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The belly of the beast

Posted on April 29, 2014 by

I had no idea what to expect from the UKIP public meeting in Bath tonight. The city is genteel, wealthy and has been solidly Lib Dem for over 20 years. While there are of course some sketchier areas and it hasn’t been immune to the UK’s recent economic troubles, generally speaking it has little to complain about.

So when UKIP booked the 730 downstairs capacity of the Forum (a rather beautiful old Art Deco former cinema from the 1930s) for a public meeting, I hung onto the hope that there was at least a reasonable chance it’d be half-empty.

ukipf1

No luck there, then.

The pic above was taken about 15 minutes before the event started. By the time it kicked off I’d say around 95% of the seats were filled (by some careless oversight I’d booked three for myself), with a crowd perhaps 20 times the size of the small knot of protesters who’d gathered outside with the BBC’s 24-hour Farage Response Team.

The short queue for entry shuffled in quickly, past Neil and Christine Hamilton giving interviews to TV cameras – though they were never mentioned inside the hall – and through a foyer packed with stewards and security and stalls flogging merchandise and cut-price £10 memberships. Tickets were checked but not ID, and we were in.

We were promised seven guests but in the end there were only four – Nigel Farage and three of the party’s South West region candidates for the Euro elections. One, 2015 Bath general election candidate Julian Deverell (a late substitute for the promised MEP William Dartmouth who was otherwise engaged), spoke for only a couple of minutes and another served only as MC, with two more (Dr Julia Reid and Dr Bob Smith) acting as Farage’s warmup with lengthy speeches.

Both were confident and comfortable speakers, with Reid offering a gentler approach concerned with poverty and unfairness and Smith more of a rabble-rouser. Both made big play of the party not being xenophobic, with Smith demanding “If you’re a racist, leave this party. If you’re thinking of joining, we’ll take your money then kick you out.”

Perhaps understandably, this would be a theme returned to often during the evening. It was a message the crowd clearly wanted to hear, and there were frequent outbreaks of spontaneous cheering and applause (you could tell they were spontaneous because there were no pauses in the speeches inviting them).

There was a lot of very popular mockery at the expense of Nick Clegg, and a fair few plays to any left-leaning types in the crowd (despite Bath being rather barren territory in that regard) – “People say we’re a right-wing party, but who’d have thought Labour would be complicit in closing Post Offices and privatising Royal Mail?”

The sternest words were reserved for Edward Heath (for our younger readers: a Tory Prime Minister of the 1970s who presided over the UK joining what was then called the Common Market or the EEC), described as “the greatest traitor this country has ever seen, and probably will ever see” in what was the most belligerent language of the evening. “It’s our job”, raged Smith, “to stop what he started.”

When Dr Bob had finished pumping the crowd up, he introduced the main event. Farage’s entry onto the stage was greeted by an immediate standing ovation, and unlike the previous speakers he addressed the crowd without visible amplification, pacing up and down the stage, talking without notes and gesturing with both hands, all in a manner uncannily reminiscent of Gordon Brown, except more controlled and without all the weird jaw-wobbling stuff.

There’s no getting away from the fact that live, Farage is an accomplished orator. Casual and relaxed, he held what was clearly a mainly friendly crowd in the palm of his hand. He welcomed everyone, whether supporters, undecideds or those “who came here just to confirm that you utterly despise me”.

He disarmingly conceded that the party had a share of nutters and vowed to take firm action – “We’ve got a handful of people who say and do stupid things, but we will get rid of them” - and he fulminated against identikit career politicians of all the major parties who’d never had proper jobs and couldn’t relate to normal people, which the audience roared agreement with.

He emphasised his love of Europe (albeit comically in terms of its wines and cheeses), targeting instead the bureaucracy of the EU and saying “I don’t just want the UK to leave the EU, I want Europe to leave the EU”, to big cheers. He was, in short, affable reasonableness personified, exactly as his media stereotype.

By far the cleverest part of the speech, though, was when Farage insisted that all he wanted was for the UK to adopt the same sort of immigration policy as Australia. He was all for immigration, he repeated, so long as it involved skilled people intending to work hard and make a life for themselves – he wasn’t interested in benefit claimants or, rather jarringly, people with illnesses.

This was a new line to me, and a chillingly smart piece of politics. Because while its immigration policies are stringent and sometimes bordering on murderous, Brits tend to see Australia as an easy-going and friendly nation with close cultural ties to the UK, somewhere they’re happy to be associated with. Farage played it extremely well, and the crowd lapped it up. He closed with a plea to join “the people’s army”, there were more cheers and another standing ovation and that was it.

To any honest observer, the evening up to that point was an unmitigated triumph. Slick (without being showy), pacy and punchy, it was a highly professional operation. But then it came just a little unhinged.

Farage’s speech segued straight into a Q&A session, with everyone else still on stage but only Farage answering. There were no questions from the floor at all, only written ones read out by the MC, but several of them still seemed to take Farage by surprise, asking about policies not directly related to the Euro elections.

These made Farage rather snippy, and having simply ignored a couple he eventually said explicitly that he was only going to answer Europe-related ones, with everything else having to wait until meetings nearer the general election.

Shortly afterwards, having taken questions for just 14 minutes, he – seemingly to everyone’s surprise – cut the session short and went off to do some book signing. (At which an official photographer would snap you with Nigel and sell you the picture.)

A third standing ovation nevertheless followed, and the crowd started to squeeze its way out, roughly an hour and 20 minutes after the event had begun.

ukipfoyer

If you were expecting rather more mickey-taking in this feature, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Everyone in the auditorium was taking UKIP very seriously indeed. There were no gaffes and little to mock. All the laughs were with, not at. Nobody heckled.

For perspective, Bath is roughly the same size as Paisley or East Kilbride. For all the public engagement with politics the independence referendum has brought about, as far as I can ascertain no event in either has drawn anywhere near 700 people.

And as I said at the start, Bath is by no stretch of the imagination natural UKIP territory. Farage highlighted in his speech that many of its electoral successes have come not in traditional Tory shires but in industrial towns in the north. If they can also pull a crowd this size in well-heeled but socially liberal Bath, there might just be something in their claims to be taking votes from all three of the mainstream parties.

I came out of the event no better-disposed to UKIP’s policies than I went in, but even more convinced that they pose a serious danger to the UK’s membership of the EU.

The speeches were careful, inclusive and largely positive. The audience was a broad mix of ages and classes, not exactly hipsters (and I didn’t see a single non-white face) but younger than the average “Better Together” crowd by a distance. Nobody in the room saw the party as a joke, and the animosity to the political mainstream was so intense you could almost reach out and touch it.

Britain is now a country which loathes its politicians (largely justifiably), and anyone who can give the impression of being unlike them will find a large audience.

Comparisons between UKIP and the SNP are largely misguided on that basis – the SNP, pretty much uniquely, are a party of government who still retain some degree of public trust. There are elements of basic similarity about the “bloke you could imagine having a pint and a curry with” attraction of both Salmond and Farage, but they’re overstated even aside from the obvious policy differences.

Salmond’s appeal is that of a statesman with a common touch, Farage is playing the outsider revolutionary. Salmond calls for consensus and renewal of the political process, of independence strengthening his opponents. Farage is more of the “to hell with ‘em all” school, a sort of conservative anarchist.

But in England, that’s a message people are all too willing to hear, and nobody else is delivering it. I remain of the opinion that UKIP probably won’t get many seats in 2015, though Farage claimed that “with luck and a following wind” it could find itself holding the balance of power like the Lib Dems did in 2010.

But what I believe more firmly than ever after this evening is that the party’s supporters will vote tactically and smartly next year to ensure that David Cameron returns to 10 Downing Street in such a way that he’ll be locked into holding an EU referendum. Even Nigel Farage doesn’t think Nigel Farage is going to be the Prime Minister, and that means Cameron is the only route to their goal.

And from what I heard tonight, even in a longtime Lib Dem city that owes much of its livelihood to European tourists, and as such is both familiar and comfortable with “foreigners”, that referendum is only going to go one way.

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  1. 12 10 14 03:52

    The jumping-off point | FreeScotland

163 to “The belly of the beast”

  1. Drew says:

    No words left to express my distaste for UKIP aka
    BNP

  2. Calum Craig says:

    I saw in the paper at the corner shop that a UKIP activist had made a comment that Lenny Henry should “emigrate to a black country”. Apparently not aware that he was born in Dudley… in the Black Country.

  3. Alfresco Dent says:

    Brilliant analysis Stu. It’s now or never for the good guys.

  4. Steve B says:

    This is an excellent article, but it is very sobering reading. It really brings homes the consequences of a No vote. For any political party to get a public meeting of 700 in the lead up to any election, let alone the Euro elections which normal have zilch interest is a massive achievement for any political party.

    We know that UKIP are taking the protest vote, and they have been built up by the media as a serious contender, however they have been built up for one purpose only – and that is to stop voters in England moving directly from Tories to Labour (the Lib Dems not being able to achieve that role any more).

    It looks as though that purpose has been achieved, but the Tories could rue the day when they end up in hoc, if not to UKIP itself, but its voters. When those UKIP voters want something that big business is diametrically opposed to (i.e. leaving the EU), then the Tories will be in very serious trouble when there is no place left for them to hide.

  5. Paul says:

    Sea of grey much?

  6. Grouse Beater says:

    “A “handful” of people who say and do stupid things…”?

    What a wag.

    He’ll find it impossible to get rid of them – they’ll take revenge… he can only ask for the complicit silence until elected. He’s weak.

  7. G H Graham says:

    Stu, you make it so bloody difficult to disagree!

    I think the word that describes the momentum Farage is building is ‘anger’. Pure & simple. At politicans. At their policies or there performance. And of course their apparent collective greed, despite many honorable people serving their wards.

    And just like those pushing for independence, nothing gets people worked up more than being given the opportunity to protest.

    What has got this crowd tonight where they are is the obvious convergence of the traditional left with the right while the right is being shifted even more to the right by UKIP for example.

    Thus, voters realise that in essence, there isn’t a fag paper between Miliband’s message or Cameron’s.

    It does seem then that folks in England especially will hook onto UKIP to serve their anti European interests while forcing Cameron to lurch further right & deliver the referendum on Europe. And since Labour are barely ahead in the polls despite years of austerity, Miliband will have to at some point offer some mealy mouthed referendum option to.

    Of course, we know he wont deliver because he wont have to. He wont be in office come 2015 so he’s off the hook.

    Meanwhile, Scots are realising their fate. UKIP will assist delivering another Tory Cabinet or a Tory coalition. And while their support here is so low as to be almost unimportant, it’s hard to see how Labour can recover lost ground when on the one hand its promising Scots to stay in Europe by voting NO in September while offering the voters in England a European referendum.

    Labour in Scotland is dammed by events in England which are over taking it. And that is to the SNP’s huge advantage.

    So long as Salmond, Sturgeon & Jenkins do nothing stupid to spook the voters, then support for independence should continue to grow and overtake the NO camp very soon indeed.

    Expect the negativity from the British media to get much, much worse then.

  8. Castle Rock says:

    What concerns me is that a number of Tory voters in Scotland will give them their vote alongside some of the more unhinged Labour supporters.

    Given that there is also a large number of Telegraph reading English people in Scotland then some of them will undoubtedly vote UKIP as their politics will resonate with some of their thinking.

    It’s not unfeasible therefore that UKIP could well indeed snatch an MEP seat in Scotland at the expense of the Tories and that is deeply worrying.

    I hope someone has been crunching some numbers so that they can tell me that my fears are unfounded.

  9. jimnarlene says:

    The quicker we are out of the rUK and in to Europe the better. FFS, stop the world Scotland Want’s to get on.

  10. X_Sticks says:

    This is possibly the scariest article you have ever written on Wings. I find the rise of UKIP akin to what happened in Germany in the 1930s and it truly makes me worry for the future EVEN IF WE VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE. We could have quite a nasty and hostile government in the country next door to us.

    I sincerely hope the people of England wake up to this threat soon. The problem is that as long as Westminster continue on their neo-con path then UKIP will continue to grow. There is nothing funny at all about UKIP. They are not a joke.

    Thanks for the twitter coverage Stu it was excellent.

  11. goldenayr says:

    Hmmm…Farage as PM?

    Should the Belgians be worried about him building trenches?

  12. G H Graham says:

    Castle Rock, even if UKIP gain a seat in Scotland, it’s still to our advantage because it forces the Tories to promise a referendum.

    And it also forces Labour to continue shifting to the right by offering a mealy mouthed version too.

    Any shift to the right by any of the parties is to Scotland’s advantage.

  13. Suzanne says:

    Interesting that Farage dismissed questions about anything other than the Euro elections. Hardly surprising of course, but there will have been some in the audience, I’m sure, who wanted Farage to put a little more meat on the bones and show what kind of party they really are beyond their euroscepticism. Abolishing pensions won’t go down well with Bath, for sure.

    They really do come across as a protest group with their party political status allowing them to gain seats, but as for a manifesto that fires up the electorate – no true understanding of would make their party a serious contender in a general election. Cameron, however, is on the back foot and his complacency and hubris have caught him out.

    Anyway. 18th September cannot come soon enough. The threat of what is to come down south is too horrible to contemplate.

  14. Nobby Power says:

    Very interesting, and well done for taking the time to examine the beast. After all, to defeat your enemy, first you must understand him.

    I made the point several months ago, on a forum, that they could hold considerable sway, simply by being the tail wagging the dog. It wasn’t a popular point of view, but here we are.

    What happens to UKIP after, if Farage gets what he wants, is almost moot. He’ll have played the revolutionary outsider to its’ conclusion, and the damage will have been done. He can do all this without a fully developed manifesto for all purposes – to me that’s the really horrible bit.

  15. bookie from hell says:

    farage making an announcement 12pm weds,wether he will stand in Newark

  16. heedtracker says:

    Thanks Rev. Scary stuff. Can Westminster and UK media stop UKIP though and if they cant stop them, can they make England vote to stay in the EU? Maybe shutting down Scotland’s democracy this year is just a training session for the BBC.

  17. Heather McLean says:

    It’s all very well these UKIP idiots telling immigrants to the UK to go back to their own countries and being hell bent on taking the UK out of Europe, but have they actually thought it all through?

    Don’t they realise that it works both ways?
    Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong but if they achieve their objectives, then won’t there be thousands of Brits sent packing back here from their jobs and homes in Europe? Thousands of middle class retired folk possibly having to leave their retirement villas in Spain and France to come home to dear old Blighty!

    Not sure that’s going to go down too well!

  18. Castle Rock says:

    G H Graham:

    Yes thanks and I agree but the thought of having a UKIP MEP representing Scotland just gives me the shivers.

    Need to go and have a look at some figures, just for some reassurance…

  19. Paula Rose says:

    so – easy to identify as English, is that an inclusive concept?

  20. Peter says:

    Don’t worry. steve bell will do one of his hilarious cartoons and demolish UKIP single-handedly.

  21. Nobby Power says:

    Dunno if it’s relevant or helpful, but I’ve just found this…

    http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/ukip/nigel-farage-and-ukip-asked-to-leave-bell-inn-pub-in-bath-3635

  22. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “farage making an announcement 12pm weds,wether he will stand in Newark”

    Yes, I tweeted that from the meeting.

  23. Fixitfox says:

    A terrifyingly perceptive insight into a phenomenon (is that an appropriate word?) which is largely despised and a subject of satire in Scotland. Beautifully points up why we must campaign tirelessly for a Yes vote. Brilliant as usual Stu.

  24. yesvote2014 says:

    Excellent article. What’s happening in England is frightening. We’ve got to make sure we get a Yes vote . . .

  25. Capella says:

    Excellent report and confirms that Farage is a very astute politician. The modern day Wat Tyler? The political class in Westminster have lost credibility with too many voters.

  26. hetty says:

    They certainly sound like con merchants, well, that is what they are. Dangerous to the extent of pretending to speak with conviction when really they are riding on the back of an electorate who are totally lost and disenfranchised by the existing state of affairs. Sinister indeed, let’s hope that the right people keep asking the right questions so that they are exposed for who they really are, before it is too late.

  27. Doug Daniel says:

    “There’s no getting away from the fact that live, Farage is an accomplished orator. “

    Tomorrow’s newspaper headlines:

    “VILE CYBERNAT CONTROLLER ADMITS DEEP ADULATION OF BORDERLINE RACIST WHO, ERM, WE ALL ACTUALLY QUITE LIKE OURSELVES, BUT THAT’S NOT THE POINT, ERM, OH JUST SHUT UP AND VOTE NO”

  28. heedtracker says:

    Look forward to seeing progressive liberal Guardian Steve Bell cartoons with Union Jack face painted Farage and “do you agree that England should go and fuck itself?” The Guardian must be so proud of thenselves ditching the Brown/Darling dynasty for that nice Nick Clegg’s Libdems.

  29. Gordon E says:

    Some research done over at the Alba Matters blog should make us all feel a bit relieved at Ukip not having a chance of getting a Scottish MEP. Ver scary thought though.

    http://albamatters.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/why-ukip-wont-get-mep-in-scotland-in.html

  30. Chris Darroch says:

    I was told by @YesGlasgow tonight that their 2013 launch event had 600 attending. Yhe rather persuasive photo of that event group is online.

  31. Paula Rose says:

    @ Doug Daniel – surely “vile cybernat’s site infiltrated by all sorts of loving peaceful folk who wish to live in a decent world”.

  32. Mental Paul says:

    It is clear from UKIPs popularity just how frustrated the British electorate are with the political status quo. I agree with very little of UKIPs policy but I understand their popularity and have a degree of respect for how they are shaking up the political system.

    One positive that could come from this is that it is conceivable they could achieve around 20% of the popular vote at the next general election but only have a handful of seats – making even more of a mockery of the fptp system. It is just unfortunate that it has taken the English alternative right to mobilise rather than the exciting alternative left we have emerging in scotland from the likes of the Scottish Greens and the RIC

  33. RogueCoder says:

    Despite my levity on Twitter whilst the Rev was reporting, I’ve been increasingly concerned about UKIP. I’m still shocked at his report though

    Until now I had – probably wrongly I now realise – assumed that UKIP were getting a nice poll bump off voters intending to give the established parties a bloody nose in the European elections, and that they would once again retreat to a minority when the GE rolls around. But people intending to vote tactically don’t turn out in vast numbers for public meetings and give standing ovations.

    This is a worrying development for the UK, and it really does not bode well this far out from a GE that UKIP are getting this level of grassroots support.

    I wonder – and I’m speculating here – if we didn’t inadvertently help this along. With the Yes movement gathering momentum and engaging people whom haven’t voted in years, as Alec and Nicola travel the country talking about positive change – did we help awaken the South as well?

  34. Tattie-bogle says:

    damn could get that to come up as an image it’s a belter aswell

  35. Murray McCallum says:

    I’m not surprised Farage stopped answering questions on non Europe questions.

    UKIP have few policies outside of this and what ones they have either change at short notice and/or different members of UKIP refer to different policies.

  36. cearc says:

    I am not surprised at how well UKIP go down in England. They are the ‘None-of-the Above’ vote. The only alternative to the liblabcon.

    It is disturbing that the man of the people stuff is so readily accepted from a right wing hedgefund manager with little in the way of real policy or answers to questions.

    I was glad to see that the Bell Inn wouldn’t let him gandstand in there. I have memories of great gigs there.

  37. Sue says:

    What surprises me most about this event is that the venue is owned by Bath City Church. I would not think that UKIP ideals marry too well with christian beliefs, nor would I have expected many churches to allow their premises to be used to promote any particular political party – except the Christian Party. Especially in the light of UKIP being denied the use of a Bath pub for political purposes. Thanks, Nobby Power for that link.

    The forum website is still under construction, so could not find out what their policy is on hiring out the premises.

  38. Grouse Beater says:

    There’s no mystery – Farage has tapped into the English dislike of foreigners.

    He’s been helped in that by neo-liberals ideology that does all it can to encourage hatred of incomers, and the weak in society. England’s government is a prime example – they helped Nigel get a leg up.

    Ukip is another version of Mosley’s Black Shirts. Can’t be long before Farage boasts of friends in high places, and I don’t mean businessmen.

    BBC has its cue to build Ukip into all political forums, programmes and chat shows. We shall be bored stiff with their shenanigans.

    A pint of warm beer, anyone?

  39. cearc says:

    Sue,

    The Church of England is part of the British establishment (bishops in the HoL an’ all that) as is Farage. So not much of a surprise.

    More of a surprise is that this public school, hedgefund manager is seen as different from the rest of them.

  40. Jamie Arriere says:

    Did anyone make the point about the recent discovery that, of the net 212,000 inward migration last year, nearly 90,000 were returning British expats coming home from Spain? (which I noticed in this article)

    https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/250-000-spanish-villa-sold-070633166.html

    Or does Nigel blame the EU for that as well?

  41. Dr JM Mackintosh says:

    Yes Stu,
    Indeed – we are a different country.

    On independence, have you ever thought of becoming our ambassador in London?

    You could do it from our Bath consulate if that saves you moving house.

  42. Ian Brotherhood says:

    Objective hat on – what Rev’s done here is ‘Orwellian’ standard reportage/journalism. It doesn’t get any better than this – the only way he could’ve made it more valuable/credible would’ve been to attach a live web-cam to his heid.

  43. Wingermac123 says:

    Some of what he says is true about immigrants taking jobs.
    Clearly some folks don’t work in the building industry to see the amount of immigrants that are on sites nowadays in Scotland that do not speak a word of English/Scottish.
    Counted 15+ Polish and Romanians working on a building site this week ridiculous ,Then i think of x y and z Scottish people that could be doing this that are unemployed and would jump at the chance of a job.
    Absolutely ridiculous.
    Then you have people saying those comments are racist, Nonsense get the local populous in jobs before giving them away to immigrants.

  44. Morag says:

    I lived in England for 25 years. There is a difference, in the ordinary people. But I got a closer look at UKIP than I wanted at the end of last year.

    My business partner liked politics, and tended to join the party he thought was most suited to his station in life at the time. He was a shop steward when he was employed by a large vaccine manufacturer, but when he set up his own business he joined the Tories. We had Francis Maude visiting our lab once.

    He got thrown out of the Tories for campaigning against them in a local election – he was mad at the Tory candidate for not being hard-line enough about some houses he didn’t want built in his back yard. But he liked politics so he joined UKIP.

    Of course he got to be on committees and organise things and got pally with these guys. He confessed to me he was only doing it for fun in his retirement, and his wife told me she knew he thought they were a load of nutters. Well that was quite bad because frankly George was a bit of a nutter himself in some ways – racist, antisemitic, nimbyist. Yes, he was my friend but sometimes I just felt like walking quietly out the door when he went on one of his rants.

    George died in December and I went to his funeral in Worthing. I found myself surrounded by Kippers. One of them even said to me “are you from the Horsham branch?” I bit back “no, Tweeddale SNP” and just said “I was George’s business partner.” These ones weren’t very bright (George was extremely bright indeed) and could only parrot prejudices they didn’t really understand. I don’t think they were actually capable of independent thought.

    George’s wife now tells me she’s being harassed by Kippers who think she’s a rich widow and hence a free meal ticket. By the sound of it she may have to go to the police.

    When I lived in England I was conscious that a lot of ordinary people, people you could be friends with and get along fine with, would suddenly come out with a load of bigoted, racist, anti-EU rhetoric straight out of the Daily Mail. Not something I come across here to be honest. I think UKIP are tapping into this, and I think they may have hit a gusher.

    A lot of this is of course down to the media and in particular the BBC for treating Farage like a serious politician and giving him so much oxygen of publicity. They seem to want him to win. He’s far more open to devastating criticism than Salmond, but Nigel gets lionised and Alex gets demonised.

    I’m worried by what Stu observed this evening, particularly in the light of my own experiences with Kippers. I just hope to hell we get out of this alive.

  45. a2 says:

    Can’t agree with this ‘protest vote’ idea especially while we still see our labour chums dismissing the SNP sucess as a protest vote.

    UKIP offer something that the other parties don’t and that’s that they just come out and say what they think. Although that often gets them in a pickle and alienates us liberal/lefties, there’s a hell of a lot of people who share their views. many of those people my not be all that engaged or think though the implications of moving their previous tory votes.

    I’d say there’s a pretty good chance we see a Tory minority with UKIP having enough MPs to hold the balance of power and making a greatly better job of wielding it than the Libs have.

  46. Ian Brotherhood says:

    @Wingermac123 –

    I don’t know if Rev has a register of the most asinine/retarded comments ever posted on this site, but yours (@1.18) must surely be – straight into! – the Top Twenty.

  47. tartanarse says:

    Ian at 2.06

    I understand your sentiment but I would like to point out that the foreign worker(whatever origin) is likely to be sharing rent, council tax, utilities and transport costs. There is no way that an indigeuos Scot could compete with this.

    I don’t often post but I read daily and I almost always agree with your posts Ian, but on this one I disagree.

  48. Paula says:

    Nope I don’t want to be like Australia.

    Australia is an example of good PR working as it should; in the UK we have an impression of Australia as being a relaxed and quirky sort of place where everyone is “mate”. However if you glace at news coming out of there it is clear that racism, xenophobia and anti-environmentalism hold sway with the government.

    Most of us know that the American Indians were treated badly by the US government, but the Aboriginal Australians are still treated like second-class citizens. Have a look at John Pilger’s documentary “Utopia”

    Australia is much more like USA than the UK.

  49. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    @Wingerman1234
    Personally I blame the Jews, Pakis, Nignogs and anybody else before the Romanians, Poles, and other assorted people who are not us.

    Oh, I forgot the Welsh. them really bad.

  50. Grouse Beater says:

    the foreign worker(whatever origin) is likely to be sharing rent, council tax, utilities and transport costs.

    In which case, it’s more than likely the foreign worker intends to return to his homeland, or settle in another country one day.

    Nobody with any ambition intends to live hand-to-mouth in that manner for the rest of his life. And the mere fact that he has come to Scotland to look for better paid work than he finds in his homeland presupposes he has ambition and is prepared to make short-term sacrifices to attain his objectives.

    The cost of buying a flat or house has become so onerous, that even making minor alterations to a property can reach unacceptable costs, the elite having ensured all materials and all garden elements are priced at high levels that only someone in the trade buying at trade prices, doing his own work, can afford it.

    To find a skilled Polish tradesman able to do detailed work in a short time is a godsend. I am in the middle of a difficult build right now, but managed to use local labour with the possibility only the decorator will be an incomer. His English is fluent.

    Poles have been in Scotland since the 1930s, and earlier.

  51. Grouse Beater says:

    It might be an eye opening exercise if readers researched the policies of Mosley’s Black Shirts to compare them with Ukip’s. Spot the difference!

  52. Democracy Reborn says:

    tartanarse at 2.33

    Eh??…

    I’m sorry, but that is simply a fatuous comment. Are you seriously suggesting that “indigenous Scots” (whatever that means) don’t share rent, council tax, utilities & transport costs?

    As far as I’m concerned, any person – from whatever nation – who chooses to live, work & make their home in Scotland is to be welcomed.

    Getting back to the original piece, the message is simple for No/Undecided & particularly Labour voters:-

    1. Despite Scottish Labour’s platitudes on social justice, what you are getting at British level on immigration is another example of the party’s rightwards drift to pander to the UKIP vote. It is already apparent in Labour’s adaptation of Osborne’s spending plans.

    2. There is a significant risk of a Tory/another Tory-Lib Dem coalition govt at the 2015 election. Don’t say we’ve not been warned…..

  53. Seasick Dave says:

    Morag

    When I lived in England I was conscious that a lot of ordinary people, people you could be friends with and get along fine with, would suddenly come out with a load of bigoted, racist, anti-EU rhetoric straight out of the Daily Mail.

    Working offshore, the Daily Mail is the Bible for most of my English colleagues.

    They are decent people that I can bump along nicely with but underneath it all is this seething contempt for foreigners and a casual disdain for Scottish Independence.

    UKIP will certainly be getting votes from my colleagues.

    I appreciate that uncontrolled immigration does cause problems for all concerned but, Scotland is not England and we have the chance of a lifetime on September 18th to create the society that best suits our needs and those who wish to make their life here.

    For Scotland to vote No would be unbearable.

  54. john king says:

    Xsticks says
    “This is possibly the scariest article you have ever written on Wings. I find the rise of UKIP akin to what happened in Germany in the 1930s and it truly makes me worry for the future EVEN IF WE VOTE FOR INDEPENDENCE. We could have quite a nasty and hostile government in the country next door to us.”

    “Evil prevails when good men do nothing”

    The parallels with 1930’s Germany are chilling, and it can be easily dismissed as scaremongering to allude to such a horrible part of world history saying we’re civilised now that could never happen again,

    Trouble is that it did, it happened again in Yugoslavia and the repeat of the concentration camps in a lot of peoples living memory is a stain on the good name? of Europe.

  55. Tattie-bogle says:

    It just a pity Polish people don’t have a buzz word for themselves, as a people throughout history they have been treated like the toilet paper end of life and never generally been treated well. I personally have worked with some of these guys and they know what a hard days work is and earning an honest coin is all about.
    Maybe thats why a lot of them are on building sites they burst their hole to get paid.

  56. TheItalianJob says:

    Well done Stu for attending this meeting in an area that UKIP are targetting in the upcoming Euro elections and also the UK GE in 2015.

    A few years back I worked with a guy from the NE of England (he was around 61 at the time), whow as singing the praises of the BNP. When I told him of my disbelief that he could even contemplate supporting such an extreme party, advised me to go and read their manifesto on their website, which of course I didn’t.

    The problem we have with UKIP, is that they have become mainstream and as you quite rightly point out Farage is a good orator and people will listen to him. He has been given air time to have debates with Nick Clegg (where he has gained kudos with the public), media interviews on both national tv and radio, invited to debates such as BBC QT, etc, etc.

    You have correctly highlighted his appeal to certain people where UKIP are targetting both Euro and domestic election areas.

  57. faolie says:

    @Heather: Thousands of middle class retired folk possibly having to leave their retirement villas in Spain and France to come home to dear old Blighty!

    Too true, not to mention the thousands here, ie rUK, that would have to leave, plus the effect on businesses won’t be pretty.

    Excellent article Stu. I kept waiting for the funny bit and when it didn’t come it felt a little scary at the way England’s lurching.

  58. CameronB says:

    Coincidentally or not, the Tory/Labour National Government of the 1930s and ’40s, faced opposition from Mosley’s New Party, formed after Mosley left the Fabians. Some may be shocked art how much support Mosley had from within the traditional Labour party.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Party_%28UK%29

  59. Colin Thomasson says:

    A fine piece indeed and much needed, there are none so blind as those that will nor see.

    I believe in Scotland, and I believe that Scotland should be Independent.

    By Independent, I mean a sovereign nation, where sovereignty resides in the people.
    That sovereignty is absolute, cannot be denied, subverted, stolen, bargained away,
    made subject to international treaty or finally given away by some ruling clique,
    bought by bankers, taken from us or lost in any way, other than such being the will of the people.

    That such a nation would pass its own laws,
    control its own borders, natural resources and territorial waters
    collect its own taxes ,
    have its own philosophies as regards to the sort of society it would be,
    its own priorities, sensibilities and culture,
    a belief in the common weil,
    have as much control as possible over the commanding heights of its own the economy ; its own currency, interest rates , under the control of its own national bank.
    A sovereign nation sets its own foreign policy, signs its own treaties, trade agreements, defence pacts
    and has the powers, retains power over all things that matter to an independent, free, sovereign and and civilised society.

    All that should go without saying.

    As should the indisputable fact that none of that is possible to any nation that is controlled by the EU.
    No Royal Mail, no Scottish Rail no Scottish Gas, water, electricity, in fact anything, soon enough, no Scottish border, nothing meaningful left but a name and a distant, dying memory of freedom, sovereignty, self respect all gone all sacrificed to another economic theory, just as surely as Thatcher sacrificed Blighty to Moronic Monetarism, so will Europe sacrifice civilisation to the free movement of capital goods and people, international trade agreements made entirely at the expense of national interests in favour of multinational corporarions that choose what laws to obey, what tax, if any, they will pay, what freedoms such as zero hour contracts we shall be allowed, with what yolks shall we be their willing slaves for all of our lives

    Which is ,apparently, inexcusably, the position of so many here who claim to believe in independence.

    Those who would secede from the UK, where we at least have a ten percent say in a democratically elected semi sovereign parliament, only to hand all our sovereignty over to the EU where we would be less than one percent of a parliament that is in any case meaningless, impotent, advisory and controlled by bankers, where all real power resides in the unelected, unaccountable, self serving bureaucracy hell bent on building a grotesque European parody of the USA
    The EU that makes no secret of its project : to undermine and remove democracy, to deny the sovereignty of the people and to reduce the status of the the nation state to the meaninglessness, the travesty of those wretched entities ruled over by Imperial, Corporate Washington .

    That so many here have swallowed the vilification of UKIP hook line and sinker is ridiculous, they are just good hearted English who believe in the sovereignty of the (British) people, as once was assured by the British state, and without which the British state is meaningless.

    That they are often dismissed scornfully as “Little Englanders” tells much more about the defamers than those they would slander, that term being the one chosen by the Imperialists to discredit and put down those that protested against the conquest and explointation of others, having the temerity to suggest that perhaps if the ruling class try to build a fair and just society in England rather than rule the world, both England and the world might be the better for that.

    Certainly,that is the view that the world has come to and now, at long last, the Little Englanders day may dawn, along with ours, and the sovereignty of all the peoples of this Isles be restored, our respective restored Kingdoms sovereign, supreme and free

    Thanks to Barasso, Von Rumpey et al in the unelected, rotten ruling core of the EU, you showed us your open contempt for self determination in general and Scotland in particular, just in time, not even those that will nor see can deny that.

  60. daodao says:

    If you look at the list of UKIP candidates in NW England, you will note that the candidates at positions 3 and 4 on the list are from an ethnic minority – that contradicts the commonly held view that UKIP per se is a racist party. All political parties contain some individuals with racist views, particularly those with a nationalist ideology.

    If you really wish to seek out neo-fascists, go to Kiev, where they organised the putsch of 26/2/2014 and are now “running” the Ukrainian government, which (incredibly) is backed to the hilt by the EU. This has led to racist violence, witness the recent attempted assassination of the Jewish mayor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second largest city.

  61. Alex Wright says:

    I agree with John King, “The parallels with 1930’s Germany are chilling.” As the austerity cuts start to progress up the food chain, the finger of blame pointed toward our immigrant communities will become more pronounced, as disappointingly indicated by a couple of our own posters.

    Hopefully, after September, we will be too busy re-building our country for these fears and prejudices to gain a significant foothold.

  62. JLT says:

    God almighty …that’s it! I’m reading no more headlines in the papers this morning.

    Whine, whine, whine.

    ‘Yes groups have more money’
    ‘There are more people in these Yes Groups’
    ‘Scotland cannot default on its share of the debt’
    ‘Scotland demanding share of assets’

    I’m really puzzled here! According to our wonderful state media, I thought the ‘No’ mob was winning not only the argument, but also heart and minds; so, why the BLOODY whining??? It’s like Johann Lamont has become Editor in Chief for all the media outlets.

  63. Sinky says:

    If only broadcasting had been devolved we would be spared the daily BBC publicity for Farange and his falangist policies as UKIP does not have a single councillor in Scotland.

  64. fergie35 says:

    I think Fradge is a scary character, putting gloss over his hatred of Non English culture and people.

  65. TheItalianJob says:

    @JLT at 7.23am

    Yes read them too. In the letter’s page of the Scotsman, there were letter’s complaining about AS views on Putin as reported yesterday. There was even one complaint from the Chairman of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Scotland,Edinburgh, asking for AS to apologise to the people of the Ukraine.

    Do we need to read this stuff and what’s worse is that the MSM is even printing this for our consumption.

  66. Craig P says:

    In Scotland, if we want change, it takes decades of patient persuasion, whilst all the time looking over our shoulder wondering what the English think. In England things can flare up and overtake events quite quickly. (For example despite Scottish opposition, we would have had the poll tax for years if it wasn’t for the poll tax riots in London).

    700 is a lot of supporters, suppose it depends if they had similar meetings in Bristol and surrounding towns or if that was the only one.

  67. bunter says:

    Had my early morning swatch at The Heralds comments and note that there was no sign of stalwarts Peter Piper and Steve McKay. This must be a first!

  68. Luigi says:

    UKIP are attracting votes from every corner of England (something which neither of the three main parties can claim). They have become the national party of England.

    Sound familiar?

  69. caz-m says:

    O/T

    NNS have a brilliant article regarding the Salmond/Putin smear campaign.

    They are saying Lord Robertson was calling for Russia/Putin to be part of NATO and this was AFTER Russia’s partition of the Crimea.

    The UK Ukraine group have asked for Lord Robertson to apologise for his remarks.

    NNS have sent the full report to BBC Scotland asking them to give it the exact same air time that they gave to the Slamond/Putin smear.

    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9116-robertsons-call-for-nato-putin-invite-qinsultingq-says-uks-biggest-ukrainian-group

    No word yet from BBC Scotland.

    Also no update from BBC Scotland on their membership of the CBI.

  70. ronnie anderson says:

    @ Rev. Ah hope you sanitized yourself before you came back

    on site, I recommend Zaflora. Good updates on Twitter, its

    its just to fast for me.

  71. Marian says:

    BBC “News” have just reported that Farage has stated he won’t be standing in the Newark by-election because he wants to concentrate on the European elections.

    Appears more like Farage isn’t so sure of himself after all.

  72. Muscleguy says:

    @Wingermac
    Our eldest works in the hotel/restaurant industry and in Scottish country hotels there are virtually no Scottish staff, especially behind the scenes. She plays on her NZ birth to get jobs. She will tell you about locals hired who lasted a couple of weeks then decided the job didn’t fit their lifestyle and this was in places like Killin where there are very few jobs outside of the hotels and pubs.

    It’s not just poles, though there are plenty of those but Kiwis, Aussies and Saffers. These places offer accommodation as part of the deal because they have to and that suits people on working holidays and those keen to earn and save.

    WRT construction there are other issues such as the blacklisting which doubtless still goes on. Read about the culture on the Crossrail project. Poles and Czechs and Bulgarians don’t know or much care about the safety culture and they don’t have families locally meaning they have to scurry off and are happy to work all hours. It is those attributes that attract those hiring, not the fact they are immigrants. GB migrant workers used to do jobs like that. The Eastern Europeans doing farm jobs have replaced Irish Travellers who have gone into the tarmac business instead, cash in hand, no guarantee.

    Back in New Zealand the govt gives temporary visas every year to the Solomon Islands and parties of people from there come to pick fruit. Used to be a good student summer holiday job backed up by Brits on working holidays but the students go back to uni too early so another solution was needed.

    And of course it’s all part of the race to the bottom because of inequality. Tackle inequality and pay living wages, enforced, and locals with families or the hope of them will find it worthwhile to work at those jobs again.

  73. ronnie anderson says:

    Farage is not standing in the Newark by election.

  74. caz-m says:

    O/T

    NNS have a brilliant article regarding the Salmond/Putin smear. They are saying that Lord Robertson is asking for Russia/Putin to join NATO. And this is AFTER the partition of the Crimea.

    NNS have sent the full report to BBC Scotland wanting them to give this report the same air time that they gave to the Salmond/Putin smear.

    http://www.newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9116-robertsons-call-for-nato-putin-invite-qinsultingq-says-uks-biggest-ukrainian-group

    Still no word yet from BBC Scotland.

    Also still no update from BBC Scotland regarding their CBI membership.

    It’s funny how BBC Scotland seem to go all shy with certain subjects.

  75. imvotingyes says:

    ” Wingermac123 says:
    30 April, 2014 at 1:18 am

    Some of what he says is true about immigrants taking jobs.”

    Remember”Auf Wiedersein Pet” True depiction of British workers taking jobs in Germany and living in huts so they could send all their money home. What goes around comes around. Not to mention the resources the “British Empire” garnered from all parts of the world.

  76. Seasick Dave says:

    Come on lads and lassies, there’s only 71 hours to go on this fundraiser and it needs help to get over the starting line.

    https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/stronger-united#home

    I love the perk categories :-)

  77. alexicon says:

    I hope you’re not going to go all ukip on us now Rev? ;-)

    O/T

    The ibtimes doing its best to scaremonger.

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/scottish-independence-will-prompt-40000-job-losses-boost-london-employment-1446646

  78. caz-m says:

    FFS Nigel Farage not standing for the Newark bi-election.

    BBC news went to the good Prof Curtis for his divine knowledge, BBC Scotland have Curtis on, also GMS with Curtis.

    So I turned it to Sky News to get away from the nutty professor and who do you think they had on, yes you guessed it, Professor Nuts himself.

    He is everywhere.

    Is this guy the only pollster (can’t spell the other word) in the UK that is qualified to speak on anything to do with elections.

    We have our own scottish_skier who would do a far better job at predicting outcomes than the good Prof. who’s predictions on outcomes of previous elections have been terrible.

  79. Cath says:

    Thanks for the very honest report Rev.

    I have to admit I’m very worried about the way this whole thing is going, because it does have parallels with Scotland, in that the political and media classes are making all the same arrogant and patronising mistakes they made here. That is, having built Farage up themselves for their own ends, they are now scurrying around sneering, trying to make them look like idiots, calling their voters idiots and racists etc.

    When the major problem people have is that they think the politicians and media are a bunch of out of touch, lying, expense-troughers (and worse) those same people appearing on TV to smugly patronise and tell you you’re thick for voting against them may as well be designed to make people dig their heels in and become even more angry.

    If that’s all the Westminster establishment have against UKIP, then we’re all screwed. And I fear we really do have a political and media establishment now which are simply incompetent and not up to the task.

    The job of politicians, leaders and opinion formers should be to challenge ideas and make their case. Instead we have ones who seem to have no ideas or principles but are simply careerists working from focus groups. So all they have is smears, sneers and abuse.

    We desperately need people who are able to stand up and make the political case against UKIPs arguments. And where they have a genuine point, and it’s hard to make a case against them, some alternative solutions. Sadly for the UK, though those politicians do exist, we mainly see them now in places like the SNP. Again, this is largely the fault of the mainstream parties, who kicked out anyone who could think for themselves in favour of automatons with pagers feeding them the party line.

  80. Red Squirrel says:

    UKIP are a one trick pony – while they will do very well in EU elections, I can’t see them doing the same in GE. Unfortunately their power lies in the reaction of Tories & Labour – a Tory govt 2015 and EU ref are a near certainty now.

    RUK is sleepwalking into EU exit – the empire really will fall & they don’t seem to realise the consequences.

    Ultimately prob good for iScotland & Ireland but disaster for our friends & neighbours.

  81. Ken500 says:

    People in the UK will vote to stay in the EU.

    People in Scotland will vote for Independence.

    UKIP are irrelevant in Scotland. Fradge is a Conman

  82. ronnie anderson says:

    @
    Rogue Coder,. Nigil Farage is a product of the Mismanagement of the British State & British Media,like us
    Scots being treated like shite & kept in order through the
    lies being feed by the Establishment controlled Media.

    Yes Farage is tapping into what the Westminster politicions
    / Media have been Highlighting for years Imigration Imigration Imigration, not unlike us Scots Subsidy Junky
    To Wee To Poor To Stupid, are we Yes campainers not a Product of the same Westminster / British Media system.

    Westminster Troughfers turned their backs on the People of
    the UK, they put the Rocket in the Hands of the People.

    We in Scotland have lite the blue touch paper,but people in Scotland in ever increasing numbers are more informed,
    on the Doorstep/in the Street/Sites like WOS,as the Rev has said previously, there is no difference between the voting public in England / Scotland, it is the intake of Information on Politics/Politicions, Scots are more engaged in that respect,very litte regard would be payed to
    how we fair in the South of England ( again Media lies ).

  83. Aikenheed says:

    Sorry o/t however news article in today’s Herald “Watchdog under pressure over Yes camp spending
    REFERENDUM watchdogs are coming under pressure to block the registration of a string of pro-independence groups amid claims they are being used as a front to boost the Yes campaign’s spending power in the run-up to the vote

    Don’t subscribe but anyone got more info?

  84. Nana Smith says:

    Re the bbc/cbi fiasco the comments by CynicalHighlander on the Newsnet article is very intriguing.
    Both to do with twitter comments.

    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/9113-cbi-membership-is-undermining-bbcs-impartiality-says-nuj#comment-214427

  85. Edward says:

    Aikenheed – I see the Herald article is written up by Magnus Gardham , or rather he has copied it from yet another Labour briefing.

    Across on the Scotsman, they are giving prominence to Jo Armstrong of CPPR, who naturally is talking down independence stating that the ‘dept refusal plan is flawed’

    Its just another day and another batch of Labour smears and miss information parading as ‘fact’

  86. caz-m says:

    O/T

    RT tv will be reporting on the Scottish Referendum very shortly (before 10am).

  87. caz-m says:

    The RT report on the referendum was very short and didn’t add much to the debate.

  88. Hugh Wallace says:

    Rev Stu,

    I had a series of comments to make regarding your most excellent reporting of the UKIP meeting but several others have already stolen my thunder. A post detailing the error of UKIP’s ways would have been preaching to the choir whereas what you achieved has enabled those reading to understand that party so much better. You have to know your enemy to defeat him (someone has already said) because dismissing him as a crank does not guarantee a victory. We all know there is something really rotten in the state of British politics (at every level – do not get me started on Aberdeen City Council! – including the European parliament) and UKIP are tapping into that knowledge and do not need to offer concrete proposals when all they have to do is reflect the mood of the people. In that sense they are a protest party. They are also a single issue party, in much the same way the SNP was pre Scottish devolution, as they have no expectation of forming a government and no need to waste their time on anything other than their anti-Europe rhetoric. This makes them more dangerous, not less.

    I am just hoping that their rise in England will help sway the Scots Nos and Don’t Knows towards Yes.

    Regarding several comments about the racism under the surface of many English people; please, everyone, don’t get complacent as in my experience this sentiment is alive and well in Scotland too. I grew up in New Zealand where racism was a daily thing, though not, thankfully, to the level it is in Australia (the attitudes, even if not the laws, in that country are not dissimilar to those of apartheid South Africa IMHO) and what I see in Scotland is an unthinking racism because the vast majority of Scots do not come into contact with brown people very often. In England non-whites are everywhere and can be identified as ‘other’ whereas in many parts of Scotland they are thin on the ground and are more of a novelty and not perceived as a threat.

    I moved to Aberdeen from Glasgow 12 years ago and was staggered by how homogeneously white the city was compared to the south side of Glasgow and its Asian population but even there whites far outnumber non-whites. Now there are a fair number of non-whites in Aberdeen for university and oil industry jobs but very few of us actually live alongside or work with (never mind are friends with) people who are not ethnically similar to ourselves. While the population density remains low in Scotland racism (or anti-Semitism) is not going to rear its ugly head too often and there is a sense that it is unacceptable to voice such opinions in public (and laws to enforce that too) but that shouldn’t be confused with the Scots actually feeling more tolerant of others.

    Personally I will settle for the practice of tolerance over everyone actually feeling tolerant, but let’s not get complacent on the subject, eh?

  89. caz-m says:

    Live debate at Holyrood at the moment regarding Scotland’s finances AFTER Independence.

    Very interesting.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/scotland-22995739

  90. Jimsie says:

    Seasick Dave 8.48

    What puzzles me is how they managed to raise $240.

  91. X_Sticks says:

    Nana Smith says:

    “Re the bbc/cbi fiasco the comments by CynicalHighlander on the Newsnet article is very intriguing.”

    Indeed Nana, I wonder what Iain McWhirter knows about the other broadcasters and the CBI. Something big to come out there. Wonder if it will be in the Sunday Herald?

  92. ronnie anderson says:

    @ SeaSick Dave 8.48. ah like the Highland Cathedral wan

    $1000, the’ll be nae Pipers playin at their Funeral lol.

  93. TheItalianJob says:

    @caz-m at 9.41am

    Dr Angus Armstrong, spokesman from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, claims Scottish debt burden per GDP will be significantly less than rest of UK following Independence.

    There you go. Straight from horse’s mouth no less.

  94. Aikenheed says:

    Edward
    Thanks, by now you would think I should realise that just because there is a headline, there is a grain of truth somewhere behind it – I immediately assumed BT were trying to suppress free speech (again)
    Both statements of course are a sad reflection of current state of politics and the media………

  95. Colin Thomasson says:

    Had Farage stood in the bye election, the most likely result would be to split the Tory vote and let the third place win, which is what everyone knows the Tories are worried about for the 15 GE but it would also give them a powerful weapon to campaign with, as in look what a vote for UKIP does, we told you so, blah blah, which is their most oft repeated attack tactic, in fact their only one likely to give anyone much pause for thought..

    Of course, there is also the chance he would have won by a landslide, the incumbent having been a rotten High Tory (broke the eleventh commandment) and a seemingly vast proportion of the grass roots of the Tory Party absolutely loathe Cameron and would vote for Farage in a bye election with great glee…

    but then he would be a single voice in Westminster and rather a hostage to fortune, so, I would guess that he has decided that winning one seat in a bye election then losing the war is not worth the risk, he is building up for an all out assault on Westminster in the 15 GE I hope he wins an SNP scale victory and sweeps the pitiful, treacherous troughers out of power for ever.

    Lest anyone think that I am anything other than a committed YES supporter, I am just that, was out on Saturday last helping man the YES Central Edinburgh stall in Stockbridge, an area I thought might not be exactly staunch YES territory but such fears were groundless, with support expressed from all across the board of the passers by, apart from one frightfully posh woman who took us for Better Together, then fled in horror into Scotmid once she realised her error, sort of regrouped and came out fighting only to completely loose it when she realised that one of the YES campaigners was actually Scots Asian, and not in any mood to be cowed.

    and finally, I am part of a mixed race family, racism is absolutely abhorrent to me, so I would not be cheering on UKIP if I believed for a moment they were anything like the picture painted by the BBC et al in the MSM.

    P.S. once the vote is won, I will join the fight to keep us free from, or get us out of, the EU, if they have not thrown us out as promised, which they won’t do, ever.

  96. Flower of Scotland says:

    Well the Beeb are giving Nigel Farage plenty of airtime today! What is the matter with them? Why do they give these jumped up people lots of advertising when he is only a one man wonder! I think he is intrinsively evil! How can you hate brown and non British people so much? There is another word for it ………….

  97. kalmar says:

    Good bit of writing that. Thank you.

  98. Kev says:

    Frightening stuff, but it bodes well for a Yes vote. UKIP are likely to come out top (in England) in the EU elections a few weeks from now. And when Farage is parading triumphantly all over the TV screens, Labour supporters up here are going to get a big fright about the outcome of next year’s general election and are going to strongly question their party’s future in the UK. Im quite confident the indy ref polls in the weeks after will show a surge in support for Yes and perhaps put us ahead for the first time.

  99. Morag. While I value your knowledge and comments, would you please not use the phrase, “ordinary people”. All of us are extraordinary in some way, as we are proving by our determination to achive a Yes success in Sept.

  100. What a depressing read.
    Of course the reason he didn’t want questions on anything other than the EU is he would have to admit that people who vote for them are voting for the end of the NHS, the end of welfare provision, the end of the minimum wage and the final nail in the coffin of worker’s rights. I despair that large swathes of the people of England think UKIP is the answer. A no vote would be a disaster for our wee country.

  101. CameronB says:

    Hugh Wallace
    Excellent comment, IMHO. We get rather hot under the collar when Britnats scream Scottish exceptional-ism, to suggest we are too poor, too wee and too stupid. It is therefore rather arrogant to claim Scottish exceptional-ism for ourselves, as the paragons of all that is virtuous and good. Scots are as human and as fallible as anyone else. As you allude to, it is our comparatively low population density and proportionately small non-white population that spares our blushes.

  102. Hotrod Cadets says:

    Excellent article, Stu. Some of the best journalism I’ve seen from Wings.

    But it’s also genuinely terrifying. A timely reminder of how high the stakes are come September 18. We have to keep working as hard as we possibly can.

    We must win this.

  103. Dan Huil says:

    The British nationalist media will try to make crude comparisons between Farage and Alex Salmond but it’s obvious to all in Scotland that ukip really is a one-man band whereas the Yes campaign is a movement of the people of Scotland.

  104. Davy says:

    “Colin Thomasson” are you a Ukipper in disguse, or do you just not like the EU in general ? Your “our respective restored Kingdoms sovereign, supreme and free” comment makes me think you may be a bittie of a numpty.

    To be an independent country again is my goal, but to walk away from the biggest market in the world just to satisfy the zenophobic raving of UKIP, would be insane.

  105. (By permission of Rev Stu – we asked first)

    O/T – Apologies.

    Hello Wingers,

    We’re making a short drama film set on the night of the referendum. The film is called ‘Autumn Leaves’ and we have some prominant names in the Scottish acting scene already signed up. We just needs £1500 to get it all filmed and edited.

    You can read all about this great wee film at the kickstart link (below) and details there of how you can throw a quid or two to help it take flight. And there’s even a possibility it might get shown on the telly on referendum night (early days though).

    Some generous folk have already pledged their support, so MASSIVE thank you to them.

    The link:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/glasschequefilms/autumn-leaves

    Do what you can lads ‘n’ lassies to make this happen.

    And a mighty big “Thank You, Stu” for letting me post this on Wings.

  106. caz-m says:

    TheItalianJob

    It’s a fascinating debate at Holyrood isn’t it.

    And Dr Jo (or should that be Dr NO) Armstrong trying her worst, as usual.

  107. Alba4Eva says:

    AutumnLeavesFilm,

    The description states that the film will go out on ‘either’ on line distribution or via the TV?

    surely, if there is no profit being made and the whole point of the film is to reach as many people as possible before September, then making it open source via Youtube is an absolute must?

  108. call me dave says:

    The Farage hot air balloon is indeed getting plenty of airtime but will prove to be, in the end, a one man show, a mere blimp on the horizon.

    Used as an EU protest vote but electors will, in the main, all return to their normal party preferences in the GE.
    Once business puts pressure on and states the risks of upsetting their main markets the majority of electorate will also vote to stay in the EU.

    In Scotland post independence I also would like to have a vote on EU membership. Only then will I weigh up the information and decide.

  109. bjsalba says:

    I have to question whether UKIP is a political party if they will only discuss EU.

    What is the legal definition of a political party?

  110. caz-m says:

    I am for Scotland staying in Europe, but there will be a lot of YES voters who are not so keen on Europe.

    So, if there is 10% in Scotland that vote for UKIP in the European elections, it doesn’t mean that they will be voting NO in the Referendum.

    The Referendum vote is completely different from any vote that has ever taken place in Scotland.

    The YES vote will win the Referendum and UKIP will die off in Scotland.

    We will be too busy re-building our country.

    We will not have the time to bother about racist, ant-Scottish Party’s like UKIP.

  111. tiderium says:

    Sorry to go o/t but I had the misfortune to see the party political broadcast by Scottish labour last night, for the European elections. During the whole thing there was not one mention of Europe it was we need to remain united (referendum bad), part of the union, blah blah blah, from mr sarwar and mrs lamont , who managed between to turn the whole thing into an anti-SNP anti-yes speech. and at the end there appeared in the bottom left a united with labour logo. does united with labour have a candidate in the European Elections and if not what was that doing there? does this break some kind of rule?

  112. @ Alba4Eva,

    I understand your point completely and agree wholehearedly but at the minute there is a chance of the film being licensed for TV and screened before or on the night of the referendum, so to publicly screen the film beforehand would break that license code. If on the other hand this doesn’t happen then it will go straight up online to all you good people. Hope this clarifies your question? Thanks.

  113. X_Sticks says:

    @AutumnLeavesFilm

    Donation made. Wish you all the best with the project. It looks like it will be really good!

  114. call me dave says:

    Scotland’s finance post independence committee meeting is a very interesting listen. I am heartened with much of what I have heard.:-)

  115. @ X_Sticks,

    Much appreciated and many thanks. Spread the word my friend.

  116. call me dave says:

    The two Armstrongs (mainly cautious/negative) and the two Cuthberts (mainly neutral/positive) on the committee.

    Well worth watching later on the playback facility.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/scotland-22995739

  117. Adrian B says:

    Interesting piece in the New Statesman regarding this very topic:

    Despite the “UK” in its name, Ukip is swiftly becoming the de facto English National Party – where at the moment it can count on nearly one in three votes. Its appeal, however, isn’t nearly as strong among Welsh and Scottish voters.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/04/election-success-ukip-england-could-encourage-scottish-independence

  118. mjaei says:

    Interesting if slightly demoralising article.

    One thing though Stu, – what is a ‘Better Together crowd’?

    :P

  119. Garry Henderson says:

    I would like to see a referendum on EU once we are independent. The amount of information I have found out about my own country and that of the Westminster government during this referendum, leads me to think that if I had to research the EU and our relationship with it I would find out all sorts of interesting things which I believe we should be allowed to decide on, one way or the other it would be for the people to decide.

  120. Robert Peffers says:

    What is really funny, (Ha! Ha!), is the great difference in how Nige is treated in Bath and Edinburgh.

    The point being that The Kingdom of Scotland is indeed very different politically from The Kingdom of England.

    Which is all the more frightening as this EU Election will probably see UKIP end up with a total of more MEPs than the entire political spectrum of political parties in Scotland. In fact UKIP then having more say in Scottish matters in Europe than the entire political representation of Scotland’s own MEPs.

    BTW: Just read an article on teletext that shows Scotland’s population reached an all-time high of 5,327,700 in mid-2013. Of which 47,700 came from England, Wales & NI.

    While 39,800 emmigrants left in the opposite direction. Thus a net migration gain from the three country Kingdom of England of 7,900.

    If Scottish independence is so bad, why are we gaining immigrants from the Kingdom of England?

  121. Ted says:

    @Wingermac123
    So called “foreigners” , go through the same job selection process as everyone else. For every job vacancy in the building trade there will be many applicants for it. Out of the many people the employer will have interviewed, they pick the best candidates for the job. The “foreigners” getting the job have got the job on merit.

  122. Ted says:

    Bummer “i” before “e” except after “c” :)

  123. Andrew Brown says:

    Cath @ 8.51am. Completely agree. You captured my thoughts exactly.

  124. Desimond says:

    Isnt Bath the Debt capital of britain, no wonder when folk are tking up 3 seats at a time?

    Just a thought, but what would happen if Scotland votes YES and then the UK were to hold a EU referendum before we officially departed the UK. Will Scots vote in that election and would a YES vote to leave the Eu still include us, ie kick us out if UK immediately posted a notice to leave? ( I now realise like our vote, there would be a big gap beween the vote and any actual breakaway so this thought probably null and void)

  125. JGedd says:

    Hugh Wallace

    Agree with your contribution. We mustn’t be complacent and assume Scotland is different. Human beings are prey to the same primitive prejudices everywhere. The dislike of the “other” comes from our evolutionary past and can easily emerge in the horrific events with which we are all familiar in recent history.

    I suppose our best defence against it is to be aware of this and confront it. The Yes campaign is doing the right thing in emphasizing civic nationalism. By subtly reminding people that this is how we see ourselves it keeps the idea of tolerance at the forefront of our society’s attitudes to itself.

    The worst thing is to collude with these latent prejudices allowing them to settle on a collective target as the British media is doing. What happened in Germany is a frightening example of what can happen to a highly cultured and highly educated society when the establishment colludes with populist demagogues to take the brakes off and allow these atavistic demons to emerge from our ancient psyche.

  126. X_Sticks says:

    mjaei says:

    “what is a ‘Better Together crowd’?”

    Blair MacDougal and John Ternan?

  127. Morag says:

    Alex, I assume you know perfectly well what I mean. “Ordinary” in the sense of “not a raving fruitloop.”

  128. braco says:

    UKIP, Nigel Farage and the OUT of Europe campaign are a monster largely created and kept fed by the MSM (including the BBC), the pandering of the three main political parties of rUK and the interests of the City of London (in keeping those self same political parties heading rightward, but most definitely rightward within Europe).

    UKIP and Farage can therefor be killed by those same forces when the time comes.

    SNP, Alex Salmond and the YES campaign are not the creation of the establishment (either directly or indirectly)and so that same establishment has no effective tools (or even support to withdraw)against them.

    YES has flourished in a hostile desert environment and needs none of the ‘nourishment’ considered essential to other UK political movements and parties.

    OUT (UKIP) has flourished in a hothouse, nurtured and cared for, being given much more of it’s fair electoral share of friendly MSM airtime and print.

    When the time comes, and it will, The City interests overwhelmingly wedded to remaining in Europe and their political mouth pieces in the 3 main parties along with the broadcasters and Media outlets will turn on UKIP as viciously as they have always treated the SNP.

    How will UKIP and it’s ‘mavericks’ respond to life out in the frost once they’ve been thrown out the hothouse?

    How will the rUK voting population respond to a completely new and negative view of UKIP and the OUT campaign when pumped out by their favoured MSM otlets and trusted broadcaster?

    I do not believe the rUK electorate is anywhere as resistant to media and establishment spin as the Scots electorate has proven to be over the years.

    For these reasons I think the threat of rUK voting OUT in an EU referendum (which I am sure will happen though) is a bit of a long shot, when push comes to shove.

    Just my opinion though and not something I would want spread around as the threat of UK leaving Europe is a great help to YES at the moment.

  129. liz says:

    Just picking up on the posts re the BBC giving UKIP more airtime than they deserve – this has to be deliberate.

    We now know that the BBC is the mouthpiece of the establishment and the CBI.

    Therefore there must be an agenda which suits both of these powerful institutions.

    It could be because they want both Lab and Cons to move further to the right.

    There has always been an extreme right wing agenda in the upper classes.

    One of the reasons why the Cambridge spies – not that I’m condoning them as they caused the deaths of a lot of people – took up with communism in protest against these extreme right wing attitudes.

  130. Alan Mackintosh says:

    “What is a Better Together crowd?”

    An oxymoron surely?

  131. Will Podmore says:

    Grouse beater writes, “It might be an eye opening exercise if readers researched the policies of Mosley’s Black Shirts to compare them with Ukip’s. Spot the difference!”
    Mosley’s BUF wanted Britain to join the EEC; UKIP wants Britain to leave the EU.
    But please can any of you tell me what benefits Scotland would get as the EU’s 29th dependency that it doesn’t get as a partner in the Union? Its population share and GDP share of Britain are far higher than its population share and GDP share of the EU, so it has more clout in the Union than it would have in the EU.

  132. lumilumi says:

    Thank you, Rev Stu, for this excellent piece of honest and objective journalism and analysis. UKIP need to be treated seriously, not with elitist sneers or mockery.

    Also, Cath @ 8.51am, Hugh Wallace @9.28am and JGedd @ 12.45pm, thank you for comments. You make some very good points that I mostly agree with.

    I think the point about “latent” racism that only becomes visible when sufficient numbers of people of other ethnicity are present is very important.

    Growing up in Finland I naively thought that racism really wasn’t an issue in Finland – well, maybe slightly, against the Finnish Romanis, who’ve lived in Finland for hundereds of years. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Kale )

    But that was maybe due to the fact that there were so few people of foreign origin in Finland. Now that Finland has more immigrants, racism has reared its ugly head.

    I partly blame successive governments – mostly liberal and pro-immigration – for managing things so badly. Sending hundreds of refugees (many Finns confuse refugees and immigrants) to live in small rural towns with high unemployment isn’t exactly smart. But most of all, governments have failed to prepare the “native” population and work on its attitudes in a constructive way. They’ve come across as holier-than-thou and patronising.

    That, and several political scandals (cronyism, election funding etc.) and the eroding of the welfare state have left the general electorate disillusioned with all mainstream political parties and politicians.

    In steps the Perussuomalaiset (PerSu; they used to call themselves the direct translation, “Basic Finns”, in English but now call themselves “True Finns”).

    It’s not exactly a Finnish UKIP, for instance, many of their policies are quite lefty. However, they’re best known for their anti-EU and anti-immigration stance.

    They have a charismatic leader who’s a very good public speaker, someone who knows how to tap into the Finns’ general hatred of “elites” (e.g. portraying all EU organs as elite – even when he was an MEP!)

    Some of their supporters and even elected representatives (councillors and even MPs) are openly racist although the party leadership tries to distance themselves from these unsavoury elements.

    PerSus had been a “lunatic fringe” party but in the 2011 Finnish GE, PerSus had a landslide, or a “big bang” (“iso jytky”) as they called it and were suddenly the fourth largest party in parliament – we have a fully PR parliament so no party ever has an absolute majority, it usually takes 3-6 parties to form a government – so the more established main parties had to at least be seen to take them seriously in government forming negotiations.

    In the end, PerSus remained in opposition. Many of their MPs are very inexperienced politicians, many even without experience in working in councils or community groups, so had no idea how meetings are actually conducted etc.

    Their popularity in the polls increased for a while, I think at some point they overtook the Social Democratic Party (our “Labour”) but it’s come down now a bit, I think they’re fourth after the traditional big three but ahead of “middle-sized” parties of longer standing. Nevertheless, they’re expected to do well in the Euro elections and also the next Finnish GE in 2015.

    The British FPTP system makes it harder for UKIP (or, indeed, any other party but Labour or Tories) to gain seats in the Westminster parliament, so comparisons can’t really be made. However, I think it’s important to be aware of how anti-EU and often ethnic nationalist and right-wing parties are moving from the undercurrent to the mainstream in many European countries. PerSu and UKIP are just two examples of this trend.

    I’m broadly pro-EU but I think the EU should be somehow reformed, made more transparent and accountable and democratic and less bureaucratic and wasteful and elitist. It’s something that Finland and Sweden have tried to work towards since our membership in 1995, and we’ve made some small progress but not enough.

    Sorry for the long post but the upcoming Euro elections have made me think a lot about Europe recently.

  133. braco says:

    Liz,
    very good point. Just how well would the OUT campaign in general and UKIP in particular handle a sustained attack on them via the UK MSM by the CBI for example.

    The catastrophic actions of the CBI upon the BetterNO campaigns credibility has been multiplied many fold for the same reason that it would be multiplied many fold and devastatingly effective against UKIP. That is through the role of facilitator. Creating constant and varied opportunities for political attacks by others through the role of honest ‘neutral’ business observer.

    A variation on the role the BBC expected to be played in Scottish campaign, but instead has been regularly uncovered by ‘grassroots YES’ for it’s hypocracy and wholesale abuses (and now not just in the specific context of the indy referendum).

    I doubt the OUT campaign led by UKIP could possibly respond so effectively.

  134. Appleby says:

    A sobering and grim read indeed. Thanks for this. It was quite an insight into the reality of UKIP and its rising status. It’s not hard to imagine in a generation they could go very far indeed in England.

  135. Chic McGregor says:

    It would be easy for Scots to ignore England sleepwalking into xenophobia and do a rather ironic parody of Mrs T. by just smugly saying “UKIP if you want to” but we must not forget England is our elephant in the room.

    It is really not difficult to visualise a similar outcome to that which occurred in Germany in the 30’s. All the elements are there. England is very over-crowded. The whole country has politically moved noticeably to the right and a disproportionate number, physically, to the bottom right resulting in regional tyranny already being well established. The loss of Empire has left a huge hole in its national psyche. There are no shortage of ‘others’ to potentially demonise in a political blame game, immigrants, disabled, homosexuals, Scots, Islamics etc.

    If they leave Europe – which is likely and the ECHR – which is likely and the financial sector in London collapses/relocates – which is likely and an IMF bail out is required, with strings – which is likely things are going to get very bad down there.

    And in that chaotic scenario it is IMV quite probable that a ‘strong man/woman’ gains power. And with no EU or ECHR to curb them, they can virtually do anything they like politically. And if they decide they need more liebensraum, the only land border they have – is us.

    So we should do what we can to prevent that from happening. Problem is, we can’t do very much.

    The biggest underlying problem they have is overpopulation.

    We could only take maybe 2-3 million up here before starting to suffer from the same problem, which would be hardly noticed.

    They need to lose about 20 million people and there is no easy, quick or acceptable way to do that.

  136. lumilumi says:

    Oh, and about that Australian comparison Nigel Farage made, as reported and analysed by Rev Stu.

    I think that’s bang on. The English, the British, the Europeans in general think that Aussies are these laid-back friendly “mates” and cuddly koalas.

    I lived in Australia for a while when it was at its most socially liberal, during the Keating years – the PM who famously decribed his country as being in the arse end of the world (in a good way – it was a barb at the Anglo-nostalgics) so time to reposition foreign and trade policy to that geographical fact.

    It was a time when important aborigine rights were recognised, post-war new Aussies (i.e. non-British) and their descendants were celebrated. The time when cappuccino outsold lager in Sydney and Prince Charles almost got shot in Darling Harbour (by a starting pistol).

    Most of my Australian friends were socially liberal and even republican (as opposed to monarchist), but generally there was this feeling of an undercurrent of “sheilaism” (sexism) and also racism. Tabloid press, comments overheard in the pub, the casual use of the word “abo” etc.

    Once, after a long, lovely day exploring the NSW Central Coast beaches, we ended up in a pub with some friends of friends. After a couple of schooners (beers) one of them started ranting about bloody immigrants and foreigners.

    I stood up a bit straighter, “I’m a foreigner.” His reaction; “Oh, not your kind of foreigner, you know what I mean”. I pretended I didn’t and removed myself and my friends followed me.

    Of course I knew exactly what “kind of foreigner” he meant. I’m fluent in English (by that time I even spoke with an Aussie accent), tall, white skinned, blonde haired, blue eyed. He meant the “other” kind of foreigners, the not-so-fluent-in-English, not-so-tall, darker skinned, darker eyed kind.

    That was during the Keating years when Australian general attitudes and immigration policy were more liberal and open than they are now.

    I know the Australia I lived in doesn’t exist anymore. My Australian friends despair of what their country has become. Yes, richer, but more intolerant and right-wing and racist. The egalitarian sense of “mateness” (which excluded women anyway) is a shallow front.

    So no wonder Nigel Farage appeals to the Australian way. Most UK people know FA about modern Australia. They think of Australia as this slightly irreverent (“I mean, all their forefathers were convicts”) but basically the Queen’s cuddly koala ex-colony, as Rev Stu rightly pointed out.

    O/T Lots of English are still seething that Australia (the colony) took the Ashes back last winter. (I’m a bit of a cricket fan but got into it in Australia so I always support Australia in the internationals.)

  137. CameronB says:

    Will Podmore
    I think your are only half right re. the BUF’s position on Europe. As far as I am aware, they did not want to join Europe they wanted to lead it, as they saw Europe as a natural extension of the British empire.

    I think there are strong similarities. Both would be placed firmly on the far-right of the political spectrum. They both support(ed) economic protectionism and were opposed to trade unions and labour rights. Both are/were also opposed to parliamentary democracy, UKIP already indicating they would wish o scrap the Scottish Parliament. I don’t know enough about UJIP to say with certainty that they also share the BUF’s racism, though there does seem to be quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to that effect.

    With regards to the benefits of joining the EU, I would suggest that is a debate for after we achieve independence. However, have you not been following debate? The Union is a machine designed to extract as much wealth to London, whilst providing the least amount of democracy possible. Staying in Britain is simply not sustainable.

    Braco
    Good to see you are still upright. Hope things are working out for you. Are you over here yet?

  138. JGedd says:

    Just wanted to say since we are moving on, that I have found this one of the really good threads with lots of interesting discussion, starting with the Rev’s thoughtful analysis of UKIP close up and the comments which followed.

    Comments from those with experience of living in other countries I, personally, particularly appreciate since sadly I never lived in any other country, only visited on holidays. So those like lumilumi and others recounting their personal experiences I found very illuminating.

    So thanks everybody for the valuable info.

  139. braco says:

    CameronB,
    cheers min!

    Yeah I am fine, back in Lisboa workin ma ticket again. Should have enough to take another run at home round about June (ish), so enough time to at least get a wee bit of campaigning done before I vote. Not ideal but whatever is?

    How’s your campaign going? Exciting I hope! (smily)

  140. CameronB says:

    braco
    TBH, I’m totally cheesed off with all the crap London is chucking at us. I may become intemperate. ;)

    Hopefully we can meet up at one of Ian’s gatherings. Best of luck.

  141. braco says:

    It will all be worth it in the end CameronB.

    Would be great to buy you a pint. I am sure to recognise you from the avatar!

  142. Caroline Corfield says:

    I live in Northumberland, it’s pretty empty, there’s plenty of room outside of the hothouse SE of England, and decentralisation would cure much of that as jobs would become available in the English regions, Wales and NI. Which is more likely if Scotland, the second most prosperous area of the current UK becomes independent, they need a counter-balance even if it’s just to rip it off. The Peak District, Cumbria, Wales and a lot of the SW are also fairly sparsely populated, I think of the places that are occupied by thriving communities in Norway and I balk when someone on the BBC suggests Inverness is remote!

    Consider the world: with an equitable distribution of wealth it could easily support 9 billion people, without an equitable distribution the number goes down, the worse the gap the less it can support because of the richness of the uber-rich and the fat middle. I’m not talking a return to subsistence farming either.

    A country is no less susceptible to such an equation. England is overcrowded because it is an inequitable society. Though I fundamentally disagree that Scotland should be a role model, it will, whether I like it or not, be seen as one.

    I can supply references for the support of 9 billion, it was a New Scientist article a few years ago. It’ll take a while to find, that’s all.

  143. braco says:

    Caroline Corfield.
    Absolutely true. Never understood all this ‘England is full up’ rubbish when the councils in the north are busy demolishing derelict and unlived in housing stock.

    England is not the ‘south east’ alone and Scotland is not just ‘the central belt’. Development and growth requires an equitable share of the wealth it generates in order to be sustainable.

    Nice post, thanks.

  144. lumilumi says:

    @ Chic McGregor above (3.56pm)

    I sort of get your doom scenario but I don’t get the overpopulation thing.

    England isn’t overpopulated. Parts of England are sparsely populated. OK, London and maybe a couple of other areas have high population densities but it’s nowhere near the population densities in some big world cities (New York, Hong Kong and the like) or rurally nowhere near rural Netherlands or Belgium or northern Germany.

    Finland is a very underpopulated country (look at a map) but hubs like Helsinki, Tampre and Oulu are having housing crises (that’s what we Finns call rising house prices. Not economic recovery but a housing crises.)

    The problem is to spread the economic activity countrywide instead of a dark star like London sucking in everything.

    One of the UK problems is nimbyism. The rich move out of overcrowded London (or Edinburgh/Glasgow or other urban centres) to a lovely village where they have a big garden and uniterrupted rural views. So they don’t want anybody else to do what they did because those newcomers, especially if they are council housers (i.e. “poor”), would spoil the view.

    This results in a planning war. More housing is needed, and not just for the rich but for everybody, and more infrastructure (roads, rail links) are needed.

    Agricultural land is needed for food production, people want to have parks and the urban idea of “unspoiled nature” at their doorstep.

    They don’t actually want unspoiled nature when they see what it really looks like up close: all a bit too messy and uncontrollable. They want wide footpaths and the real forest safely fenced out.

    I’m a trekker and take everything nature throws at me as something I have to adapt to, not control. I think the world would be a better place if more people thought that way.

    I love the Scottish right to roam and wild camp. Basically, it’s the same “everyman’s right” that all the Nordic countries have.

    Need you ask why Norwegian/Danish/Swedish/Finnish trekkers prefer to come to Scotland in stead of England/Wales. They know that in Scotland they can trek and wild camp like at home. In England a lord might shoot them.

  145. Jamieboy says:

    An excellent article explaining the appeal of UKIP but sadly followed by some jibberish comments started by one saying UKIP AKA BNP from Drew. Steady please,as George Orwell said the English don’t do fascism they find the funny walks in jackboots hilarious.Fear not as history indeed supports this. No UKIP are tapping into a latent searing discontent for a Political/ Media class of self interest that believes in nothing but furthering it’s own interests and feeds of each other using code like language. The politicians cannot cope with a man who, whatever your views ( and mine are unsupportive)talks in simple non political speak words that people like to hear.And please spare all this elitist nonsense of the Scots being so nice and liberal and English being more racist etc. Race is an issue there because there are more people of different ethnic origin than milky white Scotland. Why are they getting packed halls and people talking? The same as Yes Scotland is kicking ass and creating the biggest political upheaval since the war. The establishment here is different more labour dominated but the reaction the same – like rabbits in headlights.

  146. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Race is an issue there because there are more people of different ethnic origin than milky white Scotland.”

    Nice try, but not in Bath there aren’t. It makes Scotland look like Jamaica.

  147. Calum Craig says:

    @Jamieboy, my Japanese wife says she feels far more comfortable in Scotland than in England- said she is made to feel like a foreigner and reminded it all the time down south. She has even been told in a disagreement “this is not your country”.

  148. CameronB says:

    Jamieboy
    I’m not wanting to gang up on you, but I think it might be more accurate to say the English didn’t use to do fascism. The last 30-40 years has seen a steady global drift to the right. Thatcher was supplying arms to Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, for pity sake. Extra judicial murder is now a regular occurrence, due to the indiscriminate use of drones. The world is facing a resurgence of fascism and England has not escaped that pressure.

  149. CameronB says:

    P.S. The S.A.S. then training the Khmer Rouge how to use these weapons, as well as insurgency techniques (terrorism).This is the same Khmer Rouge that murdered between 1.17 and 3.42 million of the fellow countrymen and women.

  150. CameronB says:

    P.P.S. Here are two military campaigns to check out, Operation Gladio and Operation Cyclone (the effects of both are still impacting on civil liberties and human rights today).

  151. Australia “sometimes bordering on murderous”?

    Inciting racial hatred much? Also, learn about why people were drowning trying to get into Australia under the, er, former government’s policy, before making statements like this.

  152. Liam says:

    Looks to have the demographic of a Better Together meeting, even if about 700 times more in attendance.

  153. Jamieboy says:

    Calum
    Good that your wife feels welcome here. It is a very tolerant country but don’t take her to a celtic v rangers game, (if there is ever another one)

    Cameron
    Moving to the right certainly but do not equate this with fascism which does not suit the needs of the elite nor capitalIsm . The present liberal market economy and politcal servants from labour/tory does this perfectly well. Facism has no support amongst English working class

  154. CameronB says:

    Jamieboy
    You may well be right. I can’t disagree as I haven’t lived in England for almost 30 years now.

    I was thinking more in terms of the apparent realisation of Disraeli’s ‘One Nation’ i.e. a coming together of the aristocrats and industrialists, in order to prevent workers improving their circumstances. This was how F. D. Roosevelt described fascism.

  155. Calum Craig says:

    @Jamieboy, don’t worry, she would never come to a football game with me (I have offered)! I personally wouldn’t ever go to an Old Firm game either…

  156. Tom Webster says:

    The article itself was both sobering and thought provoking. In the comments there are a few worrying assumptions. The first was a fear of ‘Telegraph reading English’ living in Scotland as No voters. (Similar to remarks about Daily Mail readers.)

    Firstly, people born and bred in Scotland also purchase and sometimes even believe those papers. Secondly, I am English, have been living here for donkeys years and been pro-independence (a stronger version than the SNP line) from the start. It is dangerous to talk in general about England’ or ‘the English’, particularly in assuming a more natural support for UKIP or, for that matter for the ConDems. There has been much opposition to the austerity programme south of the border, plenty of counter-demos at BNP and EDL demos there too.

    Similarly, it is dangerous to get too confident about the absence of racism in Scotland. It was hard work getting people to disown BNP when they had a candidate in Livingston; despite it being very much a place predominantly white, we still got people complaining about ‘immigrants’ taking over. At the very least, recognise there are many Tory MSPs and it has taken hard work to work against BNP and then SDL. It was wonderful to see Farage off the premises when he came to Edinburgh but it was mostly people connected with RIC and Uncut who turned out.

    To make sure UKIP don’t get any success in the European election it would be foolish to take it for granted. What worked against BNP was not identifying them as racist but drawing attention to other comments and other policies. When you talk to people with sympathy for UKIP as an apparent ‘protest vote’ it is far more effective to draw their attention to their policies on taxation (the opposite of a redistributive system) and their intentions towards education and the NHS.

  157. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Tom Webster: welcome! But post another comment that I have to twat around inserting PARAGRAPH BREAKS into and nobody will get to enjoy any more of your very worthwhile insights.

  158. Chic McGregor says:

    Lumi

    Of course England has rural areas, but the existence of rural areas does not mean it isn’t over populated. It has the highest population density (more than a thousand per square mile) of any country in Europe apart from Malta which is rather an extreme anomaly (imagine Arran with the city of Edinburgh put on it.) England has one of the highest population densities in the World and it is not located in three crops a year latitudes.

    Even with intense farming it can only supply about half the food it needs. It, in the jargon, does not have food security.

    In economic terms we are talking about an in built trade deficit of around £30 billion per year for food and drink. That is a net thirty billion grocery bill that has to be paid for before they can even start paying for anything else.

    Of course, while there is a degree of global stability and freedom of trade, in theory the extra people can be used to produce goods which can then be traded for food.

    But there is a couple of increasingly problematic considerations there. First, the World is palpably becoming less stable, threatening trade and food supply. Second, if you cannot have self-generated food security, the next best thing is at least have the capacity to generate a surplus of genuine wealth, things for which others will be willing exchange food.

    But genuine wealth creation is not what UK PLC has been about, not since the time of Thatcher’s monetarist madness and her de-industrial revolution.

    The financial sector in London, although it obtains wealth in the form of money, is not in itself a genuine wealth creation operation. It is a wealth acquisition rather than creation operation and is one which is extremely vulnerable. It could disappear virtually over night. And with insufficient genuine wealth creation capability, that makes for a much more frightening, but realistic, prospect, should World instability become intense.

    OTOH, if England got its population down to around 30 million, it would have food security, albeit perhaps with rationing of some items if things do go belly up.

    It would also not have the massive in built economic deficit to overcome which it has. In short, it would be less dependent on other nations either for food or other resources and would not have to rely on a financial sector which only exists by a largess of others and which could disappear very quickly.

    England PLC would simply be much more viable with a population of 30 million rather than 55 million.

    That is what I mean by it being overpopulated.

    There is a growing concern in Westminster over the matter of food security, although there is virtually nothing about it in the MSM – yet.

    And it hasn’t factored at all in the referendum debate even though the loss of Scotland in that area is probably of greater concern to them than the loss of oil.

    The problem is, there is no way to reduce a population quickly and acceptably. It would take a hundred years or more to get their population down to where it is resource sustainable.

    In other words, it is not a problem that is going to go away.

  159. morgan mc says:

    UKIP are against the EU because it has become a threat to national sovereignty.They are also against the EU because of its racist and xenophobic immigration policy. That favours europeans for jobs goods and services over the rest of the world.

    Eu policy on non EU immigration is to have No free movement, visa/work permit and limit in numbers, no entitlement to benefits for five years and no right to permanent settlement either until after that time frame. It dictates that policy from Brussels . Which is why Westminster targets non EU for their reduction in numbers.

    So when Ukip makes a play on why should the Commonwealth and rest of the world be discriminated against by EU policies.They are right. The whole of Europe should join the rest of the world in requiring a work permit, skills, and visa to enter this country.Socialist Cuba requires a work permit and visa to enter. Switzerland, Canada et al likewise.
    Here is what the EU thought about the rest of the world and the existensial threat asia, africa posed in its 2012 enlargememt video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WQREDQjfzC4

  160. Will Podmore says:

    CameronB writes, “The Union is a machine designed to extract as much wealth to London …” Is that why Scotland’s output per head has recently improved compared to Britain as a whole? Scotland is not exploited by ‘London’. Scotland is not a colony.
    Instead of arguing that a region extracts wealth, you should look at the class relationships involved – capitalists (wherever they are based) exploit workers (wherever we work).



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