DAVID Coburn loves being a bogeyman.

Scotland's first Ukip MEP revels in controversy and goading the opponents he dismisses as interchangeable parts of a stale political establishment.

Like Nigel Farage, the leader of the anti-immigration anti-EU party, he's on a mission to provoke.

"It worked in England and it'll work in Scotland," he says of the technique.

"It's what I am. I've always kicked against authority. I hate authority."

But while he's forever chortling at his own mischief, you wonder who else is in on the gag.

Since getting elected last year, the Glasgow-born antiques dealer has acquired a reputation for gaffes and devalued his own stock with a deluge of over-the-top comments.

Most infamously, he bestowed the nickname "Abu Hamza" on SNP minister Humza Yousaf, prompting claims of racism, Islamophobia and equating Muslims with a convicted terrorist.

He apologised, but still says his critics were "trying to milk it" because of the election.

However Coburn's record doesn't mean Ukip is a sideshow on May 7.

The party has a record 41 candidates in Scotland, all advocating exit from the EU to save £8bn a year (with £3bn earmarked for the NHS), immigration curbs, less red tape to boost jobs, and allowing fracking to supply the petro-chemical plant at Grangemouth.

The last policy owes a lot to Coburn's candidacy in nearby Falkirk, where ex Labour MP Eric Joyce is standing down after a drunken Commons brawl, opening up the field.

Coburn says Ukip in Scotland today is like Ukip in England seven years ago.

Back then, Ukip MPs seemed fanciful. Not any more. Just as England grew to embrace Ukip, so will Scotland, he reckons, because Scots and English voters share the same concerns.

The next step is the 2016 Holyrood election, when he hopes to get eight list MSPs.

If that sounds as surreal as some of his other pronouncements, think again.

Several list MSPs have been elected on just 5.2% of the vote; Coburn got double that last May.

Eight MSPs is over optimistic, but two or three, Coburn among them, is a possibility.

"I got elected, and nobody expected that," he notes when we meet for tea in Falkirk town centre.

The next hour feels like being trapped in the back of a cab.

You could use Coburn's stream of consciousness for waterboarding.

He blasts off by blaming immigration for squeezed wages and more people using foodbanks.

He has "nothing against immigrants", you understand, as those who leave home seeking work are "usually the better sort of people".

But in most of England "it's a big problem and it's definitely starting to be a problem in Scotland".

So here's an easy question: what's the latest net inward migration figure for Scotland?

"Who knows?" he tuts. "Official figures are not real."

The most recent figures are for the year to mid-2013. "I wouldn't even hazard a guess."

Five, ten, twenty, thirty thousand? "At least 20,000 people, 30,000."

It was 10,000. And that was 2000 down on the previous year. "Well, so they say."

And how many of those 10,000 came from outside the UK?

"I don't believe any of the official figures." It was 2100. "So they say. I don't believe any of the figures."

Aren't you just saying that because you don't know the figures?

"No. I don't think any of them are realistic. Everybody tells a different lie. Nobody knows."

So how do you know there's a problem? "Well there is a problem."

But how can you draw inferences from a number you don't know? "We do know the numbers."

You just said no one knows the numbers. "Not for sure. But we all know there's a lot. But the government doesn't know how many. These imaginary figures are meaningless."

He's also shaky on the big issue of the week - the SNP's plan for full fiscal autonomy and Labour's attack on it as a policy that would leave a £7.6bn black hole in Scotland's finances.

On TV on Wednesday he mistakenly referred to "full fiscal authority". What's the right term?

"Yeah, full fiscal whatever. Full fiscal parity? Full fiscal control? Whatever you want to call it. I don't know the buzzwords." He gets there eventually. "Autonomy?"

Do you think you lack basic political knowledge?

"I'm an ordinary person. If I get it wrong I don't care, because at least I'm genuine."

In the ITV leaders' debate Farage said there was a problem with migrants with HIV being treated on the NHS. Do you know any people with HIV?

"Yes. I know several people who are dead with HIV, who were very good friends of mine. And there but for the grace of God go I."

So how could you deny healthcare to people with HIV?

"We need to control our own frontiers. If people come to this country as immigrants with HIV they'll need to have private health care for five years. I have to think about British people suffering from Aids first.

"He [Farage] is saying something no one else dares say. That's what Ukip do. The liberal press and liberal establishment won't deal with issues. Open door European immigration, benefit tourism, health tourism - no one would have dealt with that except Ukip.

"But the guys in the street, the people in the pebble-dash semi, they're worried about it, and that's why they're voting Ukip. We say the unsayable because someone has to. We say what the common man is saying. We are the party of the ordinary bloke and woman in the street."

But it's the SNP that really gets him stoked. Mention them and he starts frothing, seeing plots against his country at every turn.

Nicola Sturgeon talked "bullshit" in last week's BBC debate, he fumes, doing an impression of a high-pitched crone: "We'll give you you more of this, more of that, we'll spend more money".

The SNP are "anti-English" and "continually blame the English for everything", he says, and "you'd have to be living in a cave in Auchterteuchter" not to know it.

The SNP also have "no pride in our martial past", he seethes.

"They would be debating in German if it hadn't been for people like my father and grandfather. It was Scottish soldiers with a fixed bayonet and a Lee Enfield who saw to it that this country is free. To rubbish our martial past, and to try to turn us into some peacenik Scandinavian whatever is a disgrace. It bores into my soul."

Worse, instead of crying Freedom, the Nats want to snuff it out.

"I really do think the SNP are sinister," he says.

Sounding as queasily obsessive as any online troll, he rattles off a list of signposts to the coming authoritarian Scotland: the 'named person' plan for children, armed police, stop and search, ending corroboration, political correctness and, inevitably, health and safety.

"Anybody who speaks out of turn is a non-person," he confides. "It's like communist Czechoslovakia. They want to create a different history, airbrush history out, create their own version of history and turn us into some sort of Scandinavian nation that never existed."

Do you really believe there's some sort of Orwellian project underway in Scotland?

"Yes, I very much believe that. We're slipping into bit by bit and it's terrifying. There's something sinister in the air here thanks to the SNP, and Labour not having the guts to stand up to them.

"This idea that Ukip are a bunch of right-wingers - I'm not right-wing at all. I'm a libertarian. I don't want to be told what to do. My biggest fear is big government and big corporations telling me what to do. These people [the SNP] are different. They have a sinister aspect."

Are you not being paranoid?

His eyes dart around conspiratorially.

"I've heard it from a lot of ordinary people who say the same thing. They find it's becoming frightening. It's covert, but it's becoming more overt, and that's scary. I just feel not free. I feel that people are watching you all the time. You do feel that there's not that freedom to speak."

Who's watching you? "Well, I don't know. It's just the system, the system, the bureaucrats, everything. The SNP love more bureaucracy."

The conversation is not all bonkers. Coburn is often entertaining and self-aware. But there are enough loopy moments to convince you he could never be trusted with power, and nor could any party that promoted him. But one day Ukip may get it anyway.