Anti-UKIP protests cause Farage to flee
The leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage faced a swarm of protesters yesterday as he left a pub in Edinburgh.
Demonstrators protesting outside the Canon’s Gait pub, where Mr Farage was holding a press conference, chanted “UKIP scum, off our streets” and called Mr Farage “racist, Nazi scum,” demanding he “go back to England”.
Eyewitness accounts describe how the UKIP leader twice attempted to leave by taxi, the first refusing to move after demonstrators blocked his way and a second refusing to stop at all.
After seeking refuge in the pub, Mr Farage finally left the scene in a police van.
A UKIP spokesman later described the scene as “inchoate rage”.
Mr Farage had travelled to Edinburgh to launch his party’s Scottish campaigns, which include the Aberdeen Donside by-election, taking place on June 20th.
Buoyed by their recent success in local council elections in England, the UKIP leader was confident about the party’s prospects in Scotland, despite only receiving 0.91% of the vote in the 2011 Scottish elections.
Writing in the Scottish Mail on Sunday, Mr Farage said: “We are growing in Scotland and have every intention of winning seats both at Holyrood and in next year’s European election north of the border. A fantasy? Not in the slightest.”
Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland today, Mr Farage suggested the demonstration was very much an expression of the hatred for the English within extreme Scottish nationalism, describing the protest as “linked in with a desire for the Union Jack to be burned and extinguished from Scotland forever”.
Asked whether or not UKIP represents “an alien political philosophy in Scotland”, the UKIP leader stated: “ I do not believe 15 yobs not prepared to engage in debate represent the views of the Scottish people.”
Mr Farage has also linked the views of the protesters to those of the Scottish National Party, led by first minister Alex Salmond, whom he challenged to “condemn this sort of behaviour”.
The incident represents a major blow for UKIP who have seen an exponential rise in support recently.
Having received an average of 26% cent of the vote in the latest local council elections in England, UKIP were making serious inroads with English voters. Mr Farage and his party will be hoping this incident does not cause the supporters they have found in England to reconsider their allegiance.