I was interested to see what kind of impact Nigel Farage and UKIP would have in Scotland but, instead of a report of UKIP's policies, how the party intended to fight the independence referendum in Scotland, unfortunately a handful of clowns wrote the kind of headlines for UKIP, they must have hoped for and, could not have bettered had they written them themselves. I watched the TV coverage and heard the abuse hurled in the direction of Nigel Farage, abuse which included cries of "Fascist", "Go back to England, you're not welcome here"; "You can stick your Union Jack up your arse" Apologists for the demonstrators have said it was Farage's views they objected to, not him as a person. A spokesman for the SNP said, "People in Scotland know how extreme and intolerant UKIP are" which must win top prize for irony. The Yes Campaign also refused to condemn the demonstration and said it would not rule out working with Radical Independence, one of the demonstration's organising groups, in the future.
Farage's reaction was just as intemperate, by claiming the demonstrators had exposed "a pretty ugly face of Scottish nationalism that was akin to Fascism." If either Nigel Farage or the demonstrators who hurled shouts of "Fascist" at him, had a clue what Fascism meant, what a real Fascist stands for, they would not be so quick to bandy the word with such abandon. Is it stupidity, lack of general knowledge, ignorance of what Fascism has done in those countries where it was dominant, or is it a combination of all of them, that causes the word to be thrown at opponents? I would have thought the activities of Hitler, Mussolini and their cronies, during the 1930s and 1940s, would have been so well known, even to the ignoramuses that pollute the internet, that to call Farage a Fascist would be such an obvious nonsense. Farage, by equating Scottish Nationalism with Fascism, merely underlined his ignorance of the Nationalist movement in Scotland. That comes as no surprise, as his and UKIP's knowledge of Scotland, its history and its politics, both past and present, is risible. The best thing that could happen in order to destroy any hope of UKIP making any kind of impact in Scotland, would be to give Nigel Farage and whoever else comes up from England, unlimited time and coverage in the Scottish media.
Throwing stupid accusations of "Fascist" at political opponents, or equating the National Movement in Scotland with Fascism, is just laziness and the kind of childish name-calling now so prevalent. It is akin to the shouts of "perv" or "paedo" that are regularly thrown as insults, when crowds of teenagers meet in the streets. We never did experience Fascism in the UK but there are still far too many of us still alive, who lived during the years when it was dominant in Europe and South America, for the consequences of living under Fascism to be unknown. If there is one thing that sets my teeth on edge, it is to hear some snot-nosed adolescent, of any age, hurl accusations of "Fascist" at an opponent, because either they are too stupid to know any better or, are too lazy to educate themselves about how stupid they are. Do these people really think that Farage and UKIP are the same kind of people who built Auschwitz-Berkinau? Does Farage really think the kind of loud mouths he met in Edinburgh, are the equivalent of the death squads that wiped out whole villages in Eastern Europe? If they do, it is time they took some serious medical advice. If they don't, it is time for them to temper their language, unless they want to see politics in Scotland really descend into the gutter.
I have been involved in politics in Scotland, in one way or another, for over fifty years, campaigned in the streets in some of the roughest places in Scotland. On some occasions, the verbal abuse has been pretty near the bone and, in the early days when the SNP was just beginning to make its presence felt in Scotland, there was the odd physical altercation. Generally speaking, with the exception of the time of the miners' strike, physical violence of the type witnessed in other European countries has been largely absent. In fact, until the internet took over, the kind of bile and nastiness so prevalent on Twitter and Facebook, was unknown outside the realms of anonymous letters. It is the height of nonsense to suggest there are no racists in Scotland and it is not so long ago, self-styled asylum seekers in Scotland found the place anything but welcoming. But it is blatantly outrageous to suggest the National Movement in Scotland, in any of its organised and official guises, is founded on ethnic or racist grounds. To suggest the SNP or any other political grouping on the independence side of the debate, makes anti-English arguments, is to willfully misrepresent the politics of Nationalism in Scotland.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to legislate for stupidity and the reception given to Nigel Farage, allegedly to demonstrate against "the intolerance" of UKIP was as stupid as it gets. The UKIP are "intolerant" therefore we will stop them speaking, UKIP hate foreigners, therefore we will tell Farage to get back to England; UKIP knows nothing about Scotland, therefore we will tell Farage to stick the Union Jack up his arse. Aye, and to show the demonstrators were not anti-English, the leader of one of the demonstrating groups was, yup, you've got it - English. Both Alex Salmond and the Yes Campaign will have their own reasons for not condemning the tone of the demonstration and the kind of language used but I hope they have not damaged the independence case or set the tone for future debate between now and next year.