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Monckton: SNP have begun to look much more like national socialist party than Scottish Nationalist party

NOBODY could accuse Christopher Monckton of holding back on his opinions.

Christopher Monckton is not afraid to speak his mindPhotographs: Gordon Terris and Stewart Attwood
Christopher Monckton is not afraid to speak his mindPhotographs: Gordon Terris and Stewart Attwood

The hereditary peer - whose full title is Viscount Monckton of Brenchley - has trenchant views on a range of subjects, including the SNP.

"They have begun to look much more like a national socialist party than they have a Scottish Nationalist party," he says, in his flat on Edinburgh's Queen Street.

"They have gone for socialism as a piece of positioning."

Monckton is a well-known face on the political right, having advised the Thatcher government in the 1980s before leaving the Tories to join the UK Independence Party (Ukip). Until recently, he was Ukip's leader north of the border and is now secretary of the Scottish Research Society (SRS) - a No campaign group.

In the latest round of referendum donations, the SRS pulled in more than £74,747, more than any other permitted participant.

The SRS recently published an economic critique of independence, penned by an external economist, and it will unveil other papers in the run-up to next month's poll.

This body of work, Monckton says, will be "well-researched" and "rational".

However, I am keen to explore other issues to which Monckton has applied his powers of rational thought over the years.

In the 1980s, he argued that the only way to stop the Aids virus was to quarantine all those infected.

He wrote: "All those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately and permanently."

Asked about these views now, he says: "I was right though, wasn't I? Look at how many hundreds of millions have died since."

He explains: "Once you knew it was there, the correct thing to do was test everybody quick. Find out what the level of the infection of the population would be.

"Wait a year, test everyone again [which would] tell you whether you have got a problem, and how much of a problem you've got. And then you can decide whether you need the sort of strict public health control measures which they are applying to Ebola, for instance."

However, he says "the left" and "the gays" were opposed to the move and "captured" the issue.

Other than being off-the wall, I suggest the measure would be cruel: "What's far, far more cruel is not to tell them they've got it."

He also has adventurous opinions on climate change. A consensus exists amongst climatologists, meteorologists and other experts that global warming is a huge problem and its main cause is human activity.

Monckton, a classics graduate, takes a different view and has described climate science as the "largest fraud of all time".

He says: "There has now been, on one of the satellite measures, no global warming at all for 17 years and 10 months."

So how come so many scientists have reached a settled view?

"If you were a meteorologist or climatologist all your life, this was a backwater science that all the thickos went into," he explains.

"Suddenly they were the lion of the TV shows. Of course it's going to make a difference to how they see things. And of course they want to keep this scare going, as long as they can. It's very profitable for them."

Monckton's views on Aids and global warming are personal and are not being expressed on behalf of the SRS.

Back on the referendum. Has the Society had any contact with Better Together?

"Absolutely," he says. "We work very closely with them. We work very closely with a number of other of organisations, in an informal sense.

In what way? "We have naturally told them we've done this and sent them copies of it. And they send us some of their material."

Monckton also hits out at what he terms "anti-English xenophobia" and the Yes campaign's "air of menace".

He says: "If you get into a contest like this, people will say they are being menaced when they aren't, but we've come across some pretty specific instances where they clearly have been. Houses have had a brick thrown through the window, they've had their gardens trashed, they've had their walls painted with SNP slogans."

This is a serious allegation, but it lacks a few basic details, such as names, dates and locations. Does he have any evidence? "We get stories all the time. One of the things we are going to work on in the next few weeks is actually nailing some of that down," he replies.

Has he spoken to anyone directly affected?

"I've spoken to one or two, whom I'm not at liberty to name, because they are terrified."

Did they go to the police? "They did, but of course they couldn't find who'd done it."

Monckton's last political foray - his leadership of Ukip in Scotland - ended unhappily. After voicing concerns about the internal selection that led to David Coburn becoming a European election candidate for the party, Nigel Farage fired him by email. Coburn went on to become the Ukip's first elected representative in Scotland.

Does he trust the new MEP? "He's an old friend," he says.

I ask again. "Look at it this way," he says. "What politician do you ever trust?"

Looking ahead to next month, Monckton predicts a thumping 60-40 win for the No side.

In the meantime, he expects the SRS to publish new papers on energy, defence and oil.

If these papers have Monckton's input, expect the Yes campaign to order extra copies.

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