Of the amusing spectacles this week, watching the television footage of Nigel Farage attracting a robust response from Scottish leftists in Edinburgh probably achieved the greatest and most lasting satisfaction. The absurd Little Englander, who shares with the Clown Mayor an ability to portray extremely nasty views as mere buffoonery, was always likely to be on shaky Caledonian ground, and the poltroon was given the kind of welcome he seldom receives south of the Border.
As usual, it was Alex Salmond who hit the spot with his attack on the Farage bandwagon - about the only thing that I can find in common with Murdoch is a view that Salmond is amongst Britain's most effective politicians.
Farage used a demonstration against his odious views to attempt to extrapolate that all Scottish nationalists are tainted by "excesses" and that they are "deeply unpleasant" - a view that the electorate in Scotland has not exhibited since devolution. As a non-Scot, I did not find the country tainted with a "total and utter hatred of the English" during the years I lived there - a total and utter contempt for the Tories and their right-wing fellow-travellers did not discriminate between home-grown and imported, but it is very difficult to work out which orifice many of Farage's insults emerge from.
The most charitable explanation is that Farage, buoyed by his mid-market tabloid cheerleaders, has acquired the delusion that his far-right ranting is universally popular, and that the loud abuse and attacks are in some way psychically destabilising. The fact that I shall now always call wee Niger "bawbag" is a suitable memorial for the evening. However, it does not constitute "fascism" as he suggested - he is much closer to that suppression of debate and free expression than a loose grouping of political opponents.
Perhaps less reported was his excursion into being interviewed by BBC Radio Scotland - where, when challenged about his lack of knowledge of Scottish politics, he simply hung up.
The "fight when I win, flight when I've been found out" response is typical of the far-right - but it does not provide evidence for UKIP's claim to be a serious force in UK politics. Instead of which he decided to attack the BBC for an "insulting" interview, when it was clear from listening to it that he had been caught with his political trousers down - and instead of any humility or recognition that his ignorance of Scottish politics was a disadvantage he decided to bluster it out.
Salmond's response is textbook - it should be used by all sane leaders across the country. Faced with this evidence, he stated that it would be a "great mistake" to take "somebody of that mentality with any degree of seriousness" - which is both masterful and contemptuous. This has the added bonus score of bringing out Scottish Tory UKIP leanings, an Alex Johnstone who is an unmemorable MSP jumped on the defend-Nigel bandwagon to attack Salmond and further marginalise Cameron.
Farage is a buffoon whose apparent strength derives from tapping into to inchoate resentment - and his risible political party is suffering the incursion of the criminal and fascist elements (one of their Worcestershire County Councillors has already been forced to resign following Islamophobic comments) - and it is countered by both demonstrating that his views are not universally welcomed and through making it clear that he will be opposed. If you express odious views, and harbour those whose knuckles brush the lino, you cannot expect to be welcomed as a conquering hero by anyone capable of rational analysis.
To claim martyrdom for a cause you need to have a definable cause other than self-publicity. Salmond claimed Farage without breaking sweat - so he will return to his delusional past with his tail between his legs. Result.
As a postscript, while watching Channel 4 News last night, this issue prompted intriguing debate including the breaking of cover by a UKIP MEP, Roger Helmer. As a right-wing caricature buffoon Helmer takes some beating - he is the kind of saloon-bar bore who any sane individual wants to avoid, but his breathtaking ignorance of Scotland was second only to his leader's. However, I was motivated to do some digging: Wikipedia - Roger Helmer MEP.
With members like that, UKIP's Nutter Tendency shades into other parts of the far-right - echoes of the Monday Club and the FCS abound.