Between 1998 and 2007 I had the pleasure of living in Scotland. As a fat and ginger afro’ed teenager, I imagined I would fit right in. Sadly, it turns out those fashion selections insure a maximum amount of ridicule in most countries, even the most ginger ones. Despite these set backs I have a begrudging respect for our tartan clad cousins, across the wall. Even more so after the rather bizarre events in Edinburgh yesterday.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article on the success of protest parties around Europe and mentioned the U.K. Independence Party (UKIP). Their recent success in local English elections last week has led to their leader, Nigel Farage, attempting to replicate these successes in the land of haggis and scary heart disease statistics.
Sadly for Nigel and his PR robots, Scotland didn’t have time to roll out the red carpet. Instead he was met by the local welcoming committee, staffed entirely of protesters, intent on disrupting events. They proceeded to have him chucked out of a pub, two taxies and then thrown in the back of a police van for his own safety. It turns out Scotland doesn’t like him very much.
This, of course, forced Nigel to put his PR robots into hyperdrive. As their gears and cogs whirred like the till of a Glaswegian chippy, they spat out the answer: call all the protesters fascists. Good one N-Dog, that’ll make it work for you! Also as the majority of the left leaning protesters were also supporters of Scottish independence, they were also anti-English racists intent on culling the centuries old link between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island.
Now, as a former resident of Scotland, a nation entirely powered by Buckfast Tonic wine, I feel I should explain why Nigey-F had so many problems. Scotland has never really warmed to posh, middle class politicians from the south of England, ever since they accidentally (on purpose) killed a number of their national heroes and violently subjugated their entire nation (please see most of British history).
Also, although small in number, UKIP’s arrival in Edinburgh could have been misconstrued as an invasion attempt, which is generally frowned upon and given our history, is definitely bad form. However, a more likely scenario is that Scotland doesn’t really want smug, pseudo racist homophobes cluttering up their streets in a vain attempt to curry favor with the locals by hanging around the capital’s bars, pretending to be ‘just like them’. When put like that, what the protesters did seems fairly moderate and all without hurling missiles or punching anyone.
For the record I don’t think the protestors were fascist or racist. They probably could have let Farage debate with them, but that’s possibly a minor criticism. What I think this debacle really shows is how big the gap has grown between the English and Scottish electorate and yet how similar they still remain.
Sections of the former can support a party that wants to reverse time, leave Europe and become independent. Sections of the latter want to reverse time, leave the U.K. and become independent. In some ways it could be argued that they are two sides of the same coin. Personally I would argue against both these positions, but then again what do I know. After all I’m British and a European…