Wednesday 22 January 2020

Ukip leader slams ‘fascist scum’ who forced him to take refuge in pub

File photo dated 06/05/13 of UKIP leader Nigel Farage being escorted by police officers as he leaves the Cannons Gait pub as protestors heckle him, as the Ukip leader has likened parts of the Scottish nationalism campaign to fascism after being rescued by police when he was mobbed by rowdy protesters. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire
File photo dated 06/05/13 of UKIP leader Nigel Farage being escorted by police officers as he leaves the Cannons Gait pub as protestors heckle him, as the Ukip leader has likened parts of the Scottish nationalism campaign to fascism after being rescued by police when he was mobbed by rowdy protesters. Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has likened parts of the Scottish nationalism campaign to fascism after being rescued by police when he was mobbed by rowdy protesters shouting "racist Nazi scum".

Staff were forced to clear the Canons' Gait pub on Edinburgh's Royal Mile last night, where Mr Farage was due to hold a press conference near the Scottish Parliament, after it was filled with chanting protesters.

The politician attempted to make an escape by taxi but protesters blocked its path and Mr Farage was forced to return to the pub, where police barricaded the doors against the protesters until officers in a riot van came to his aid.

Speaking about the incident on BBC Radio Scotland's Good Morning Scotland programme, he said: "The idea that Ukip is some kind of horrible, nasty, anti-immigrant, racist party is not something that was evident to the rest of the country, but of course that wasn't what it was all about.

"It was a demonstration dressed up as being anti-racism but in fact in itself was deeply racist, with a total hatred of the English and a desire for Scotland to be independent from Westminster. I mean, my goodness me, if this is the face of Scottish nationalism it's a pretty ugly picture.

"The anger, the snarling, the shouting, the swearing was all linked in to a desire for the Union Jack to be burnt and extinguished from Scotland forever. There's absolutely no doubt who these people were or what they stood for."

He added: "I must say I have heard before that there are some parts of Scottish nationalism that are akin to fascism but yesterday I saw that face-to-face.

"Either the Scottish media have got to start reporting the truth about some of the extremes of the independence movement or not, but it's about time they did."

Asked on BBC Radio Four's Today programme if he thought the SNP leadership were directly implicated in yesterday's events, Mr Farage said: "No, but these people were supporters of Scottish nationalism and virulently opposed to the English."

He added: "I would like to hear Alex Salmond come out and condemn that type of behaviour and I challenge him today to do that."

Two men were arrested after the protest and Mr Farage was escorted from the scene "to ensure his safety", Police Scotland said.

Mr Farage was in Edinburgh to promote his candidate Otto Inglis in the Aberdeen Donside by-election.

A spokesman for the pro-independence campaign group Yes Scotland said it condemns all forms of intimidation.

"We had no knowledge or involvement in any of the scenes on the Royal Mile during (Mr Farage's) visit to Edinburgh," he said.

"Yes Scotland continues to run a positive campaign and we condemn any and all forms of intimidation."

An SNP spokesman said: "Anyone who heard the interview with Nigel Farage on BBC this morning would have thought he has completely lost the plot."

The SNP spokesman said: "He accused the BBC of hatred when under pressure and panicked during an interview. Nothing he says can be treated with a shred of credibility and his partners in the No campaign should be embarrassed about his behaviour."

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed two men were arrested at yesterday's protest for assault and breach of the peace.

One revealed on Twitter that he is English, and criticised Mr Farage for branding yesterday's protest "anti-English".

Mike Shaw, president of Edinburgh University Students' Association's socialist society, said: "Ukip protest yesterday branded as 'anti-English'. As a proud Englishman, arrested yesterday for protesting, I dispute these claims."

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: "We've always known that supporters of independence can be very passionate for their cause but the offensive and aggressive behaviour towards Nigel Farage was unacceptable.

"Of course I disagree with Nigel Farage on his unpleasant and dishonest agenda but he will be defeated by argument not aggression.

"It was deeply ironic when these self-proclaimed anti-racist campaigners told an Englishman to get back to his own country. Anti-racists turned racist but were too ignorant to notice. I am sure most people in Scotland will be appalled at this behaviour. These people do not speak for Scotland.

"Alex Salmond must speak out against this attack on free speech."

First Minister Alex Salmond said: "If you have someone who actually said this morning in an interview - accused a BBC interviewer of showing the same, as he put it, hate towards him as people in Edinburgh yesterday, then you're dealing with someone who is outwith the context of normal politics.

"So, yes, we'll have our political debate and discourse in a proper way in Scotland. We can frankly do without Ukip, who dislike everybody and know absolutely nothing about Scotland."

Liam O'Hare, a spokesman for the Radical Independence group that organised yesterday's protest, said: "Nigel Farage's racist, bigoted ideas have no place in Scotland.

"Farage's attempts to paint our protest as anti-English is pathetic. Our vision is for a Scotland that welcomes people from across the world, including England.

"This is the exact opposite of Farage and Ukip's vision for Scotland which is a parochial, bigoted British nationalism.

"English protesters were as vociferous in their opposition to Farage as everyone else on the protest yesterday. We're against his racist ideas, not where he comes from.

"We believe the hysterical anti-immigrant politics of Westminster has poured fuel on the racist fire of Ukip. Our protest was to make it clear that Ukip's rise in England is in no way reflective of Scotland.

"We want a Scotland that welcomes immigrants, and that stands for multiculturalism and equal rights for all. We believe Scotland can achieve this through independence, where the likes of Farage will have no role in our politics."

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