There’s a vote happening in Scotland this year, in case you’d forgotten. It’s not really been covered in the Scottish media nor have any of Scotland’s political parties really bothered to do any campaigning. The sole reason I and probably anyone else is aware it’s even happening is that Nigel Farage’s coupon has been on the telly even more than it normally is. The disproportionate fawning coverage of Engurland’s favourite smoking racist still hasn’t ever translated into electoral support in Scotland. Despite strong results in by-elections and local elections south of the border last year, they still always lose their deposit when they try to stand in Scotland – not to mention the various times they’ve been chased off the streets. Last week, an ICM poll in the Scotsman suggests voting intention for UKIP in the forthcoming Euro elections stands at around 10%, within striking distance of gaining an MEP.
There are many reasons for this which deserve a more thorough examination, we’ve looked previously at why a total failure by radicals to offer a critique of Europe leaves an open goal for xenophobes and bigots. But thorough examinations and critiques are quite boring because they don’t involve raiding through people’s bins and passing on scurrilous gossip about bigoted baddies. The terrifying thought that Scotland could be just another part of the UK where voters are electing a UKIP candidate seems like the opportune moment to dish the dirt on the man who’d end up getting a massive allowance from Brussels to never attend a Parliament he’s apparently against – a parliament which has little mandate to do anything and is certainly unlikely to vote for its own abolition.
With former and current senior members of the Scottish party having (in no particular order): denied the holocaust, argued for the introduction of racial segregation, called Scots “subsidy junkies”, said that HIV+ people should be quarantined, blogged about how disabled people should be put in camps and been embroiled in the Westminster expenses scandals, it must be pretty hard picking a suitable candidate.
It was also very confusing for UKIP’s Scottish members being sent a ballot paper with 9 candidates on it, when 6 of them had already dropped out, including then Scottish President, Lord Monkton. An angry letter was written to the National Chair, denouncing the selection process. When former Scottish chair, Paul Henke, passed it to the Sunday Herald, he was issued with “a fatwa” (no, really), suspending him from the party for…A HUNDRED YEARS. He took the party to court, forcing them to pay him £30,000 in costs. He has since been told he can come back despite rather less than a hundred years having elapsed.
At various points in the debacle, the entire Scottish Committee was closed down, there were resignations, sackings and the kind of intrigue that’s really quite disproportionate to being in a party who’ve struggled to get 4% at the polls.
The net result of all this was hand-picked, London-based, Farage loyalist, David Coburn being selected. The London Regional Organiser has been hard at work, getting to grips with Scottish customs, aided by keen Scots. On a trip to Aberdeen, Coburn was introduced to the tradition of having a bottle of ginger poured over his wee racist head.
Assisting Coburn in his North Britain recon mission is interim UKIP Scotland Chair, Arthur Misty Thackeray. Misty hit the headlines recently when a series of his rants ended up in the Herald, thanks to perennial UKIP Hunter, Paul Hutcheon. They included his musings about how Catholicism was based on “fascist ideology” and bemoaning the “suffocating culture of anti-loyalism” in Glasgow, which is of course best symbolised by Glasgow City Council…or as Misty likes call them “Gays, Catholics and Communists.”
David Coburn is certainly settling in well, in fact it seems Glasgow (and the Council in particular) presents him with the opportunity to continue his life’s crusade on the issue Scottish voters definitely care most about – the relentless march of the gay agenda. Considering he once ended a column for Pink News by suggesting readers invite him round for “a coffee” so he could show them what a massive gay he is, Coburn’s obsession with endorsing the homophobic bigotry of his party has become his rather bizarre calling card. Our Council, which last year was told by the organisers of Glasgow Pride NOT to fly the rainbow flag due to their lack of support for the event/LGBT* people in general, apparently has a responsibility to dispel the perception it’s some kind homo-supremacist cult. Our many and varied criticisms of the council aside, it’s not clear why the Council should have to address a “perception” which seems to exist only in the mind of Coburn’s pal Misty.
Not content with just having a go at the Council, Coburn repeated his support for homophobic discrimination by declaring Equal Marriage was just “rubbing people’s noses in it.” A keen campaigner against the “authoritarianism” of the state not dictating the gender of who can and can’t get married, he’s become somewhat of a poster child for homophobes the world over. To be honest, I only know of the guy because I once saw him described in two words that haunted me to this day, as a “moderate homosexual.” Spine chilling.
A man who lives by his principles, he’s argues for a crackdown on immigration, which would have been a bit inconvenient for Coburn back in 1993 when he encouraged international students to come to Britain and study at his language school. The school went bust, leaving many students thousands of pounds out-of-pocket. Coburn blamed the first Gulf War for him having taking loads of tuition fees from people coming into Britain (which he’s dead against) and for him not paying any rent.
He’s become so popular amongst the Scottish UKIP faithful that they held a big party on the day he was due to launch his Euro candidacy….in another location, starting 90 minutes beforehand, as a massive fuck you to the “hardline” Farage loyalist who had been parachuted in.
As fascinating as all this is, it’s important to remember what’s driving all this. If you want to break anything down, the old adage that you should follow the money rings particularly true here. There is one million quid at stake – that’s how much an MEP can expect to make in salary, expenses and extras over the term of the European Parliament. For a million quid, it’s no wonder the selection process resembled an archetypal reality TV show – a bunch of bigots clawing each other’s eyes out for a chance to hop aboard the gravy train for a few minutes. What is it UKIP are so against again?
A quick look over the previously elected UKIP MEPs, including Godfrey “Bongo Bongo land” Bloom (sacked/started his own party), Tom Wise (embezzled loads of cash) Robert Kilroy Silk (sacked/started his own party), suggests we could just end up paying a million pounds to some random tadger who used to be pals with Nigel Farage.
That’s the most galling thing really. Electing this roaster bigot won’t make Europe more democratic or take power back from the political and financial elite; it’ll just mean a million quid is paid to some guy who’ll spend the next four years of his life making increasingly obscene statements to media outlets in an attempt to make a name for himself, until he’s eventually fired/starts his own party, just like every other UKIP politician since the dawn of time; another distraction for the rest of the Westminster club to point at and say “at least we’re not UKIP” as they lurch ever further to the right.
Being in the European Parliament doesn’t mean he’ll get to implement the racist housing policies he’s supported in London nor will he have any say on who can and who can’t get married. Jetting around Europe arguing against freedom of movement won’t stop immigration nor will filling his boots with our tax make him some kind of defender of the working people.
We can only hope the media’s favourite party doesn’t sweep the Euro elections and fight hard to make sure Scotland doesn’t return Mr. David Coburn but with so much uncritical coverage being given to the drinking man’s politician, Nigel Farage, it’s likely various roasters will be swept in on his coat tails, bagging themselves tidy sums for being Eurocrats/social media bigots. Scotland isn’t resistant to these ideas and we need to shake this view that we’re totally different to the rest of the UK when it comes to immigration or gay rights – we need to actually win these arguments, not act like we already have.
We also need to put forward a fundamentally different idea of what Europe could be, aside from an anti-democratic, deregulated, race to the bottom which allows corrupt businessmen like Coburn to steal from foreign students and not teach them languages and run an “international freight forwarding business” while opposing freedom of movement in Europe. There is exactly zero connection between wanting a radical transformation of Europe and being a knuckle dragging racist, so why leave the terrain open to the Kippers?
Now is not the time to pat ourselves on the back about how we’ll hopefully get to run away from the Britain of UKIP and the Tories forever in September, we need to show Farage’s little skelper that the poisonous politics of racism, homophobia and bigotry represented by UKIP, have no place in Scotland. If you can muster the enthusiasm, then I guess it’s probably our job to encourage you to get to the polls because we can’t miss any opportunity to stick it to this mob but for fear of being branded a “moderate homosexual”, there are other more direct tactics which you could employ.
If you’ve received one of UKIP’s racist leaflets, why not post it back to them at their expense? You could include a wee letter, explaining exactly what you think of them or maybe a really long list – 1000 things I hate about U(KIP), ideally carved into a stone tablet (they‘re paying the postage after all!) In the unlikely but still terrifying event that we end up with a Nigel of the North being elected, we might as well get some trolling bang for our buck.
Do we really want to make David Coburn a millionaire?
Answers on a very heavy postcard.
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I met a UKIP voter. He held them in complete contempt- but hated the other parties slightly more.
A “moderate homosexual”? So he doesn’t inhale…?