Interview: What UKIP's David Coburn wants for Kirkcaldy
For Scotland's only UKIP MEP, David Coburn might well stand anywhere.
In an area which has previously seemed like a straight fight between Labour and the SNP, it may seem an odd choice for one of UKIP’s most prominent members.
So why choose Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath?
“It’s a lovely place to live and work,” he says. “That’s where I live.
“It’s got masses of potential, which, quite frankly, is not being brought to the full.
“I see people being overlooked and I’d like to see the atmosphere being better for investment, and that means that taxation must be the same as the rest of the UK.
“We’ve got to be competitive, and that’s something the SNP don’t seem to care about. The fact that they’ve built up a £15bn deficit is just ridiculous.”
And Mr Coburn pulls no punches when it comes to the rival parties in the constituency.
“The Tories did nothing for industry in Kirkcaldy,” he said. “They closed the mines and everything else, and Gordon Brown was there for years, I don’t think he did particularly much. Labour seemed to ignore Kirkcaldy despite him being Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“But then again he sold gold at the bottom of the market.
“Then the SNP took over and it’s been a catastrophe. If you’re wild about running around screaming ‘freedom’ all the time then of course that works for you.”
The High Street is another focus for Mr Coburn.
What changes would he like to see in Kirkcaldy?
“You’ve got to have business rates that are sensible, that encourage the High Street.
“Look at Kirkcaldy High Street; the only growth areas seem to be in vaping shops and charity shops.
“The seafront is just ignored, it’s just this big concrete nothingness with a car park on one side of it. There’s so much you could do with that to make it attractive to holidaymakers.
“It’s insanity to have a beautiful seafront like that and ignore it.”
He turns to Scotland’s economy once more.
“We have to be like Greece.
“Greece has a better financial situation than Scotland’s got. Scotland’s in such a mess with the SNP.
“With a £15bn budget (deficit), the European Union would force us to have massive cuts in everything in order to bring down the budget.”
But Scotland is more in favour of the EU (62 per cent), does that present problems for his party?
“It’s 60/40 per cent in Scotland. Forty per cent is a big minority in Scotland. You’re ten per cent off half.”
That is lower than the 45 per cent minority which voted to be independent from the UK, or the 48 per cent across the UK which wanted to remain in the EU. Does Mr Coburn feel those minorities have a point?
“The thing is, we voted to be part of the UK, and we knew that there was a vote coming up on the EU, and we decided to vote as part of the UK to leave the EU. In Scotland the vote was different, but we voted as the UK.”
UKIP began as a protest to get the UK out of the EU, and with that now being the case, does Mr Coburn feel his party are a spent force?
“Oh no, UKIP’s main cause is taking on the establishment, and we’ve done it very well. We’ve turned the Conservative party more human than they used to be. They’re the party of big business and they don’t care very much about the people, but they’ve had to show they care about the people now.
“Similarly the Labour party are the party of the town hall bureaucrat, and their large pensions and large salaries. Now they’ve had to listen to the people.”
Mr Coburn is also keen to make changes in education.
“This is the town of Adam Smith. Instead of teaching kids socialism and absolute twaddle at schools, let’s teach them about capitalism.
“My programme is jobs, jobs, jobs, and education.
“I want them to be teaching how the Georgian liberal democracy grew. They don’t teach that any more, it’s all Hitler and all sorts of crazy stuff. They should be teaching stuff that people really need to know.”