UKIP Protest: Why it was not justified

Reflections on the Protest against Farage

edinburgh students UKIP

Last Thursday leftists and independence fetishists attacked members of UKIP and their leader, Nigel Farage, forcing them to hide in a pub. UKIP’s antipathy towards immigration and Europe apparently makes them racist, meaning they should be verbally and physically intimidated to prevent them from expressing their views.

The beer must have been a comfort.

The beer must have been a comfort.

This is so unbelievably illogical that it’s embarrassing. Although Little-England fantasies may be objectionable, they are not intrinsically racist. And gathering a rabble to shout ‘Racist scum!’ and ‘Get out of Scotland!’ would not be justified or productive even if the criticisms of UKIP were true.

According to participant Mike Shaw,“the protest served its purpose: it burst Farage’s media bubble and revealed him for the swivel-eyed fool he is”. However, the end of undermining disliked political views does not justify the means of obnoxious aggressive mob-tactics.

Angry mobsters.

Angry mobsters.

Democracy means that individuals and parties can hold whatever opinions they want. Reasoned debate will expose and dismantle incorrect and offensive ideas. Engaging with and challenging opposing views is healthy and commendable. However, harassment and abuse are illegitimate and undemocratic.

Democracy involves even minority opinions having a voice (apparently UKIP are ‘irrelevant’ to Scotland). They’re entitled to their views, and they’re allowed to express these to others. If they’re so irrelevant and offensive, they will recruit no one anyway.

Even UKIP have the right to a badge.

Even UKIP have the right to a badge.

If anyone has been made to look unhinged, it is the protestors who appear to be bad cartoons of students and leftists. Shaw, who was arrested for pouring coke over UKIP’s Scottish leader, commented “we’re already an easy caricature, and are easily discredited as bonkers, extremists, or crusties…we’re not too bothered about our images”.

However, whilst those involved may revel in looking like tools, they have managed to tarnish legitimate positions by association. Uncivilized protest weakens any cause, as it implies that a coherent case cannot be made. Nonsensically squawking ‘working class’, ‘Scotland’ or ‘racism’, only serves to discredit the left and Scottish-nationalism.

Coke-pouring culprit and student, Mike Shaw.

Coke-pouring culprit and student, Mike Shaw.

Likewise, if you represent the university, it does matter if you publicly discredit yourself. Several protestors hold elected positions and their actions and statements are seen to reflect those they ‘represent’. It’s fair to say that most students wouldn’t have endorsed this circus. (Shaw chose not to comment on this)

The unproductiveness of the protest suggests the real motivation. The hyperbolic slogans, exaggerated aggression and manufactured stunts are indicative of immature attention seeking. Maybe image does matter if you get to look controversial and ‘radical’.