NEW YORK -- Nigel Farage has accused Alex Salmond of “stirring up anti-English hatred” and "excessive nationalism" ahead of next week’s referendum of Scottish independence.
Speaking on MSNBC on Wednesday morning, Farage reacted to a question about an incident in Edinburgh in May in which demonstrators surrounded the Ukip leader, shouting “go home” and "you can stick your Union Jack up your arse!" Farage quipped: “It was horrible. The police locked me in a pub for my own safety."
Offering a more staid assessment, the Ukip leader said: "A sensible degree of nationalism is a good, healthy thing – we feel as though we belong to something, we respect something - but excessive nationalism is really very dangerous, and Salmond has stirred up amongst 16 to 24-year-old Scots a kind of anti-English hatred and it’s pretty unpleasant."
On travelling to Scotland for next week’s referendum, Farage told Morning Joe he had “no doubt” he would be in for a “rough time”. The Ukip chief, who is to stand in the Thanet South seat at the next general election, also decried the ‘Better Together’ campaign as “lame” and “led by career politicians who are dull characterless”.
Farage did concede that Salmond, by comparison, is a “personality”, adding: "He's a real guy and people connect with him. I think the ‘Better Together’ campaign has been very weak.”
However, equal vitriol was aimed at the ‘Yes’ campaign and the SNP leader in particular. "Having an independence referendum Salmond wants to break from Westminster, yet he wants Scotland to be part of the European Union so he really doesn’t want independence at all," said Farage.
When questioned on how a ‘Yes’ vote would affect the daily life of Scots, Farage said that the “economic sums” Salmond is peddling “don’t add up”.
“I believe in national self determination, so if Scotland wants to be independent that’s fine, but I think they’re being sold a pig in a poke. They’re being told they can be independent and be members of the European Union – if you’re a member of the EU, their courts are supreme over yours. It really is a false proposition.”
In the short term Farage said there would be very little change, but “down the road” Scotland would face “very serious economic problems”.
“The welfare costs in Scotland are huge. Well over 50% of people in Scotland are living on benefits of some kind and I don’t see a very left-wing leader – and Salmond is a very left-wing leader, basically a former communist – he is not pro-business, he is not pro de-regulation and I don’t think Scotland would be very competitive.”
On the currency debate, Farage said that for Salmond to rejoin the European Union “which is his stated aim” he would have to “sign a treaty that would commit him to joining the Euro”.
“If you’re in the Euro, you don’t control your own economic and monetary policy… so he’s not offering them [the Scots] any genuine form of independence.”
Speaking to the HuffPost UK, SNP MSP Linda Fabiani called Ukip's support for 'Better Together' an "embarrassment to the 'No' campaign".
She said: "Nigel Farage's party is the embodiment of isolationism and intolerance - in stark contrast to the open, outward-looking, welcoming vision we have for Scotland as an independent country in the European Union. The danger of the No vote which UKIP wants Scotland to cast is that we could be ripped out of the EU against out will by a Westminster in/out referendum."
Farage, who is currently on a trip to the US, appeared on Fox News on Tuesday evening, telling Sean Hannity that Britain should combat ISIS with "Judeo-Christian" values. "They [the radical Islamists] mean it," Farage told Hannity. "They’re not playing around… and a lot of this is our fault. We have been too weak. My country is a Judeo-Christian country… so we’ve got to start standing up for our values".
Labour's shadow Scottish secretary, Margaret Curran, has hit out at the co-ordinated "misogynistic" abuse she has received from some supporters of Scottish independence, as the latest polls suggest the outcome of the referendum is on a knife edge.
In an interview with The Huffington Post on Wednesday, Curran said she was concerned about some of the "division" in Scottish society that the campaign had created. "I have personally experienced a level of personal abuse that I have never had in all my years in politics," she said.