Since making his appeal, the Trumpton account has gained thousands of new followers, bringing the total to more than 11,000.
The account was set up in September by Mike Dicks, whose aim was to “gently take the mickey out of Ukip”. He wrote on Facebook today: “It struck me that most Ukip supporters, or ‘Kippers’, were reminiscing about a Britain of their youth that was more like the classic kids show Trumpton than the reality I remembered, so I chose to start Trumpton Ukip and pretend the Mayor and Mr Troop had defected to the people’s army.”
The stop-motion animation was first broadcast on BBC1 in 1967, and chronicled the adventures of characters including Mr Troop the town clerk and carpenter Chippy Minton. It was the second in the Trumptonshire Trilogy and followed Camberwick Green.
Dicks said Coburn had threatened to take legal action over the account’s use of the Ukip trademark – and even the use of the letters U, K, I and P.
“Twitter being Twitter, many people piled in to follow us, and then something magical happened. A Trumpton BNP, EDL, Labour Party, Tory and Lib Dem appeared (not my doing) and then a Trumpton WI, local radio station – even a Trumpton BBC arrived. When Windy Miller defected from us to the Greens, after Roger Helmer from Ukip told him to take down his windmill, we even got a Green candidate and then communists, feminists and libertarians popped up,” he added.
Someone then suggested the Trumpton account should try to get more followers than Coburn. Dicks initially laughed at the suggestion, but momentum steadily built as the week wore on.
“Last night in the wee hours, Mr Troop and I witnessed the last ballot paper counted – we had 9,041 followers when I went to bed – to David’s 9,030 – a decisive victory for a bunch of puppets over a big muppet,” he wrote. “This morning, Trumpton woke up to a story on the front page of the Financial Times and a phone call from Radio 4 (I’ve really made it now mum!) and over 11,000 Twitter followers.”
Some readers were unimpressed by the FT’s selection for the prized “basement” slot on page one: “This article is puny, risible and unfit for the FT,” wrote “RHAR”. “Everyman” commented: “I wish someone would do an equivalent ‘Carry On’ parody of the government.”
Dicks tweeted on the Trumpton account on Saturday: We do not mean to offend the great Gordon Murray who created us all. We do not mind if we cause offence to #ukip
Coburn, 55, who lives in Edinburgh, was elected as an MEP in May and has described himself as “spectacularly homosexual”. He told the Huffington Post in October that Ukip was a “gay-friendly” party and that he had never felt uncomfortable about any controversial statements made by his party colleagues about homosexuality.
In the same interview he described same-sex marriage as “false bollocks”. “What you’re doing with the gay marriage issue is you’re rubbing people’s noses in the dirt. Everyone had agreed and been quite happy with the idea of civil partnership, it was all bedded in and people were happy with it, they got used to the idea,” Coburn said. “But when you go across the road to pick a fight with someone of faith, that’s not got anything to do with it, that’s the equality Nazis trying to give Christianity a jolly good kicking.”
This article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Saturday 6th December 2014 13.59 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010