NIGEL Farage’s UK Independence Party has entered the contest for a city council seat just a day after the controversial leader was locked in a Capital pub for his own safety as protesters demonstrated outside.
Today, Ukip candidate Jonathan Stanley defended his decision to fight the Liberton/Gilmerton by-election caused by the death of former SNP economic development convener Tom Buchanan.
And the doctor, who lives in Prestonfield but works part-time as a locum at hospitals in England, denied Scotland was alien territory for Ukip.
He said: “We are often seen as an English party, but we are probably one of the most anti-Westminster parties in the UK. We have a political class that is just rotten and doesn’t listen.”
He attacked the trams project as “a giant Scalextric set”, adding: “It doesn’t serve Liberton/Gilmerton, but we’re all paying for it.”
He claimed Ukip’s poor performance in Scotland to date did not mean it could not do well in future. “That’s what they used to say about us in England, but we did brilliantly in the local elections.”
Dr Stanley, 31, said he had been present for part of Mr Farage’s visit to Edinburgh on Thursday when he had to be given a police escort out of the Canons’ Gait pub in the Royal Mile while protesters staged a noisy demo outside. “It was a small, organised hostile crowd,” he said. “It was more about stamping out debate rather than making their own case.”
Mr Farage yesterday hung up during a telephone interview on BBC Radio Scotland when he was pressed on Ukip’s poor showing in Scotland. He said he “sensed similar hatred” in the questions as he had from the demonstration the night before.
Liam O’Hare, a spokesman for the Radical Independence group, said he believed the Ukip movement had been set back several years by the 24 hours surrounding the Royal Mile protest.
The 23-year-old Edinburgh University student said: “It’s been shown that Mr Farage and his type of politics are not welcome at all in Scotland. . It has been a setback for Ukip. They look completely out of touch with the political dynamic in Scotland, which is more welcoming to immigrants and where people want to live in a more just and equal society.”
About 50 protesters swarmed around Mr Farage as he twice tried unsuccessfully to flee the Royal Mile in taxis. Mr O’Hare added: “Mr Farage and his type of politics are constantly designed to shut down the most vulnerable people in society. What Mr Farage saw yesterday was people from all walks of life coming together to vocally oppose that.”
Derek Howie: Scottish National Party
Phil Hunt: Pirate Party Scotland
John Christopher Knox: Scottish Liberal Democrats
Alys Mumford: Scottish Green Party
Stephanie Murray: Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Keith John Robson: Labour and Co-operative Party Candidate
John Scott: Independent
Jonathan Stanley: Ukip Scotland