Oh dear, that didn't work out well... Or it went perfectly to plan if you believe what some people are saying...
Nigel Farage visited Edinburgh (curiously) to promote the UKIP candidate for the Aberdeen Donside by-election taking place 160 miles away, it seems their candidate for the Aberdeen constituency - lives in Edinburgh - that'll be handy for surgeries, perhaps they'll Skype?
Some commentators think this was an agent provocateur-inspired move, Farage must have known the reaction would be less than welcoming in a predominantly luvvy-lefty Edinburgh, or perhaps not. Perhaps in their hubris on the back of gains in the English council elections, they thought it could be translated to gains in Scotland? (If so, boy did they get that wrong.)
I mean, no one up here is at all bothered about Scotland being dragged back to Thatcherite times, or of having an even less representative government at Westminster looking after our interests, or should that be our interests on their behalf. I'm not suggesting UKIP are a shower of racist thugs, they're not even close to being on the same page as the BNP - they do have some pretty regressive policies though, not limited to:
Increasing defence spending by 40%
Tripling Border Agency staff (so up to 1 million people can be deported annually)
Scrapping Human Rights legislation
Workfare for all benefit claimants (inc those on council tax benefit, so including the infirm and disabled.)
MSP's, Welsh AM's and (in time) Northern Irish MLA's to be replaced with the sitting Westminster MP's.
They would also like to withdraw completely from the EU and have a relationship based on trade only which on the surface makes sense but as usual, isn't as simple as it sounds, (these things never are...)
The group which met Nigel on Edinburgh's High Street, forcing him to take shelter in a pub (The Cannon's Gait, its really quite nice) was from Radical Independence Scotland - a pro-independence Socialist group. They had a quick whip round on Facebook and as many as 20 (I know!) chanted various words like 'scum' or 'you can stick your Union Jack (sic) up your arse'.
That last suggestions had Nigel particularly exercised, he was heard saying some time later this was racist and anti-English. However, the Union Flag (or Jack if you prefer) isn't England's flag, its the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain - of which Scotland is a part - so its our flag too; were the protesters also anti-Scottish? I suppose they might have been because there is nothing to suggest those doing the shouting were all Scottish anyway, let alone Indy supporters or SNP voters. Radical Independence is a socialist group and while my political acumen is ropey, anyone in the British Isles hoping to have a government with even the merest sensation of a socialist agenda isn't going to get it from Westminster.
Nigel also suggested that if this was the face of Scottish nationalism then; '... it is a pretty ugly nation.' He then branded the mob 'fascist scum'. Other right-wing UKIP flavoured people on Twitter (which is still a foreign land to me) tweeted comments in a similar vein. Many went on to lament the death of free speech, naively forgetting that if you're in the minority - which Farage was in this case - a mob tends to trump free speech. It is also a deeply ironic point to make since Scottish voters have been in the minority at Westminster for 300 years and it never seemed to matter. Although Farage doesn't sit in Westminster (yet,) if he ever managed it - Scotland's voice would be diminished to a point where it would be invisible to the naked eye. Of course, that doesn't occur to those for which the union has worked all these years.
Of course its all bullshit, this isn't about Yes versus No, its about Right versus Left. Scotland sits slightly to the left of the rest of the UK (which is why the Tories are hated and UKIP shunned north of the border.) The group which harangued the hapless Farage are a Socialist group which happens to support Scottish self-determination, there the link ends. Despite what the mainstream media might say, this wasn't some top secret mission by Yes Scotland to defame English political intent, I mean why would they knowing the reaction it would get in the press?
A lot of people are displeased about the welcome Nigel got in Edinburgh, while its not my cup of tea, I can't help but be secretly amused (although not so secretly so now.) There was no violence (despite press reports and hysterical tweets from UKIP personnel) and no arrests were made, it seems to me, a large part of the 'Edinburgh Mob' consisted of photographers.
As far as free speech goes, I feel certain if George Monbiot turned up in a right wing stronghold he'd find himself taking shelter in a pub (or possibly an organic farm shop if one was available) and being taken away in police van - such arguments about free speech are rendered moot.
In the meantime, it'll be interesting to see how Edinburgh Businessman Otto Inglis does for UKIP in the Aberdeen Donside By-election - something tells me they'd have been better off going to the pub with their deposit...
Oh, hold on...