NIGEL Farage today told Scots that Ukip is the real party of independence in Scotland - and predicted many SNP voters will join the Brexit camp for the forthcoming referendum in May.
The Ukip leader was in Edinburgh this morning to launch the party’s Scottish Parliament election manifesto said his party is ready to “shake up” the established order at Holyrood.
Ukip’s plans include proposals to axe the number of Scottish government ministers and end “indoctrination” of pupils through political propaganda in the classroom.
“We are the independence party in Scotland,” Mr Farage said as he joined Scottish Ukip leader David Coburn.
Mr Farage added: “There’s a huge mythology about attitudes in Scotland - the view that is put out by Nicola Sturgeon - that you think everybody in Scotland thought the European Union was wonderful, that issues like open door immigration were a non-political issue in Scotland.
“Our job in Ukip is to blow apart those arguments.”
The SNP wants to stay in the EU. Mr Farage said social attitude surveys show that the way the majority of Scots feel on immigration is “desperately close” to the way the majority of English people feel.”
A poll this week by TNS suggested overwhelming support among Scots for staying in the EU in the forthcoming referendum, while the situation south of the border is more divided. But Mr Farage believes the gap north of the border will close in the months ahead aas the debate develops.
“I think frankly that’s because we haven’t had the debate. All the parties in Scotland have been pro-European union and nobody has been challenging the nonsense that’s been put out, particularly by the so called Nationalists.
“I say so called Nationalists because I couldn’t look at myself in the shaving mirror and call myself a Nationalist if I wanted Scotland to be governed from Brussels. It doesn’t make any sense.
“There’s only one independence party in British politics. There’s only one independence party in Scottish politics and what we’re fighting for is to get some voices in Holyrood.”
He added that leaving the EU would see Holyrood get more powers as responsibility over fishing and agriculture are transferred from Brussels to Edinburgh.
“I still firmly believe that once we have a proper debate in Scotland about what membership of the European Union actually means for the United Kingdom and for Scotland, I think there’s a really quite interesting segment of the SNP vote that could in that referendum vote for us to leave.
“If you believe in independence at any level. Even if you believe in Scotland being separated from the United Kingdom, the first step towards that meaning anything is that you have to leave the European Union.”
Mr Farage said Ukip is looking to make a “breakthrough” at the Holyrood elections to “get some people elected who are not content to go along with the PC flow, who are happy to provide a voice of opposition, who are unafraid to stand up and be controversial by going against the direction that the mainstream is currently going in.”
Ukip’s proposals for Scotland include an overhaul of income tax bands as Scotland takes control of this. A new 30 pence intermediate for people earning £45,300 to £55,000 would be created. The higher rate will be reduced to 40 pence and apply to everyone earning over £55,000. The current top rate of 45 pence only applies to people earning over £150,000.
The number of Scottish ministers would be cut back and only cover devolved issues, meaning portfolios like external affairs currently held by Humza Yousaf would be axed. The controversial named persons scheme would be axed, along with the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act which was introduced to end sectarian singing at grounds.
The smoking ban would be relaxed with the introduction of smoking rooms in pubs, while the drink drive limit, recently cut in Scotland, would be brought back in line with the 80mg UK level to allow people to “head down their local pub for a pint.”