Where does David Coburn live?

Rory MacKinnon:

Kudos to Edinburgh Eye for a diligent wee investigation. Interesting reading: as they say, either

(a) UKIP parachuted Mr Coburn into Scotland without any real links to the area (which reinforces the popular perception that UKIP has no significant base north of the border) or

(b) Mr Coburn could be getting some unpleasant letters about irregularities in his registration from the Electoral Commission very shortly.

Originally posted on Edinburgh Eye:

Edinburgh is a lovely place to live. (Second on the quality-of-living index for the whole of the UK.) Edinburgh is one of a few cities around the world that are genuinely beautiful.

David Coburn EdinburghDavid Coburn is the list-topper candidate for UKIP in Scotland in the EuroElections on Thursday – Nigel Farage feels “bullish” that Coburn will become one of UKIP’s MEPs after the elections on 22nd May. And, Coburn says, he lives in Edinburgh.

David Coburn was born in Glasgow, and moved to London over twenty years ago: he was working in Kensington in 1993, where he ran the Lexicon School of English, which was dissolved in 1993 by the Companies Registrar after failing to file accounts.

He’s lived in Kensington, W11 at least since 14th August 2006 (from Companies House – he’s been the director of several companies) and he was still living there on 24th April 2014

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Scotland’s UKIP hopeful defends “chummy” deal with Breivik fans; Farage cash-grab “not illegal”

UKIP's Scottish MEP candidate David Coburn (left) seen with party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

UKIP’s Scottish MEP candidate David Coburn (left) seen with party leader Nigel Farage. Photograph: David Cheskin/PA

[Note: this was due for publication in today's Morning Star, 22/05/14. But writing for tabloid newspapers is always an exhausting battle to cram vast amounts of information into a word count shorter than your average takeaway menu, and inevitably stuff gets cut for space. Here's what we wanted to print but couldn't.]

by Rory MacKinnon in Glasgow

UKIP’s bid to bolster its presence in Brussels with a Scottish seat hit the buffers again yesterday after protesters scuppered candidate David Coburn’s hopes for a folksy media event in a Glasgow supermarket.

The Morning Star was there as Shettleston Tesco Extra’s management led Mr Coburn away, heckled by the protesters.

Call centre worker Sam Baxter, who joined the protest, said it was important to confront UKIP wherever it appeared: “They spread racist lies, sit in alliance with fascist parties in Europe, and put forward ideas that harm working class people.”

The party’s allies in Brussels proved a thorny issue for Mr Coburn, whose leader Nigel Farage sought last week to dismiss comments by the alliance’s co-president Francesco Speroni praising Norway’s white supremacist mass murderer Anders Breivik for acting on “ideas [that] are in defence of western civilization”.

Mr Farage, who shares the presidency with Mr Speroni, had insisted his party tried to “draw a line”.

“We will not sit with people who we believe to be on the extremes: we will sit with people who we believe to have a reasonable, balanced point of view,” he said.

When quizzed yesterday, Mr Coburn told the Morning Star that UKIP had “to chummy up with all sorts of strange, weird and wonderful people”.

“In the European parliament in order to get speaking rights, every party whatever they are – the Labour party, the Liberal party, the Conservatives – all have to be in groups with people you wouldn’t want to take home to meet your mother”.

But Mr Coburn appeared unable to explain why UKIP, unlike Britain’s other MEPs, had allied with organisations like Speroni’s Lega Nord.

“There are no other parties,” he said.

Europe of Freedom and Democracy is one of seven active political groupings in the European parliament, with more than 200 parties between them.

Mr Coburn also appeared to falter when asked whether he approved of leader Nigel Farage’s decision to keep wife Kirsten Mehr on his payroll courtesy of parliamentary allowances worth up to £20,000 a year: an activity that the pro-austerity politician infamously listed among “games you could play” to acquire up to £250,000 a year in taxpayer funds.

Yet the European parliament’s officials had ordered MEPs as far back as 2009 to cease the practice in light of a rule change, with all close relatives and partners phased out by the 2014 election.

Mr Coburn initially denied any knowledge of the rules, saying he had “no idea what they are”, before insisting that Mr Farage had acted “according to the rules”.

“The rule is in the next parliamentary term that you’re no longer allowed to. But at this time you are.

“They were allowed to do it and will cease to be allowed to do it as of this year. But they are allowed to do it. Are you suggesting he’s done something illegal?”

“I’m just saying it’s not illegal,” he said.

Bringing Up Bully: Penny Arcade & Growing Up On The Internet

Bringing Up Bully: Penny Arcade & Growing Up On The Internet

After my post back in January about Penny Arcade creator Mike Krahulik’s self-serving “resolutions”, my good friend Joe Nunweek of the Pantograph Punch invited me to write a bit more about what the webcomic meant to me as a dorky 14-year-old boy and how changing technologies and culture have affected the medium as well. TRIGGER WARNING: a whole lot of rape culture, unfortunately.


I remember the fanbase of the early years, so cloistered that we jokingly referred to ourselves as “the cult”. We were a close-knit community of smart-arses in our teens or early 20s, mostly young men, with one-liners and one-upmanship ingrained by the Penny Arcade ethos as much as anything else. As with so many straight, white, males, Penny Arcade pushed the philosophy that nothing was off-limits, however outlandish or taboo, so long as it was framed as a joke.

We loved the comic for its finely-tuned sense of the absurd: in one strip, a gauche young space frog confides in a mentor about his budding sexuality; in another, a Greek warrior daubed with his murdered family’s ashes takes a course in art therapy.

But the rape jokes were already there, and in retrospect it’s clear that an outcry over something like Dickwolves was simply a matter of time and exposure. Back then such reactions were confined to obscure members-only fan forums and dissent was easily corralled and buried beneath a morass of new discussion threads. But I can only imagine how the Fruit Fucker 2000 would go down on Twitter and Tumblr today.

(Read more at the Pantograph Punch)

“Resolutions”: Penny Arcade rewrites history in its latest “Dickwolves” apologia


Penny Arcade co-creator Mike “Gabe” Krahulik has said some pretty terrible things over the past year and is vaguely alluding to them in a post called “Resolutions”. They don’t need the extra webtraffic, so here’s the gist:

As a young person I imagined myself a sort of vengeful spirit. A schoolyard Robin Hood who attacked the strong and popular on behalf of the social outcasts. I’m 36 years old now though and I realize what I am is a bully. I may have been the one who got beat up but I sent plenty of kids home in tears. I also realize that I carried those ridiculous insecurities into adulthood. I still see people who attack me as the enemy and I strike back with the same ferocity as that seventh grader I used to be. I’m ashamed of that and embarrassed. The crazy thing is I don’t even necessarily believe the stuff I say a lot of times. It would probably be more noble if I did. The truth is I just say them to be mean. I say them because I know they will hurt. It’s pretty fucked up.

I’ve done a lot of soul searching this year. I’ve tried to figure out what sort of person I am and what sort of person I want to be going forward. I know I don’t want to be this angry kid anymore. I take medicine to control my anxiety and depression but there is no pill I can take to stop being a jerk. That’s a deeper problem and it’s something I’m working on.

This kneejerk anger is something he’s written about before and as a victim and perpetrator of childhood bullying myself it’s something I can relate to. But there is a very specific reason why I think that, in this particular instance, it’s self-serving horseshit.

Penny Arcade’s biggest hornet nest in 2013 was indisputably the resurgence of the Dickwolves affair, relating to a 2011 strip which angered many rape survivors who felt it trivialised rape as a punchline and perpetuated rape culture (a play-by-play of the whole sorry saga and Penny Arcade’s escalation can be found here. TW: rape, naturally). Presumably Krahulik is at least partly alluding to this.

But his latest mea culpa draws attention exclusively to his anger management problems without ever once acknowledging that Krahulik singlehandedly re-ignited the Dickwolves controversy as an act of wilful cruelty, without provocation or prompting in the cosiest setting imaginable. Read the rest of this entry »

From the BBC: how not to eat healthily for £1 a day

Rory MacKinnon:

A thorough debunking of BBC economics reporter Brian Milligan’s idiotic, dangerous and disingenuous experiment to “prove” people in Britain can live comfortably on a food budget of £1 a day.

Originally posted on Aethelread the Unread:

The BBC have published an article by one Brian Milligan, which purports to show that it is possible to eat a healthy, varied diet for less than £1 a day. The article is – and I’m being polite here – a complete farrago of nonsense from beginning to end. Let’s start with the idea that the diet Mr Milligan lived on for five days (a whole five days, imagine!) was ‘healthy’.

We’re not going to rely on my attempts to assess the quality of his meals here. Instead we’re going to avail ourselves of the opinion of a professional dietician. I should make it plain that this isn’t the result of some great feat of research on my part. I’m simply quoting the words of the dietician Mr Milligan himself contacted, and whose views he reports in his own article. Here goes:

“Those dinners looked great,” says Alison Hornby, of…

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Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls

Ed Balls. Read the rest of this entry »

A personal announcement on same-sex marriage

Wedding rings 2

Dear friends and readers,

Thankyou for your support and sympathy in this difficult time for Katie and I.

As you may already know, New Zealand’s parliament passed historic legislation this evening to legalise same-sex marriage; an act that cultural commentators have warned will irreparably destroy the institution of heterosexual marriage.

Katie and I have been in a loving, fulfilling relationship for seven years now – four of them as a married couple – but as of 11pm NZST we each experienced a sudden loss of interest, attraction and even basic human empathy with regard to one another.

We are therefore separating as of today, with a view to finding new partners of our own respective genders in order to comply with the spirit and letter of the law.

Since such marriages are reportedly intrinsically unsatisfying and inauthentic, my only consolation is that they are also poor environments for raising children due to their ‘party’ lifestyle and copious consumption of hard drugs.

Thankyou again for your kind words and support.

[In case it's not abundantly clear, I'm kidding. Why not go read a serious critique though, courtesy of the Queer Avengers' Beyond Marriage blog.]

SQUASH speaks out: how anti-squatting laws saw Daniel Gauntlett freeze to death

Above: Hove & Portslade MP Mike Weatherley, who told MPs the overlap between homelessness and squatting was a “myth”.

Following on from yesterday’s interview with the creator of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, I’ve continued to try and get a response out of Tory MP Mike Weatherley, who authored the piece of legislation that made it a crime for Daniel and others to enter an otherwise unoccupied house. Read the rest of this entry »

Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet: a brief interview

Image by Aran Chandaran used under a Creative Commons license.

Some stories enrage you because there shouldn’t have to be anything more to say; no National Debate or serious frowny faces on Question Time. The HIV-positive asylum seeker and her 10-month-old child who starved to death in a Westminster flat last March. The teenager who set himself on fire in a council office in December after they refused to find him a home.

And now there’s 35-year-old homeless man Daniel Gauntlett, who died of hypothermia in Aylesford last week on the porch of an empty bungalow that he could not enter without facing arrest and a criminal record.

You can read the Kent Messenger’s original story by Chris Hunter here — but spreading equally quickly through Twitter, Facebook and the like is the savage fury of Is Mike Weatherley Dead Yet?, an anonymous website launched within days of the report that directly links Gauntlett’s death to the legislation authored by Tory MP Mike Weatherley and passed into law last year that criminalised any act of squatting in a residential property, derelict or not. Read the rest of this entry »

The Royal Bank of Scot-free: Retracing the Libor scam

image via Ian Fraser.

[First published in The Morning Star, 09/02/13]

RBS chief Stephen Hester wore an especially frowny face this week to admit his bank’s role in the biggest scandal since the financial crisis itself.

Years of wholesale manipulation of the Libor rate had put a gloss on an otherwise collapsing economy, lured investors into risky financial products under false pretences and had gone on to fudge the figures of trillions of pounds’ worth of consumer loans and contracts worldwide, with the resulting sleight of hand driving businesses into bankruptcy and families from their homes.

But worst of all, it made them look bad.

There is no room in RBS or in our industry for that kind of wrongdoing,” he told reporters, adding without a trace of irony that “we won’t be the only bank with these findings of course.”

Indeed they won’t: Barclays and UBS have already been stung for their own part in the affair, while more than a dozen other banks across Europe, Japan and the US are also under investigation.

So what exactly did they do? Read the rest of this entry »


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