Nigel Farage: Ukip cut out of independence debate

UKIP leader Nigel Farage at his Edinburgh press conference last month. Picture: Jane Barlow
UKIP leader Nigel Farage at his Edinburgh press conference last month. Picture: Jane Barlow
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LOOKING at the quality of debate in Scotland ahead of the forthcoming referendum on ‘Independence’ it’s no real surprise that the Establishment want to exclude UKIP from the debate, writes Nigel Farage.

It means there can be a campaign run without the inconvenience of highlighting how neither side want real independence; either for Scotland or the United Kingdom.

What Salmond and his ‘yes’ side won’t admit is that independence from Westminster won’t mean a mass of decision making gets handed to Holyrood. Rather, that the pro EU party will have to enter negotiations for Scotland to enter the EU and as with all recent entrants, agree to sign up to the single currency. It’s a subject which he is desperate to avoid talking about, preferring instead to paper over the cracks of constitutional changes.

And what ‘Better Together’ won’t admit is that even if the Scots vote to remain in the United Kingdom, which I sincerely hope they do, most of our laws will still be made in Brussels and Strasbourg.

The apple cart would truly be upset if all four parties who support EU membership: the SNP, Tories, Labour and the Lib Dems, had to admit that the whole referendum is rather meaningless without an additional referendum on our EU membership. And that’s the driving force behind Better Together’s reason for excluding UKIP.

I am all for power being returned to the people. UKIP championed local referenda in the recent English County Council elections and it was a policy which struck a chord with the voters, 25 per cent of whom voted for us. But what neither side is admitting - and the SNP in particular - is that independence within the EU is an illusion.

Looking at the current political landscape it’s hard to imagine that once a centre right unionist party held the majority of seats in Scotland. The fact that there are more giant pandas in Scotland than Tory MPs show how far the party has fallen. But I don’t think it means that there is no support for the kind of policies of the right such as a smaller state and greater individual liberties which UKIP champion.

Following the attacks on me by the far left in Edinburgh I have received huge amounts of support from Scottish people apologising for the behaviour of that out of touch minority. There certainly is room for UKIP in Scottish politics, they wrote, and polls for the Aberdeen Donside by election show that we are rising up the opinion polls despite the desperate attempts by the other parties to exclude us from the debate.

I believe that the future of the UK is as an independent country making her own rules and trading with the rest of the world. An amicable divorce from the EU would leave the nations able to undertake a proper debate on how this island is governed rather than a smoke and mirrors debate which is currently being held.

One thing is for sure and that is the facade of Salmond speaking for all of Scotland is quickly coming apart.

• Nigel Farage is the leader of the UK Independence Party (Ukip)