Despite its rising popularity in England and Wales, the UK Independence Party remains relatively unpopular in Scotland.
It gathered just 2% in the elections for the Scottish parliament in May 2016. In the UK general election, the party failed to gain a seat north of the border.
David Coburn, the leader of UKIP Scotland, believes that is about to change.
Business Insider spoke to Coburn to hear about UKIP’s struggles in a country dominated by a different nationalist party, why he thinks voters are abandoning Labour, and why Nicola Sturgeon isn’t going to be calling a second referendum any time soon.
TC: Why does UKIP struggle so much in Scotland?
DC: I think it’s because there’s another nationalist party here. There are just more parties in the game in Scotland, that’s the trouble. And the press and the media are very, very interconnected with the politicians. They all went to the same schools and universities, they’re all in it together, and they’re desperately keen to keep UKIP out of the picture. They try to present Scotland as being some sort of liberal place that’s so much different from England, which is absolute nonsense.
The SNP try to present Scotland as being some sort of liberal place that’s so different from England, which is absolute nonsense
The Labour party’s views all come from some Highgate intellectual called Karl Marx. The average person in the pebble-dashed Glasgow semi has exactly the same problems as the person in the pebble-dashed semi in Birmingham. There’s no difference at all, they just try to make out that. Scots are not some blessed race, they’re the same as everybody else.
The SNP try to make this out and they try to make out that UKIP is not a Scottish party, which is nonsense. The ideas of UKIP are the ideas of Adam Smith — you don’t get more Scottish than that.
Now that the Labour party has been koshed into the corner, I think people in the UK are going to start experimenting. And I think you’ll find a lot of Labour voters are going to vote for UKIP because they realise that Labour has no chance of getting in, so they’re going to us. I think we’re their first choice now.
TC: Do you think that’s the case in Scotland as well?
When it comes to the reality of work, jobs, currency, mortgages, rent, people wake up and smell the haggis
DC: Very much so. I think there’s going to be a bit of a shock up there. I think you’ll find that people are much keener on us when they’re asked questions but they’re a bit nervous about voting for us. But now they see that Sturgeon has lost her overall majority in Scotland and that the Labour party are completely finished, I think they will start to experiment, and I think they will go for UKIP.
TC: Do you think the consequence of Brexit for Scotland will be a second referendum on independence?
DC: No — Sturgeon wouldn’t dare call another referendum. She’d lose. And lose badly. More people voted to remain in the United Kingdom than voted to remain in the European Union. And people, when they voted to remain in the UK, they knew there was going to be a referendum on Europe, and they knew we’d be voting as a United Kingdom — not as Scotland. So people knew that. Their fox has been shot. I think there’s much less interest in a referendum now because the SNP are simply incapable of governing Scotland.
Sturgeon wouldn’t dare call another referendum. She’d lose
The SNP are being seen more and more as a lot of nonsense. People are often romantically inclined — Bonnie Prince Charlie, and all that sort of stuff — but when it comes to the reality of work, jobs, currency, mortgages, rent, then people wake up and smell the haggis and think, “Woah, hang on wait a minute, this is not good this is not going to go well we’ve got to look after our families.
It’s all very well blowing the bagpipes but let’s get more serious about this. This is our lives, our jobs, our future, we have to think about. The gilt’s come off the gingerbread, quite honestly, and things are not looking good for Sturgeon. It’s downhill all the way from now on. They simply don’t have an answer to the economic case against Scotland separating from England.
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