05 April 2016
I have written the following letter to local newspapers throughout the Highlands.
The people of the Highlands and Islands have elected some outstanding politicians over the years, politicians like Jo Grimond, Winnie Ewing and Charles Kennedy.
In the upcoming Holyrood election, the top name on the UKIP Highlands & Islands list is David Coburn MEP. He made up the UKIP lists for all of Scotland himself so clearly believes this is his best chance of being elected. He has not (at time of writing) said that he will stand down as an MEP if elected.
Coburn has made many embarrassing gaffes since becoming a Member of the European Parliament and has one of the lowest attendance records there. He moved to Edinburgh from Kensington to be elected MEP - he's not said whether he'll move to the Highlands if he becomes an MSP.
If you are minded to give UKIP your second vote due to your feelings on the EU, please think again. You'll have your chance to make that point in the Brexit referendum in June.
You risk lumbering the area with Mr Coburn for five years, taking the place of someone local who would do a good job of representing the Highlands; someone like John Finnie (Greens), David Stewart (Lab), Jean Urquhart (RISE), Jamie Stone (LibDems) or Edward Mountain (Conservatives).
I worry that Coburn might get elected - although UKIP failed to poll over 5% in any of the Highlands & Islands constituencies in last year's General Election, they did poll 12% in the European elections the year before, and that would be enough.
The Highlands has many in the fishing and farming industries who are anti-EU, along with a larger than normal proportion of elderly people many of whom have moved here to retire. I do hope they can keep their anti-EU stance for the upcoming referendum rather than landing us with this buffoon for five years.
David Coburn carried out a Q&A on the STV News Facebook page during which I asked him about his position on retiring as an MSP and moving to the Highlands if elected. He failed to answer or acknowledge either question.