Monday 27 April 2015

Spray Paint in Aberdeen

Earlier this month, someone vandalised the Conservative and Labour party offices in Aberdeen. I assumed it was the work of a random bampot with nothing better to do on a Friday night, but Craig Murray has a more outré theory.

Graffiti on the Conservative Party office. Source: BBC News

Murray is a former British diplomat. He served as ambassador to Uzbekistan, before resigning to denounce the UK government's cosy relationship with the loathsome Uzbek regime. Even by the standards of central Asia, the Uzbek government is a gang of vicious torturers and thugs. It was a brave and principled decision on Murray's part.

I am saddened to see that Murray has drifted into paranoia. In a blog post, Murray argues the graffiti must have been the work of the UK security services:

I warned that the security services will turn to false flag events to discredit the SNP. [...] A sweeping SNP victory on May 7 is considered enough of a threat to the United Kingdom for the security services to use up some assets.

If true, it would be the most pathetic secret conspiracy of all time. The planning must have gone like this:


INT. MI6 OFFICES, LONDON. M sits behind a desk, with JAMES BOND seated opposite.
M: I have a special mission for you, 007. I need you to go to Scotland.
BOND: What will I do there?
M: I want you to spray paint a backwards swastika, the word "scum", and the letter "Q" on the Conservative and Labour party offices in Aberdeen.

[Long pause. BOND looks bewildered.]

BOND: With all due respect sir, what will that achieve?
M: It will discredit the Scottish National Party.
BOND: How will it do that?
M: It will appear their core supporters are vandals who hate the unionist parties. This will cause a backlash among the voters and destroy the SNP.

[Another long pause.]

BOND: Very optimistic, sir. What makes you think voters will hold the SNP responsible for a handful of vandals in Aberdeen?
M: They just will.
BOND: Why a backwards swastika? And what does "Q" stand for?
M: It makes it look like they're too ignorant to draw a swastika properly. And Q stands for quisling. Or quim, ever since the Avengers film that insult has been making a comeback. Or maybe Q branch, as a subtle sign we were behind this. I haven't decided which.
BOND: Shouldn't I at least spray "SNP forever" or "We love Nicola" to implicate the SNP directly?
M: Stop trying to be clever, 007. Just do as you're told.
BOND: Do I pick up my spray paint from Q branch?
M: No. Stop at Homebase on your way up. Be sure to keep the receipt for your expenses claim.


Can the British not even muster a decent shadowy conspiracy? It reminds me of an old Bill Hicks routine, about how the British idea of civil disorder was some ruffians knocking over dustbins in Shaftesbury.

A particularly lurid paranoia and hatred of the UK government is a hallmark of the British far left; I once wrote about similar behaviour by the Stop The War Coalition. I would like to see hard evidence before I believe in this strangely inept government conspiracy. I find the alternative explanation -- one or more hateful idiots, acting of their own volition -- to be much more plausible.

There is a certain irony in saying no sincere person would write graffiti accusing the UK political parties of being Nazi scum, in the course of a blog post accusing the UK security services of crimes against democracy in Scotland. The vandal likely shares Murray's opinions, and was just expressing himself with spray paint instead of pixels.

It's also remarkable that Murray and his ilk depict the SNP as some sort of helpless underdog, when it has been the governing party of Scotland for the last eight years and shows every sign of remaining in power for at least another five. As First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon enjoys a job approval rating of 68%, far greater than any other party leader in Scotland. It would take rather more than a bit of graffiti to knock this juggernaut off course.

The SNP are not responsible for the actions of every bampot who claims to support Scottish independence, and I imagine Sturgeon was disgusted by the graffiti. It has made no difference to the SNP's standing in the polls. They have registered a double-digit lead in every survey since last October. Most recently, in a poll published nine days after the graffiti incident, they were 16 points ahead of Labour.

The SNP are on course for a historic victory in the general election. Unless they suffer a shocking reverse in the next year, they are likely to win a third term in government at Holyrood in 2016. If some evil conspiracy is trying to bring them down, it has been singularly unsuccessful.

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