It has been interesting to see the frenzy of media indignation over Nigel Farage being shouted at, booed, heckled, and eventually escorted away by the police when he visited Edinburgh yesterday.
He was supposedly there to drum up support for a UKIP candidate standing in a by-election. But as that by-election is some 180km away in Aberdeen, it seems rather more likely that he was doing his bit to persuade people to vote No in the independence referendum. Why else would he be talking about the Union Jack being "extinguished from Scotland forever"? There's a good selection of links here, and this is a video of it:
Clearly upset by what they thought of him, Nigel Farage called those who told him to go back home "anti-English", "anti-British" and "fascist scum", and the usual media have picked up on that theme with a vengeance, saying how unacceptable it is for a leader of a popular party in England not to be treated with the respect they think he deserves.
What they have not picked up on is that, on the very same day, a Conservative MP interviewed on ITV Wales' Sharp End told us that if a certain politician dared to come to his part of Wales to present a different view on exactly the same subject of the EU, framed in exactly the same terms of English nationalism, people would also protest. In fact he imagined these protests would be so fierce that the politician concerned would, to quote him exactly, "be lucky if he got out alive".
Let's be charitable and assume that Simon Hart was just trying to "big-up" an imagined strength of feeling, and that Carwyn Jones would not actually be lynched, or even suffer any form of physical injury.
However, if what he said had any meaning, it is clear that he at least expected—and would probably condone—the protesters shouting, booing and heckling him to such an extent that the police might be called in to escort him away.
So why is it unacceptable for people to express their feelings against one politician with whom they disagree, but apparently quite acceptable for people with the opposite opinion (in Simon Hart's imagination, at least) to express similar feelings towards a different politician?
And what's the big deal, anyway? People in Scotland certainly don't have time for politicians like Nigel Farage. People in west Wales might well not have much time for politicians like Carwyn Jones. Leaving unpopular politicians with no illusions about what you think of them is a healthy part of democracy.