Nigel Farage has ‘lost the plot’, say SNP

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   By a Newsnet reporter

The SNP has accused Ukip leader Nigel Farage of having “lost the plot” after he hung up on a telephone interview being broadcast live on Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme.

Mr Farage repeatedly insisted that yesterday’s protest was motivated by “racist anti-English” sentiment, despite the fact that one of the two protestors arrested on minor public order offences after the demonstration is himself English.

Mike Shaw, president of Edinburgh University Students’ Association’s socialist society, who helped to organise the protest, said in a Tweet:

“UKIP protest yesterday branded as ‘anti-English’. As a proud Englishman, arrested yesterday for protesting, I dispute these claims.”

During the interview the Ukip leader appeared confused over the distinction between anti-English racism and disdain for the Union flag. Mr Farage seemed unaware that the Union flag is not in fact the English flag, and repeatedly accused the pro-independence campaign as being “akin to fascism”.  

He said: “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.”

He added:

“If this is the face of Scottish nationalism, it’s a pretty ugly picture … The anger, the hatred, the shouting, the snarling, the swearing was all linked in to a desire for the Union Jack to be burnt.”

After interviewer David Miller repeatedly put it to the Ukip leader that his party was out of touch with the political debate in Scotland, and irrelevant in Scottish electoral terms, Mr Farage angrily accused Mr Miller of displaying the same kind of hatred which he had experienced yesterday in Edinburgh.

Mr Farage said:  “We could have had this interview in England a couple of years ago, but I wouldn’t have met with such hatred.

“I’ve had enough of this interview. Goodbye.”

In a separate interview with Mr Farage also told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme that the protesters were “filled with a total and utter hatred of the English.”

Showing that he has paid little attention to the media coverage of the Scottish independence debate, he added: “For some reason the British media has never talked about the excesses of Scottish nationalism and how deeply unpleasant they can be.

“These people were supporters of Scottish nationalism, virulently opposed to the English, all sorts of suggestions as to what we could do with the Union Jack and I would like to hear Alex Salmond come out and condemn this sort of behaviour. I challenge him today to do that.”

He continued:

“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.”

In response First Minister Alex Salmond said it would be a “great mistake” to take Mr Farage’s accusation of a “hate campaign” from the BBC seriously. 

Mr Salmond said: “We can frankly do without UKIP, who dislike everybody and know absolutely nothing about Scotland.”

Asked if he condemned yesterday’s protest against Mr Farage, the first minister said:

“If there’s been any law-breaking – and that’s yet to be established – then obviously we condemn that, as we always do in Scotland, but you’ve got to get things into context.

“A student demonstration isn’t the Dreyfus trial.”

A spokesperson for the Radical Independence Campaign, which helped to organise the demonstration in Edinburgh, maintained there had been “no anti-English protest”.

The spokesperson said: “For Farage to make such a claim is risible: it is UKIP who are stoking division.

“This was about challenging someone whose party has been spouting racist, sexist and homophobic bile and gone unchallenged for months.

“Everyone who opposes the politics of fear and division should unite against UKIP – whether you live in Scotland or England.”

Commenting on Mr Farage’s outburst on BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, an SNP spokesperson said:

“Anyone who heard the interview with Nigel Farage on BBC this morning would have thought he has completely lost the plot.

“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.”