• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

"William Wallace would have voted for Ukip" claim as Farage survives Edinburgh re-match

NIGEL Farage's return to Edinburgh wasn't quite as chaotic as the Ukip leader's last campaigning visit a year ago - but not by much.

Protestors greet Ukip leader Nigel Farage
Protestors greet Ukip leader Nigel Farage

By the time he and his supporters were safely ensconced in the Corn Exchange, a former market and slaughter house a few miles outside the city centre for a Euro election rally, a noisy group of about 300 protestors were making their voices heard inside.

"Don't believe UKIP racist lies," read one banner. "Ghandi would have smacked you in the head," suggested another, slightly more subversive, poster.

Around 300 protestors carrying anti-UKIP banners gathered outside the Corn Exchange as Mr Farage gave interviews.

A handful of right wing activists attempted to enter the hall but were halted by police.

Four police vans and around 30 officers were at rally in the west of Edinburgh.

A scuffle broke out as police separated the groups.

Socialist Worker supporters jeered suited supporters of UKIP as the entered the rally.

But there was no repeat of last year's infamous "Siege of the Canon's Gait," named after the Royal Mile bar where Mr Farage had to be barricaded in for his own safety after a protest threatened to turn altogether more unpleasant.

Ukip may have avoided that but there was no sign they have been transformed into anything resembling a modern, professional political party in Scotland in the intervening 12 months.

When a promised 5pm press conference should have been starting, the assembled media were being harangued by the first, and at the time only, protestor on the scene. The angry Shakespeare-quoting demonstrator felt Mr Farage should be ignored.

Meanwhile the sole Ukip supporter waiting for the rally, Peter Campbell, 76, from Greenock, waved a large Saltire with "EU Referendum Now' printed on it.

Mr Campbell, a born again Christian and reformed alcoholic, who has been a Ukip member for 10 years said: "If William Wallace was alive today he would have voted Ukip.

"Nigel Farage is speaking the truth. He has the gift of the gab."

Monika Ciska, who is Polish and who works at Napier University, was one of a group Eastern Europeans invited to quiz Mr Farage.

She said: 'We are asking how he can be against immigration if he has Polish people in his party.

'Would he want to stop British people living in Poland also?'

Protestor John Mcardle, of Edinburgh, said: 'I'm also here as a Jew. I'm a member of the Edinburgh Jewish community. We are all immigrants. We are against UKIP policies that are against immigration.'

Craig McFarlane, of Glasgow, said: 'I've come specifically to protest against fascism. If we don't stand up to fascism it will take over.'

Inside, when a disorganised press conference finally began, the Ukip leader deployed that gift to persuade journalists his party was on course to win one, possibly two, seats in the May 22 European election.

Putting down his glass of red wine, he said a seat would give Ukip a "legitimate voice" in Scottish politics, adding: "It's far more important in Scotland in the run-up to the referendum.

"The Scottish people are being offered a referendum on independence but independence is not being offered."

He claimed the SNP's support for the EU made true independence impossible.

"We think if we can inject that into the Scottish referendum debate we might make people re-think their position."

He said claims his party was racist were "grossly, grossly unfair".

Earlier, Alex Salmond said Ukip should be defeated at the ballot box rather than hounded out of Scotland by demonstrations. He said the battle for the sixth European seat in Scotland was between the SNP and Ukip.

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

232292