Farage-ism yet another nail in ‘Better Together’ coffin


By Mark McNaught
It is the night of the long knives for David Cameron, after 114 backbenchers revolted and voted in the Commons to express ‘regret’ that an in/out EU referendum bill was not included in the Queen’s Speech.

It is clear that Nigel Farage and UKIP have put the fear of God into the Tories, and Faragisme (pronounced with a French accent, because UKIP has a thing for foreigners) will be a dominant force in Westminster for years to come. 

Meanwhile, Nigel Farage was bitterly received in Edinburgh, where protestors calling him ‘UKIP scum’ and exhorting him to ‘go home’ hastened his departure from the pub on the Royal Mile.  He returned the compliment, calling them ‘fascist scum’.  Obviously, Farage can dish it out but he can’t take it.

Maybe now he realises how immigrants feel about his rhetoric, but probably not.  Although he attributed it to anti-English sentiment, a more plausible explanation is that Scots do not share his xenophobic, homophobic, anti-EU ideology, and they’re not afraid to tell that to his face, in contrast to the sycophantic mainstream media.

It is certain that Nigel Farage will be a major player in the 2015 elections, and could become UK Deputy Prime Minister or even Prime Minister in the future.  Regardless of the electoral results, UKIP is driving the Westminster political debate; in all likelihood they will drive it straight out of the EU within a few years.

Farage-ism reeks of the worst attributes of the British empire: arrogance, harking back to a non-existent golden age, casual use of racial and ethnic stereotypes, belief in the superiority of their culture irrespective of evidence to the contrary, colonising and ruling 25% of the world and resenting the colonized when they come to live their country, etc..  The irony for Farage is that the xenophobic pall that his politics has cast over Westminster risks further shrivelling what is left of the British Empire.

If Scotland votes ‘no’ to independence in 2014, under UKIP proposals Scots can expect the following:

• Scotland may be extracted from the EU regardless of their wishes;
• the Scottish Parliament could be severely weakened or even abolished;
• welfare policy will be further mangled by cynical UK governments;
• immigration policy will become increasingly draconian.

The fact that Scots will never vote for UKIP will matter nothing.  Nothing ‘Better Together’ says can change these very real possibilities.

Once this dawns on a majority of Scots, independence becomes mandatory.

Support for Farage-ism is virtually non-existent in Scotland, and the only way to be definitively immune from its toxic effects is to vote for independence.

After the referendum, Scotland will find a way to remain in the EU before the rUK jumps ship, and the Scottish government will have the capacity to forge its own constructive relationship with the EU.  Scotland will be master of its own fate in terms of welfare, taxes, and revenue from natural resources, without wondering whether the next election will bring a government increasingly contemptuous of Scotland’s interests.

I hope Mr Farage is beginning to realise that the message he peddles in the Home Counties and the southeast of England simply doesn’t sell in Scotland.  Since his populist politics was forged in appealing to the baser instincts of middle England, he fails to grasp Scottish sensibilities, which are more attuned to the EU in part because it serves as a moderating force on Westminster.  If the UK leaves the EU with Scotland attached, what will happen to workers’ rights, transnational police cooperation, and many other benefits for Scotland?

English politics is going through an emotional breakdown right now.  Perhaps it is entering the last throes of the empire mentality, but we can expect to hear political shrieks and screams from south of the border for years to come.

It will be fascinating to see how ‘Better Together’ attempts to spin UKIP’s success, if they even bother.  In contrast to all the bogus scare stories they have come up with, the very real threat of Farage-ism strangling Scottish politics has rendered continued Unionism untenable.  Farage has left ‘Better Together’ twisting in the wind …slowly …slowly.

The choice for Scotland in 2014 is clear.  Amicably part ways with the UK and forge your own destiny, or stay with it and become un état Faragiste, with no choice in the matter. 

I know which way Scots will lean.

Mark McNaught is a member of the Constitutional Commission and an Associate Professor of US Civilisation at the University of Rennes 2 France. He also teaches US constitutional law at Sciences-Po Paris.