is happy to leave real vandalism on his office door for 4 years (an eyesore in an otherwise nice area) has the gall to report some additional sticker(s) to the police. I’ve often wondered why they didn’t get the door repainted. Maybe they were leaving it so that they could blame ‘nationalists’ for the damage at some future date?

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