Barely a day goes by just now without a UKIP candidate in some part of the country exposing themselves as a raging bigot with a poor grasp of social media privacy settings. Tonight it was the turn of prospective Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Scott Cairns, whose social media outpourings were spotted by freelance journalist Aidan Kerr, with a number of screenshots posted to Twitter in which Cairns boasts of his support for “a fascist regime”, calls Alex Salmond a “silly alcoholic wifebeater”, and accuses “looney lefties” of persecuting him.
Within minutes, Cairns had disabled both his Facebook and Twitter accounts, but not before denying that his Facebook ever belonged to him. Despite it containing thousands of postings and photographs, he said it was a “fake account”, although conveniently it was then deactivated within a matter of minutes. If someone really has been running a fake Facebook account purporting to be Cairns for the past four years, full of inane posts about drinking with his pals and Rangers FC, then hats off to them for their commitment, although it seems unlikely.
Cairns’ Facebook musings included a post from 2012 in which called then First Minister Alex Salmond a “silly alcoholic wifebeater” and a 2013 post in which he revealed that hearing his Gran say “fenian bastards” for the first time was the “greatest thing ever”. Perhaps most explosively, Cairns’ Youtube account – still live at the time of writing – sees him assuming the role of apologist for fascism. Commenting on a video which shows a group of Rangers fans singing in the street, Cairns states “who cares if it was Nazi Salutes you walk down sauchiehall street in glasgow n get bombarded with communist crap so why not support a fascist regime?”
Cairns describes the “fake posts” as a “minor hiccup”, although demands are likely to now grow for UKIP to take action against him. The fact that Cairns immediately blocked those posing questions to him and suddenly deactivated his social media accounts certainly suggests he might actually view it as more more than a “minor hiccup”.
This is far from the first time that an election candidate has provoked major embarrassment for UKIP, who are still trying to convince the country that they’re respectable, mainstream and definitely not racist. In reality, Cairns posts expose the reality of anti-immigration bigotry in Scotland, which has always been grounded in British nationalism and loyalism.
With one eye on the chance that he might actually want to reactivate his Facebook account at some stage in the future, Cairns adds, “I might however in the future create a facebook account as sometimes the pros outweigh the cons in terms of winning support for the campaign”. We’d recommend it – it’s a great way of keeping in touch with friends and family and sharing funny jokes about politics! Maybe keep a closer eye on the privacy settings next time though, Scott.
Voters in Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, and across the UK, will go to the polls on May 7th. Scott Cairns is unlikely to be an MP any time soon.