Monday, 3 June 2013

‘’Not far removed from… the BNP - just dressed in a better-fitting suit’’

The description of UKIP by John Martin, president of the Edinburgh College Students Association, will no doubt, still be ringing in the ears of Nigel Farage after his hostile reception on what he had hoped would be a continuation of the sudden influx of support experienced in England; recently winning over 140 seats and emerging on the national stage of British politics. But Farage's expectations were to be greatly disappointed, as he was escorted from the Canons’ Gait pub in Scotland by police to protect him from  a crowd of irate student demonstrators , many of whom believe that UKIP have been "spouting racist, sexist and homophobic bile" for months "without challenge".

Farage, however, remains seemingly unfazed by the demonstration, stating that he “absolutely refuses to believe [the demonstration] is representative of Scottish public opinion’’, and that it is rather the actions of ‘’ 50 yobbo fascist scum …[who] aren't prepared to listen to the debate’’. He also claims that the protest was fueled
by racial hatred rather than differing political ideologies, stressing the belief that the protesters were "filled with a total and utter hatred of the English".

Although not directly blaming the Scottish National Party, (SNP) for the actions of the protesters, he reported to the press that the majority of the activists seemed to be supporters of the SNP, and that he would like to see “Alex Salmond come out and condemn this sort of behaviour. I challenge him today to do that.” He then went on to say that "If anybody from UKIP says anything on Facebook that is in any way homophobic or mildly racist you guys jump down my throat and demand I condemn them and expel them from the party, which of course I do. It is about time Scottish nationalism was put under the same level of scrutiny."    However, for the most part the activists have come from one of two organisations- The Radical Independence Campaign, who says that there had been "no anti-English protest", and the Edinburgh College Students' Association, who also claim that the demonstration was in no way connected to Scottish Nationalism, and was rather ‘’ out of a belief that UKIP's policies are fundamentally rotten’’. As far as I am aware, at no point have either of these parties stated to the press that the demonstration was, in fact, connected to the argument for Scottish Independence as Mr Farage has stated.

In conclusion, despite UKIP’s success in England, causing many people to say that England is now operating under ‘Four party politics’, and the fact that they pushed the Liberal Democrats into fourth place for the projected national share of the vote, similar success in Scotland is unlikely in the near future. In fact, the most pressing issue in Scottish politics of late is not that of UKIPs popularity, but rather that of Scottish independence.

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