The Brief: ‘Death spiral’ UKIP feels the Coburn

The Brief is's evening newsletter.


The Brief today formally endorses MEP David Coburn as its preferred candidate to be the next leader of the UK Independence Party.

UKIP is rocking in the wake of former leadership frontrunner Steven Woolfe’s announcement he was quitting the party last night. Woolfe was the MEP who collapsed after a punch-up in the European Parliament.

He declared that UKIP was locked in a “death spiral of its own making” and was riven with infighting.

UKIP is at a crossroads. The next leader can set a course towards the traditional centre-right or sail into the choppy and insane waters of Trump-style politics.

A reliable, solid hand is needed at the rudder of the good ship UKIP. That hand is on the end of an arm belonging to David “Feel the #Coburn” Coburn.

Who is David Coburn? He is Scotland’s only UKIP MEP and the leader of UKIP Scotland.

He’s a man who is not afraid to go his own way. David describes himself as “spectacularly homosexual” and has been in a same-sex relationship for 30 years. Yet he opposes gay marriage.

He has called his party members, who described him as gaffe-prone and disloyally demanded he quit, “total tossers”. He has compared Scotland to North Korea, and its first minister to Robert Mugabe.

What to expect from the visionary who wanted to make “political correctness” in schools illegal, and whose unique interventions in the European Parliament are the stuff of legend? And you simply must look at this.

UKIP needs Coburn. Britain needs Coburn. The EU needs Coburn. We all need Coburn.

For every time there is a leader, and this is Coburn’s time. After 2016 so far, we all need cheering up.

As the man himself observed last night, “Good thing about possibly standing for UKIP leader, both my friends and enemies will vote for me.”

This Brief was powered by BirdLife Europe and Central Asia


Trade ministers have met and the stalled CETA deal dominated the talks. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström had some sobering words for Brexiteers hoping the EU-Canada deal could be the basis of the UK’s future relationship with the bloc. “If we can’t make it with Canada, I don’t think we can make it with the UK,” she said. Here’s Greenpeace’s reaction.

Federica Mogherini launched a progress report on the migration deals the EU is striking with various African countries. She insisted the controversial EU-Turkey pact was not a model for the agreements but they do have something in common: keeping migrants out of Europe.

Germany is ready to play its part in the creation of an EU army or “closer European defence cooperation”.

The EU is angry with Russia about Syria but not angry enough to impose sanctions on Moscow.

The EU will recognise an independent Catalonia, its leader said, who also thinks Scotland and Slovenia could provide precedents for membership.

Greenhouse gas emissions are falling as surplus carbon quotas are cut and the UK’s financial services sector can thrive outside the EU.

The wildly popular Football Manager video game has incorporated various Brexit scenarios into its virtual world.

Former UK Commissioner Jonathan Hill, who quit after the vote for Brexit, is out and about in Brussels today. Asked what he was up to, he laughed, “I’m just reliving my glory days.”

And this study found that Europe is just not ready for President Trump.


The Commission will publish its communication on strengthening trade defence instruments tomorrow. The launch is timed to make sure the strategy, drafted when European steel is suffering from Chinese imports, is taken into consideration by EU leaders when they meet in Brussels on Thursday.