Farage and the Farrago of lies


  By G.A.Ponsonby
A band of hard line Scottish nationalists this week turned on UKIP leader Nigel Farage, forcing the mild mannered English gent to flee from Edinburgh in fear of his own safety.
This lie is being perpetrated by malevolent forces within the media here in Scotland.  It is a lie that has at its heart the aim of portraying Scots who oppose fundamental Unionism as nothing more than an anti-English Facist mob intent on silencing all who oppose them.

By G.A.Ponsonby
A band of hard line Scottish nationalists this week turned on UKIP leader Nigel Farage, forcing the mild mannered English gent to flee from Edinburgh in fear of his own safety.
This lie is being perpetrated by malevolent forces within the media here in Scotland.  It is a lie that has at its heart the aim of portraying Scots who oppose fundamental Unionism as nothing more than an anti-English Facist mob intent on silencing all who oppose them.

That this lie is being perpetrated by the very people trusted to expose society’s wrongdoers and shed light on the dark corners of power, is indicative of the corruption that is eating away at journalism in Scotland.

The narrative of the Farage protest of course falls apart when one looks at the facts.  The students who shouted at Nigel Farage after he gave a press conference in Edinburgh, included many English amongst their ranks, one of which was arrested by police.

Another student who gave statements to the media was Max Crema who is a member of the Labour party.  There are also claims that people had travelled from England in order to attend the protest.

Taking part were also members of the Radical Independence group and a banner in support of independence was displayed.  Thus, this protest was cross party and cross national and certainly not as presented by many in the Scottish, and indeed the UK media.

The lie itself has been embellished with claims that Farage was told to go back to England and suggestions that the Union Flag should be burnt.  In one clip a Scottish student can be seen telling Farage to take his EU salary and go home.  Has this been extrapolated using journalistic licence to turn it into an anti-English cry?

Mike Shaw, president of Edinburgh University Students Association’s Socialist Society, tweeted: “Ukip protest yesterday branded as ‘anti-English’.  As a proud Englishman, arrested yesterday for protesting, I dispute these claims.”

Also present at the protest was Scottish Labour party researcher April Cumming, who tweeted: “I’m not a yes campaign member, I came to protest the damage your anti-immigration rhetoric is doing to whole UK”

But where did the lie that the protest was organised by anti-English Scottish nationalists come from?

The Independent newspaper reported:

“Mr Farage, whose party has no elected representatives in Scotland, ventured north of the border on Thursday but was besieged in an Edinburgh pub when supporters of Scottish independence mounted a protest.”

It seems to have been based on comments from Farage himself who claimed the protestors were anti-English Scottish nationalists.

Farage described his vocal critics as: “deeply racist with a total hatred of the English and a desire for Scotland to be independent from Westminster”

He added: “If this is the face of Scottish Nationalism it’s a pretty ugly picture.

“This was dressed up as anti-racism protest but it was a pure anti-English thing.  I’m accused of being a racist, but it’s ok to hate the English.  If the police hadn’t been there it could have turned very nasty.”

Of course we already know that elements within Scotland’s media need no persuasion to headline such attacks on Scottish independence.  They don’t even require proof to run with such claims as the recent episode with comedienne Susan Calman proved.

Ms Calman’s claims of death threats and a “shit storm” of online abuse have still to be backed up by any substantive evidence.

No sooner had Farage blurted out his evidence free attacks on Scottish nationalism than the usual suspects started manipulating the story into one which turned on independence supporters and SNP leader Alex Salmond.

Tory Lord, Michael Forsyth said: “There is an element that is not very pleasant. They are called cyber-nats and are a pretty unpleasant and nasty bunch.

“It is the worst aspects of nationalism – very inward looking and very self satisfied and rather unpleasant. It is anti-English and anti-London,”

Scottish Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said:

“Alex Salmond simply pays lip service when it comes to condemning abusive language in his own party.  Yesterday’s abuse handed out by separatists was another shameless example of the lengths they will go to hijack the independence debate in Scotland.  If such abusive comments are allowed to continue unchecked, the next 18 months will descend into little more than an anti-British hate campaign.”

So a protest that has no connection to the SNP whatsoever, but has at least one member of the Labour party present and contains several English students, is now an “anti-British hate campaign” organised by “separatists”.

As ever, playing a lead role in the misinformation was the highly corrupt elements at BBC Scotland.  Despite their own reporter David Miller tearing a hole in Farage’s ridiculous claims that the protest was an anti-English pro-indy organised event, elements within BBC Scotland continued with the lie.

Kaye Adams promoted the anti-English narrative and asked callers to comment on Farage’s claims.  Again showing no desire to simply examine the evidence, Adams lent the airwaves to the politically partisan and factually ignorant with one caller incredulously blaming ‘cybernats’ for the Farage protest.

This is the same Kaye Adams who recently falsely claimed there had been a rise in anti-English attacks in Scotland and invited people to phone in to lay ‘blame’, which of course turned into an anti-Alex Salmond tirade.

For those unaware, official statistics show that anti-English attacks in Scotland fell last year.

But the spin that this was an SNP promoted rally and the students were members of the SNP began to unravel when UKIP representatives changed the “Scottish nationalist” line.

In a BBC Newsnight interview, UKIP MEP Roger Helmer claimed that the term ‘Scottish nationalist’ was not in fact directed at the SNP but a more generic description of independence supporters.  Thus, he sought to bring in the Scottish Greens, the SSP and any other groups or individuals who support independence.

Helmer even attacked the BBC who he claimed were guilty of presenting the protest as an SNP versus UKIP battle.

However it is these false narratives that BBC Scotland loves and it was evident on Saturday when BBC Scotland yet again allowed the lie to be trotted out.

David Torrance, someone who is usually one of the more reliable commentators, claimed the protest was entirely made up of members of the Radical Independence Campaign.

“Around fifty students in the Radical Independence Campaign” was how Mr Torrance described the protest makeup.  Again, the lie goes completely unchallenged despite a fellow guest on the show actually naming one of the protestors, Englishman Mike Shaw.

Mr Torrance also drew parallels between UKIP and the SNP, describing both as nationalist parties.

However perhaps the more striking parallel should be between UKIP and the Better Together campaign after it emerged donations to UKIP had come from a businessman who held less than appealing views on women.

Demetri Marchessini, a Greek businessman who gave UKIP a £10,000 donation this year, believes women should wear skirts rather than trousers.

Writing on his blog, Mr Marchessini said: “There is a basic fact of life that women do not grasp – skirts give erections, but trousers do not.”

He also claimed that “date rape” allegations “mean nothing”, since because there is “no violent act it is difficult to know whether any rape took place” and described unmarried  mothers as “naughty girls” who should be given a “smack”.

The embarrassing donation of course has parallels with the anti-independence campaign Better Together after it accepted £500,000 from someone whose company paid a war criminal $1 million and had links to Saddam Hussein’s regime.

Farage exposed his own limitations when confronted by the student protestors who he apparently insulted as they tried to question him.  The episode also exposed the rabid anti-SNP media machine that operates in Scotland which tried desperately to link the SNP to this protest.

Nigel Farage is a Unionist whose party wanted – until last week – to scrap the Scottish Parliament.  He espouses what many believe to be extreme policies that are homophobic and xenophobic.  He took part in a publicity stunt in Edinburgh, which was styled as a ‘campaign’ press conference for a by-election over one hundred miles away.

He was confronted by students, some of whom were English, who disagreed fundamentally with these policies and who wished to challenge the man who has been living off of his party’s success in the English local elections.  Farage responded by launching attacks on independence and the Scottish National Party.

His comments, issued at a moment of high panic and embarrassment, should have been ridiculed by serious journalists who could very easily have established the facts about the protest makeup.

But why look for uncomfortable facts that would have got in the way of an anti-independence narrative?

The Scotland on Sunday continues with the anti-SNP narrative by singling out Mr Salmond for criticism in a leader entitled ‘Salmond should stand up for free speech’.

The comment ends with the following passage:

The Dreyfus trial it was not, but Mr Salmond has noticeably not condemned the fact that the demonstration stopped Mr Farage putting his case.  The First Minister perhaps was not asked about this but his words leave him open to the criticism that he supports behaviour which seeks to curb free speech. We are sure this is not Mr Salmond’s intention but his statement has allowed opponents like Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie to question his motives.

Referring to the Farage incident, Mr Rennie said the First Minister “must speak out against this attack on free speech”.  Mr Rennie is right.  We look to Mr Salmond to respond with an ­unequivocal statement in ­support of free speech.

Mr Rennie is right is he?

Here’s what Rennie said:

“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.”

These anti-racist campaigners included Englishmen within their ranks.  Moreover, Farage had been allowed to hold his press conference but asked to leave by the pub management after the debate started to become heated.  At no point did anyone silence the outspoken right wing politician.

Mr Rennie would be wise to reflect on his own party’s betrayal of Students in England over tuition fees and the protests that the Lib Dems had to endure, before labelling other students as “racist”.

He might also wish to recall a leaflet he himself had to apologise for after it was posted on his official Facebook page, which was racist and offensive … and anti-Salmond.