A leading campaigner for a No vote in September’s independence referendum has strongly condemned a concerted attack this week on Yes placards placed in private gardens.
On Thursday Moray Council officials highlighted an issue over the placing of campaign stickers on road signs, saying that the strong adhesive being used was causing damage to the laminate covering and so making the job of restoration an expensive and time consuming one.
However, it has also emerged that at some point overnight on Thursday Yes campaign advertising boards that had been placed in private gardens and other properties throughout Moray were defaced.
Fochabers/Lhanbryde councillor Sean Morton, who has been campaigning for Better Together, has made it clear that people must be allowed to express their views without fear of retribution.
He said: “We don’t need to litter the landscape with stickers to make our point so I’m glad the council has urged campaigners to keep them off road signs and the like.
“But if people are expressing their opinion with a poster in their window or garden, leave them be.
“We are all entitled to our opinions and shouldn’t be afraid to express them. I’ve lost count of how many times people have said they would be scared to put a No poster up in case they got a brick through their window – that’s just wrong.
“Yes or No, we should all be allowed to have our say without fear of damage to our property.”
Police Scotland meanwhile have taken a statement over damage to Yes signs that were damaged at homes in Lossiemouth and Roseisle.
Secretary of the Scottish National Party’s Moray Constituency Association, Graham Leadbitter, said: “Destruction of these signs is no different to vandalising anyone else’s property and this behaviour is entirely unacceptable. Freedom of expression is a precious right that must be protected for everyone involved in campaigning.
“So far the referendum campaign has been conducted in a fairly respectful way and with only seven weeks left of campaigning I really hope that it will continue that way.
“The vandalism of campaign posters is not acceptable. Everyone, irrespective of their views, needs to respect other people’s property. it needs to be remembered that these Yes field posters have been paid for by donations from ordinary supporters who have chosen to give some of their hard-earned money to support a cause they believe in.
“I have reported this criminal damage to the police who are investigating it and should any further vandalisms occur then they will also be reported.
“There are far more positive ways to campaign and it is incumbent on all activists to be enthusiastic but to also act in a responsible manner at the same time.”