Comment: Coburn and Ukip have new responsibility

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Ukip’s first Scottish MEP, David Coburn, can rightly argue people knew exactly what they were getting when they put the X in the box next to his party last Thursday.

Party leader Nigel Farage, after all, has never been one to shy away from the odd detail-light attention-grabbing comment or controversial views.

Mr Coburn’s comments today then that we should deal with the skills shortage in Scotland not by pursuing sensible immigration policy but by simply “having more kids” should come as no surprise.

They may not be surprising but they are shocking nonetheless.

For such words to come from the lips of an elected representative rather than the candidate in a fringe party is certainly something which will take a bit of getting used to.

It is evidence, if needed, of how thin the populist rhetoric has been until now – and a clear sign that this election should be a massive wake-up call.

It has sounded an alarm firstly for the mainstream parties which have to acknowledge and act upon the clear message which voters have sent.

And it is also a timely reminder to Ukip that if it wants to move from the fringes to become a real political force then back of the Farage fag packet policy is not going to cut it any longer.

Mr Coburn is going to have to be prepared for the same level of scrutiny which our other elected representatives endure and be able to back up his statements with well-reasoned logical argument.

It is difficult to see how ridiculous comments such as the ones we report on today can be justified or turned into coherent policy but we would certainly be interested to find out.

Of course, a week ago no-one would have batted an eyelid nor indeed bothered to delve any deeper.

Now he is elected, he and his party have a new responsibility whether they like it or not.