David Coburn Leadership Bid: ‘We Mustn’t Become EDL-Lite’
Scottish UKIP Leader David Coburn MEP (pictured above) has launched his bid to become leader of the national party with a thinly veiled attack on one of the other candidates.
Calling for the members to select a ‘tried and tested performer’, Mr. Coburn pointed to his string of candidacies in parliamentary, European and local elections, where he became in 2014 the first ever UKIP MEP in Scotland. He was also the author of the last two UKIP Scottish manifestos.
Mr. Coburn was highly critical of this years UK General Election manifesto, saying it had been written at short notice and was ‘ill-thought out’. He was particularly critical of the proposed burka ban and said that the party needed to get back in touch with its libertarian founding principles. He cautioned against a change of direction towards the right, saying that UKIP ‘mustn’t become EDL-Lite’. He said that himself and Nigel Farage had spent ’20 years attempting to de-toxify the party’ and that all that work would be undone if the wrong candidate were to be elected.
He highlighted his skills as a fundraiser and as a media performer. In Scotland, having appeared in all the leaders debates on ITV and BBC over the last few years, Coburn enjoys a profile bigger than anyone else except Nigel Farage from UKIP. However, his quirky, eccentric style has sometimes attracted criticism that he has been under prepared for debates and there have been some, unsuccessful, attempts to remove him as Scottish Leader in the past.
Mr. Coburn is an old-school libertarian and there can be little doubt that he has leadership skills – after all, he is already doing the job. He is an effective MEP but whether he has the all round skillset necessary to reach out beyond the UKIP faithful to the wider general public is something that the membership will have to decide. If elected he would become the first LGBT leader of a major British political party.
Westmonster Dave is the editor of alt-politics.com