Nigel Farage, the noisy leader of Ukip, claims that he believes in national independence.
If this is true, he should be backing Scottish independence, although I'm more than relaxed that he isn't.
Mr Farage, like so many English politicians, does not appear to understand that Scotland is a nation. A nation that is currently part of the British state, but a nation that is also currently contending for its independence.
I'm not surprised that Mr Farage is confused about this. The very name of his party seems to be a sham. It is not a UK party at all, for its political standing in Scotland is negligible. Even the Tories have managed to muster more presence, influence and electoral support in Scotland.
Indeed Ukip as a title is almost as phoney as "Better Together". Together? These people are like the proverbial ferrets in a sack. If we are being seriously asked to believe that the main Unionist parties, the Tories and Labour, are "together" or are going to be "together"in the foreseeable future, then we are being taken for fools.
But back to Mr Farage. He has become an influential figure south of the Border, and possibly a dangerous one too, because the UK Coalition Government is deeply scared of him and his party. I suspect that the leaders of the Labour Party in England are equally afraid of him.
Mr Farage's big chance has come because of a crisis in English politics. Ukip is irrelevant in Scottish politics.
The conventional view seems to be that Ukip appeals mainly to gin-sodden dinosaurs mouthing off in snug bars in frayed English county towns. I don't think so. I suspect that Ukip's real and growing strength lies with people of strong right-wing views in blue-collar England, people who have powerful, and generally negative, views on both immigration and welfare. These people feel disenfranchised. They reckon they have nowhere to go among the mainstream parties in England. Probably correctly, they sense that both the Tories and the Labour Party don't want to know them, even if they'd like their votes. Neither David Cameron nor Ed Miliband is capable of appealing to them.
So they are looking for someone who can articulate their fears - we are talking about the politics of fear here - and can become their champion. In that context I suppose it is better that they are drawn to Ukip rather than some more pernicious organisation like the English Defence League.
There is festering away just beneath the surface of English politics a rather nasty tendency: a kind of crude populism linked with a potential "little Englander" type of racism. It's not in the mainstream, yet, but it can be exploited nonetheless.
Mr Farage is nothing if not clever. He has come up with the tactic of localism to capitalise on the current political weakness of both Labour and the Tories. He understandably wants to avoid committing to an England-wide alliance with either party. So local Ukip associations would be free to join up with either Labour or the Tories for tactical reasons. If developed, this kind of localised manoeuvring might transform politics in England, and probably for the worse - not that the state of English politics is particularly lovely at the moment anyway.
But for us here in Scotland, Ukip is not and need not be a problem. It is not wanted here and it has no long- term relevance here. I understood this, with a kind of crushing finality, when I read an apocalyptic outpouring by an English intellectual who was pleading for the Tories to join up with Ukip to prevent the end of "the Great Britain we know and love" which he foresaw as the outcome if the British electorate voted for Labour in 2015.
I'm not sure if the Great Britain "we know and love" ever existed, except in his no doubt rich imagination. In any event the Great Britain he claims to know has nothing to do with Scots and Scotland.
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