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Senior UKIP Leader Slams Party's European PR Man As “Total Liability”

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 13 January 2017, 16:57


Hermann Kelly, UKIP’s European press spokesman, has been slammed by top UKIP official Suzanne Evans for a public attack on Brendan Cox, HOPE not hate can reveal.

Evans referred to the UKIP PR man as “bloody Kelly” and a “total liability” after he released a series of tweets making derogatory comments about the widower of Jo Cox MP and claiming that Turkey was “on the same side as ISIS, Saudi and Qatar”.

Suzanne Evans' reaction

Suzanne Evans' reaction

Kelly has a long history of making inflammatory statements through his official Twitter account in his post as Director of Communications for UKIP’s European group, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD). Kelly uses the same account to publicise the official press statements of the EFDD.

Evans, UKIP’s current Deputy Chair and Health and Parliamentary spokesman, vented her frustration to the now defunct Reform UKIP! grassroots pressure group in a private message after seeing Kelly’s provocative statements.

Evans is considered a moderate voice within the party and decried the “far right” within UKIP during her leadership bid late last year.

Kelly has previously used social media to share wildly Islamophobic memes and “news” articles from notorious rightwing conspiracy sites.

With tensions high in the wake of the ISIS terror attacks in Nice last July, Kelly chose to demonise Islam as a “death cult” that “thrives on violence”. Attached was a quote attributed to (but in fact misquoting) Winston Churchill: “Islam is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog”.

Even more worryingly Kelly has posted content from the notorious conspiracy website InfoWars, including an article ‘Feminised males will allow Muslims to conquer Europe’.

InfoWars is run by rightwing firebrand Alex Jones, who has alleged that the Sandy Hook massacre (where 20 children and six staff were murdered at an elementary school) was a “false flag” attack by the American government in order to introduce gun control, and that President Obama was responsible for the Olklahoma tornado outbreak in 2013.

InfoWars remains a popular website among so-called “alt-right” circles.

Kelly has previously been criticised for referring to two Muslim MEPs as “Taliban” and singing pro-IRA songs in a Brussels pub while employed by UKIP to manage its public image. Kelly has also been accused of hounding an ethnic minority UKIP advisor to withdraw an official racism complaint made against a member of the Sweden Democrats, UKIP’s extreme-right ally in the European Parliament.

One of tweets by Hermann Kelly that provoked Suzanne Evans’ disapproval

One of tweets by Hermann Kelly that provoked Suzanne Evans’ disapproval

When we asked the European spokesman to comment on his Twitter history, Kelly’s full statement read: “Who cares... you are a political campaign group masquerading as a charity.”

Unfortunately for Kelly, it appears as if leaders in his own party do in fact care and are beginning to take notice of his irresponsible and contemptible public statements.

Hermann Kelly, UKIP’s Director of Communications for its European Parliament group, the EFDD

Hermann Kelly, UKIP’s Director of Communications for its European Parliament group, the EFDD

 Posted: 13 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Five Star Movement’s founder calls for vote to reject UKIP, citing “improper use” of EU Parliament funds

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Monday, 9 January 2017, 17:31


Beppe Grillo, leader of Italy’s anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S), has urged his party to cut ties with UKIP due to political differences and “discomfort” at the recent EU money scandal.

M5S members will vote on leaving their Eurosceptic group “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” (EFDD) co-chaired by Nigel Farage.

Grillo wrote on his blog that M5S had “reconsidered the nature of the EFDD group”, stating that the two parties no longer shared common goals in the wake of Brexit.

However he also cited the Italians’ displeasure in the wake of the misspending scandal surrounding the EFDD’s related political party, the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE) and related foundation (IDDE).

News broke in November that UKIP had channeled almost £400,000 of ADDE money - funded by taxpayers - on polling ahead of the Brexit campaign and Farage’s failed bid for a seat in Parliament at the 2015 General Election. The IDDE was also found to have misspent almost €34,000.

Improper use

"We not also hide a certain discomfort with the improper use of the Foundations' capital (to which we have given up and will continue to give up) by some colleagues EFDD, in reference to the news published and from which we take the necessary distance," said Beppe Grillo.

MS5’s 17 MEPs allied with UKIP’s 22 to form the EFDD following the 2014 European elections, securing lucrative EU funding for both groups.

The relationship between UKIP and M5S was precarious from the off: beyond Euroscepticism the environmental M5S shared little in common with the far-right party. In his blog Grillo made reference to the fact that UKIP and M5S have voted together on just 20% of issues over the past two-and-a-half years.

Uneasy

It is also understood that the Italians have long been uneasy about the presence of the extreme right within the EFDD, which includes Holocaust denier Robert Iwaszkiewicz of Congress of the New Right, a party so extreme it was rejected even by Marine Le Pen’s Front National. The EFDD also includes the Sweden Democrats, a party with Nazi roots which is enjoying an ever-closer relationship with UKIP.

In a move that would provide the “necessary distance” from both the EU money scandal and the extreme European fringe, MS5 is now in talks to unite with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a pro-EU group led by EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

Farage has responded in an official statement:

"In political terms it would be completely illogical for Five Star to join the most Euro fanatic group in the European parliament. The ALDE group doesn’t support referenda or the basic principle of direct democracy. ALDE are also the loudest voice for a EU army. I suspect if Five Star joins ALDE it’s support will not last long."

 Posted: 9 Jan 2017 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Nigel Farage’s aide faces 20 years behind bars

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Tuesday, 3 January 2017, 21:04


A senior aide to Nigel Farage has pleaded guilty to concocting a scam to extort money from drug dealers. He now faces up to 20 years behind bars as well as a £200,000 fine and deportation.

George Cottrell, 22, told a gang of drug traffickers on the dark web that he could launder up to £122,000 a month for them whilst protecting their anonymity. However, Cottrell intended to retain the money and blackmail the traffickers.

Unfortunately for Cottrell, he was in fact communicating with American undercover agents.

Cottrell was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in June after accompanying Farage to the Republican National Convention with Farage, at which Farage gave a speech. Cottrell has been held behind bars since.

Cottrell, who was previously in charge of Farage’s private office and was part of UKIP’s media team, made the following confession to court on Monday:

'I falsely claimed that I would launder the criminal proceeds through my bank accounts for a fee. Rather than launder any of the money, though, I intended to retain the money.'

Cottrell’s uncle, Alexander, the 3rd Baron Hesketh, defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in 2011 and has since donated substantial amounts of money to UKIP.

Farage has tried to distance himself from Cottrell, telling The Daily Mail: “I can’t be responsible for everyone around me”.

 Posted: 3 Jan 2017 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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10 Reasons To Oppose Nuttall

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Monday, 28 November 2016, 14:40


After months of profound crisis, UKIP announced today that Paul Nuttall has been elected leader. While he is not as well-known as Nigel Farage, his views are every bit as hardline.

Below are 10 reasons why we should stand in opposition to Nuttall's UKIP.

1. Nuttall has strongly supported Farage's 'Breaking Point' billboard

When questioned about the billboard – which some commentators compared to Nazi propagandaNuttall defended the poster as an “absolutely correct” depiction of the “deluge of people coming from the Middle East”.

2. He believes there is a secret coordinated Muslim plot to become a majority in Europe

In an article entitledStop calling them all refugees – they’re not” in his column in lad mag the Midweek Sport, Nuttall defended the much-discredited theory of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, before stating:

We are importing Muslims into Europe in Biblical proportions and if demographics are anything to go by, in some European countries they will either be the majority or close to it by the end of the 21st century. We only have to listen to the chilling words of Sheikh Muhammad Ayed to understand how dangerous this is. He recently said in a speech at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that Muslim immigrants should breed with the Europeans to “conquer their countries”. And we are encouraging this through our bleeding liberal hearts”.

3. In a speech in the European Parliament, Nuttall labelled the response of the EU to the refugee crisis as “freedom of movement of Jihad”

In the same speech, made at the height of the humanitarian emergency in September 2015, he stated: “Let me make it clear: what we have in Europe at the moment is not a refugee crisis. It is an economic migrant crisis”.

4. He wants to ban the burqa

Nuttall called for the UK Government to ban the garment in all public buildings on International Women’s Day, 1 March 2016, “whether they claim it’s their ‘religious right’ or not”. In response to Amnesty International’s claim that wearing the burqa is a human right, he claimed “It isn’t. It’s just a piece of material”.

5. Nuttall has called for the NHS to be privatised

Nuttall has called the NHSa monolithic hangover from days gone by”, and stated that: “I would like to see more free markets introduced into the health service, because this is the way we have to go”.

6. He wants a 31% flat rate of tax, meaning the rich pay far less

Nuttall outlined his policy in a 2013 article ironically entitled “UKIP Champions the Working Classes”. The flat tax has since been dumped by Farage in favour of a “two-tier” flat tax which would be "seen to be fairer".

7. He wants prison conditions to be made deliberately worse and the 1967 Criminal Justice Act to be abolished

Nuttall has claimed that “our prisons are far too soft” and has alluded to bringing back “hard labour” for prisoners. He believes that the Criminal Justice Act, which gave “a huge boost for the rights of prisoners”, was a major societal misstep. He also believes in the return of the death penalty, which would make Britain and Belarus – a military dictatorship – the only two countries in Europe that execute prisoners.

8. Nuttall believes climate change is a "hair-brained theory"

Nuttall has also called global warming a money led scam, and has also called for Al Gore’s climate change film “An Inconvenient Truth” to be banned from schools. Nuttall supports investing in fracking rather than wind farms.

9. Was one of only 14 MEPs to vote against a crackdown on the illegal ivory trade

647 MEPs voted in favour of the April 2014 European Parliament resolution, designed to “send a clear signal against worldwide wildlife trafficking”. Of the fourteen MEPS opposing the resolution, six were from UKIP.

10. Opposes same-sex marriage

Need we say any more?

 Posted: 28 Nov 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments

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UKIP Co-Organises “Freedom Award” For European Extreme Right

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 4 November 2016, 14:01


UKIP has provoked anger in Sweden for its role in arranging an extreme-right networking event, to take place in Stockholm’s Grand Hotel this evening.

The “European Freedom Awards”, organised in conjunction with the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), indicates a deepening of existing ties between UKIP and the European far right.

The Grand Hotel, Stockholm

The Grand Hotel, Stockholm

Four hundred guests have been invited to the event, including what the SD has called “our friend parties in Europe” and “other parties like us”.

A prize for “increased national autonomy and democracy” will be awarded to former Czech President Vaclav Klaus. Klaus is known for his hostility towards homosexuality and for labelling migration “a method with which to dilute the current European countries.”

Also attending is Mischael Modrikamen, who has been described as Belgium’s Donald Trump, and former Lithuanian President Rolandas Paksas, impeached in 2004 for suspected links to Russian organised crime. Nigel Farage will be representing UKIP at the event.

The most worrying group known to be attending are the event co-organisers the Sweden Democrats. The SD was founded by a former member of Hitler’s SS and had to ban members from wearing Nazi uniforms to its meetings in 1996.

Mattias Karlsson of the Sweden Democrats delivering a talk on migration

Mattias Karlsson of the Sweden Democrats delivering a talk on migration

Despite their extreme platform, UKIP and the SD have enjoyed a cosy relationship since UKIP invited the SD into the newly-formed European Parliament group “Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy” (EFDD) in 2014, alongside an assortment of Holocaust deniers and xenophobes.

Evidence of a social as well as political friendship in Brussels has since surfaced. It has been alleged that UKIP so values its relationship with the SD that it was prepared to abandon an ethnic-minority advisor in Brussels who had filed an official complaint of racial abuse against an SD member.

Further evidence of this troubling relationship was provided when the chairman of the SD’s youth group was guest speaker at the UKIP youth conference in July, receiving a standing ovation for a speech in which he made vile jokes about foreigners.

UKIP has repeatedly denied being a racist party but away from the watching eye of the British public its supposedly principled rejection of the extreme right has proved hollow. UKIP’s continued cooperation helps legitimise far-right movements, extending to them the cover of UKIP’s more mainstream populist image.

UKIP’s role in organising the so called “Freedom Award” in Stockholm tonight also reveals that it is now actively creating opportunities for some of the most alarming reactionaries in Europe to forge ever closer bonds.

Nigel Farage will be representing UKIP at the European Freedom Awards

Nigel Farage will be representing UKIP at the European Freedom Awards

 Posted: 4 Nov 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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UKIP Leadership Roundup

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 28 October 2016, 08:54


Mere months after the highest victory in its history, UKIP has nosedived to its deepest crisis. Steven Woolfe, who quit UKIP after being hospitalised in an altercation with fellow MEP Mike Hookem, has left a party still mired in nasty factional fighting and teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Polls indicate that UKIP’s support has more than halved since the EU referendum. Few could argue with the former leadership favourite that the party has fallen into a “death spiral of their own making”.

The current leadership race, triggered after reluctant new leader Diane James resigned after just eighteen days, offers one final chance for the sinking party to save itself and wriggle free of the legacy of Farage. The new leader will face the Herculean task of unifying UKIP under a new platform that also justifies the party’s continued existence post-Brexit.

Whilst more candidates may yet enter the fray before nominations close on 31 October, the following candidates are confirmed to be standing. The new leader will be announced 28 November.

Paul Nuttall

Paul Nuttall

Former Deptuty Leader Paul Nuttall is UKIP’s highest profile politician after Farage and had always been his obvious successor. Although Nuttall ruled himself out of September’s leadership race, he has now reversed his decision (possibly under pressure from Farage). With widespread support among both party leaders and the grassroots he is probably the only figure capable of uniting UKIP’s warring factions.

Born into a working class family in Merseyside, Nuttall’s affable demeanour masks a canny political mind. Nuttall was the first within UKIP to specifically target disillusioned northern Labour constituencies and has been central to UKIP’s recent growth. Under his guidance the party has also strategically targeted BNP voters.

Nuttall’s appeal stems from his populism. In October 2015 Nuttall declared that the response of the EU to the refugee crisis was “freedom of movement of Jihad” and has since demanded that the British government release details of where refugees in the UK are being housed. He also advocates banning the burqa.

Nuttall’s punitive platform also advocates reinstating the death penalty, increasing prison capacity and dolling out harsher prison sentences. Nuttall is a member of the Campaign Against Political Correctness (CAPS).

His populist streak draws attention away from his Thatcherite aspirations to privatise the NHS, repeal the hunting ban and bring back grammar schools.

Bookies currently have Nuttall on 1/4 odds.

Raheem Kassam

Raheem Kassam

Raheem Kassam is Farage’s former chief of staff and the current London editor of the extreme right-wing “news” outlet Breitbart Media.

Kassam is easily the most divisive of the current candidates, stating stated that “someone needs to go in” to UKIP “with a big stick”. If successful he is likely to lead a purge of Farage’s enemies.

After telling UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell to “bugger off”, he has stated that Carswell will be ejected from the party unless he publicly apologises for his disagreements with Farage. He also told fellow leadership candidate Suzanne Evans to “f*** off for good” after her spat with Farage led to her suspension from the party. Evans has recently labelled Kassam “toxic” and “far right”.

Kassam’s twitter account is a reliable stream of foul discriminatory abuse, using the platform to question whether Labour MP Angela Eagle had “special needs”, accusing the BBC of “tranny-pushing” and telling Sky News presenter Kay Burley that she wore “stripper heels”.

Kassam is more radical than even Paul Nuttall, having addressed the first UK rally of Tommy Robinson’s far-right group Pegida and claiming that former BNP members should be allowed to join UKIP on a “case by case” basis. Kassam and his Breitbart propaganda machine are vocal supporters of Donald Trump, modelling his slogan - “Make UKIP Great Again” – on Trump’s controversial campaign.

Despite several allegations of theft, blackmail, extortion and multiple accounts of fraud from former employer The Commentator, Kassam does have the support of UKIP’s influential donor Arron Banks, who is desperate to eject Carswell and Evans from the party.

Kassam is also likely to mobilise the vocal and radically right-wing elements within UKIP’s Young Independents youth movement.

Bookies currently have Kassam on 5/1 odds.

Suzanne Evans

Suzanne Evans

Parliamentary spokesperson Suzanne Evans was once the chosen heir of Farage and fleetingly became leader after he stepped down after the 2015 General Election. A bitter dispute has since erupted between Evans and Farage, and her ensuing suspension led to her disqualification from the summer leadership race. The NEC has now ruled that Evans is allowed to run as a candidate.

Evans is seen as a moderate within UKIP, and has appealed to UKIP to “break free of its hard-right image” and called for more “compassionate, centre-ground” policies. She has however indicated that this would be a “tough centre that controls borders” rather than the “wishy washy” policies of the Liberal Democrats. She supports an Australian-style points system for migrants.

Evans is prone to media blunders, attracting controversy after she claimed the lack of UKIP support in London was because the capital was more “media-savvy and educated”. She also came under fire after blaming the housing shortage on immigration whilst owning two houses herself with a share in a third occupied by her daughter.

Whilst she is a capable politician, having assembled UKIP’s manifesto at the 2015 General Election, her longstanding rift with Farage have made her unpopular with much of the grassroots.

Current bookies odds are at 7/1.

Peter Whittle

Peter Whittle

Peter Whittle is UKIP’s group leader in the London Assembly, current culture spokesman and a former journalist. He also ran for London mayor during the summer and picked up a dismal 3.6% of the vote.

Whittle has previously raised eyebrows when he rallied to defend UKIP candidate who compared gay people to child abusers and labelled same-sex adoption “child trafficking”. Whittle is openly gay himself.

Whilst Whittle is reasonably well-known within London, he remains virtually anonymous outside of the capital.

Bookies have Whittle on 20/1 odds.

John Rees-Evans

John Rees-Evans

John Rees-Evans is a former parliamentary candidate for Cardiff South and Penarth.

Rees-Evans is a minor figure within UKIP and primarily known for his extraordinary claim that a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse, a comment made in response to a question about whether some gay men prefer sex with animals. He recently issued a reluctant apology for this claim.

The defence-obsessed ex-soldier has migrated to Bulgaria, and has given details of his heavily-fortified underground bunker in a bizarre profile in VICE, saying “I prefer to go overboard and cultivate a paranoia that’s not naturally mine”.

The competitive speed pistol shooter also raised eyebrows when he admitted taking a handgun into an IKEA branch in Bulgaria.

Rees-Evans’ chances of success are minute, as remains largely unknown to both party members and the public.

 Posted: 28 Oct 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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UKIP in meltdown as leadership favourite Steven Woolfe is hospitalised

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 7 October 2016, 10:37


UKIP's Steven Woolfe sprawled unconscious in Strasbourg

UKIP's Steven Woolfe sprawled unconscious in Strasbourg

UKIP is facing potential oblivion after Steven Woolfe MEP, the favourite in UKIP’s frenzied leadership race, was hospitalised after reportedly being punched by a fellow MEP in Strasbourg yesterday.

The clash, which occurred less than 48-hours after new leader Diane James’ shock resignation, has sparked a showdown between key UKIP figures that promises to tear the party asunder.

Multiple sources have claimed the Woolfe was punched by UKIP’s Defence spokesperson Mike Hookem, who allegedly labelled Woolfe a “joke” after it was revealed he had considered defecting to the Tories. Woolfe then reportedly took off his jacket and instigated the fight. Hookem then “came at me and landed a blow” according to a recovering Woolfe.

Although it had been feared yesterday afternoon that Woolfe was fighting for his life, fortunately the married father of one is now conscious and in stable condition. Hookem has claimed Woolfe simply tripped over. The incident has not yet been reported to the Strasbourg police.

The incident has rocked UKIP to its core. Just two days ago UKIP’s financial powerhouse Arron Banks put his sole support behind Woolfe to become the new UKIP leader, describing the other candidates as “no-name, no-talent nobodies”. He also launched an extraordinary attack on Douglas Carswell MP and Welsh Assembly Member Neil Hamilton, with whom he and Farage have had a much-publicised feud, likening them to “a team of circus clowns”.

Now that Woolfe is likely to be barred from standing as leader (once again) for his role in the incident, Banks has threatened to quit the party if Carswell and Hamilton remain in UKIP. After Hamilton blamed Farage for the culture of “abuse” within UKIP immediately after the fight, Banks labelled Hamilton a “creature from the gutter” and issued a tweet threatening to punch Hamilton if he does not defect back to the Conservatives.

Arron Banks tweeting about Neil Hamilton yesterday, 06/10/16

Arron Banks tweeting about Neil Hamilton yesterday, 06/10/16

The future of UKIP has never been so uncertain. The Carswell/Hamilton faction includes Parliamentary Spokesperson Suzanne Evans and Patrick O’Flynn MEP, and acts as a moderating force for some of the more extreme populist tendencies within UKIP. If Banks succeeds in dislodging them, and Woolfe is installed as leader, his reinvigorated UKIP would likely to veer sharply towards the right.

However Carswell and Hamilton are deeply entrenched in the party, wielding significant influence on its National Executive Committee (NEC), and have made no sign of intending to go quietly. If Banks does not succeed in banishing Carswell and Hamilton and abolishing the NEC, and Banks makes good on his threat to leave, UKIP would have to show remarkable creativity in order to survive as a major political party without his funding.

Banks has long spoken of pouring his considerable resources into a new party that would utilise the modern marketing techniques of his Leave.EU campaign to appeal towards young voters. He could well take Woolfe, Farage and large sections of the grassroots with him on this new project that he has envisaged as a “right-wing Momentum”.

However, given Theresa May’s announcement of a significantly harsher immigration policy, there is now a question over whether Banks’ new right-wing party is needed at all. Banks has taken credit for this political shift and the former Tory donor may well be longing for the relative stability and professionalism of the Conservative Party. If Banks cannot force Carswell and Hamilton back to the Tories, it is possible he will make the journey himself, taking a vast chunk of UKIP’s finances – and fortunes – with him.

Whatever the case, the literal blow landed yesterday afternoon is likely to have enormous repercussions that will be felt on the political right for some time to come.

David Lawrence is a researcher for HOPE not hate

 Posted: 7 Oct 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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Revealed – UKIP Youth Leader’s Assault Caution

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 17:47


Ross McKenzie

Ross McKenzie

Jamie Ross McKenzie, Chair of UKIP’s controversial youth wing, Young Independence (YI), was once given a police caution for common assault after abusing a bouncer outside a nightclub, it has emerged.

UKIP has strongly denied that the assault was racially motivated. A spokesperson for UKIP said: “Jamie Ross McKenzie was given a police caution for common assault a number of years ago. Any claims of racial abuse were thrown out. He informed the party back in 2014 when he was applying to be a parliamentary candidate.”

Despite admitting full knowledge of this incident, UKIP continues to elevate Ross McKenzie to ever-higher status within the party. He is understood to be close to new leader Diane James, having helped organise her successful leadership campaign. Last weekend she awarded him the privilege of giving the closing speech at UKIP’s 2016 conference.

The assault is the latest of a series of controversies surrounding Ross McKenzie, who has previously come under fire for appearing to encourage the racist and sexist trolling in UKIP’s YI facebook group. Ross McKenzie, who is an admin of that group, posted a picture of himself posing with a gun with the caption: “Now where’s the cucks?” immediately after he was elected YI Chair.

“Cuck” is a derogatory term used by far-right trolls who define themselves as “Alt Right” (essentially a new vanguard of white nationalists), a number of whom populate the YI Facebook group. Under Ross McKenzie’s leadership, YI also invited figures from the European extreme-right to speak at UKIP’s 2016 Youth Conference.

Tasteless

Tasteless

Rather than disciplining Ross McKenzie for his terrible track record and clamping down on the disturbing elements at work within the YI, Diane James has stated that both he and the Youth Wing are to play a much more central role in UKIP as its “ambassadors”.

While James is attempting to appeal to young voters and redefine UKIP’s identity post-Brexit and post-Farage, the message she gives by promoting someone of Ross McKenzie’s increasingly dubious reputation is that UKIP is happy to ignore serious issues when it is politically expedient.

 Posted: 21 Sep 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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UKIP’s farcical leadership race threatens to split the party

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 5 August 2016, 15:11


A bitter internal war threatens to tear UKIP asunder after Steven Woolfe MEP, the favourite to lead UKIP after Nigel Farage resigned, was disqualified from the leadership race by UKIP’s National Executive Committee (NEC) after submitting his leadership application 17 minutes late.

Steven Woolfe MEP, disqualified from the leadership race by the NEC

Steven Woolfe MEP, disqualified from the leadership race by the NEC

Woolfe claims his late application was due to a comical technical error. However, his leadership bid was already in jeopardy after it emerged that he had neglected to declare a criminal conviction for drink-driving when running to be a Police and Crime Commissioner in 2012.

Woolfe, an ally of Farage, believes he is the victim of a coup by anti-Farage elements within the party and has accused the NEC of leaking documents about his drink-driving conviction. Woolfe labelled the NEC, which includes MP Douglas Carswell and controversial Welsh Assembly Member Neil Hamilton, “no longer fit for purpose” in an article on Wednesday and called for its abolition.

Farage himself has waded into the fray and labelled the NEC “among the lowest grade of people I have ever met” and “total amateurs”. Perhaps most significantly, UKIP’s largest financial donor Arron Banks has claimed that the ruling against Woolfe was “the final straw” and “effectively a Hamilton/Carswell coup”.

Farage’s combative tweets

Farage’s combative tweets

The affair has drastically deepened the existing rift between Farage, Woolfe, Banks and large sections of the grassroots on one side and Carswell, Hamilton, Parliamentary spokesperson Suzanne Evans and Patrick O’Flynn MEP on the other.

The Current Leadership Candidates

With Woolfe currently banished from the race, Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall ruling himself out and Evans and Carswell disqualified, the remaining six leading candidates are virtually unknown to the public.

UKIP currently has the following options for its next leader:

Diane James MEP: UKIP’s Justice and Home Affairs Spokesperson and the highest profile of all the candidates. She is the current bookies’ favourite, despite claiming in 2015 that she was “not at all” interested in the position. In 2015, she raised eyebrows when she expressed her admiration for Vladimir Putin for his actions in Ukraine and Syria.

Jonathan Arnott MEP: UKIP’s General Secretary from 2008-2014 and James’ closest rival. He is a moderate within the party but has a rebellious streak, voting against the UKIP whip more than any other UKIP MEP. He lacks the dynamism of Farage but does have the backing of the influential Nuttall.

Bill Etheridge MEP: A hardliner who has recently called for a ban on the burka, a ban on kosher and halal meat and expressed his support for the death penalty. He resigned from the Conservative Party after posing with ‘golliwogs’ on Facebook. He is not well-liked within the party; on the eve of the deadline for registering as a leadership candidate, his GoFundMe page had raised a mere £8 of the required £5,000.

Lisa Duffy: A Cambridgeshire councillor and former TK Maxx store manager. She is nearly unknown to the public, but has the backing of Evans and O’Flynn. She has recently called for the government to “close British Islamic faith schools”.

Phillip Broughton: A former amateur wrestler who unsuccessfully stood for the parliamentary seat in Hartlepool in 2015. He is also the author of a series of unwise Youtube videos, in which he claims “I’ve got money than any of you could possibly imagine”. He is at least wealthy enough to cough up the required £5,000 for the leadership campaign, which is likely the only reason he is in the race.

Elizabeth Jones: A lawyer and MEP candidate for South London. On a recent radio interview she claimed “UKIP will have a great deal of appeal until we’re out of the EU”, suggesting once Brexit is implemented UKIP’s appeal will effectively end. She also attracted criticised for her unprofessional conduct when she told a Socialist Party member to “shut up” on radio in 2014.

What next?

The probable outcome is that Farage and Woolfe will get the support of the required 25% of UKIP branches and call an Extraordinary General Meeting. Farage will then attempt a fundamental reform of the party structure and internal decision making. This would remove the NEC and the anti-Farage factions and reset the leadership race. If successful, this ugly public spectacle could see UKIP veer even further to the right without the more moderate influence of Evans and Carswell.

Another possibility is that Arron Banks will start a new populist right-wing political party, marketed towards younger voters. Before putting his support behind Woolfe he had repeatedly stated his intention to do just that. Now that there is no snap election, Banks has the time and space to organise and market a new movement. So vital is the funding of Banks that if he did attempt to start a new party – probably taking Woolfe with him – whatever was left of UKIP could not survive as a major force in UK politics.

Arron Banks, UKIP’s financial powerhouse and founder of the Leave.EU campaign

Arron Banks, UKIP’s financial powerhouse and founder of the Leave.EU campaign

Whatever happens, the acrimony surrounding the contest and the low quality of current candidates reflects UKIP’s dismal failure to overcome the challenges posed by its Referendum success. A healthily competitive leadership race could have seen the party surpass its legacy as a Farage-dominated personality cult, but the prospect of his absence has plunged the party into bitter factional fighting. Instead of professionalising in order to enter the mainstream, a series of farcical errors, hastily invented rulings and public insult-slinging has left UKIP in tatters.

 Posted: 5 Aug 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments

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“Far-right lynch mob” takes over UKIP’s Youth Conference

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Thursday, 4 August 2016, 13:53


Tobias Andersson, leader of the youth wing of the Sweden Democrats

Tobias Andersson, leader of the youth wing of the Sweden Democrats

UKIP’s youth wing Young Independence (YI) has been criticised on Twitter by Suzanne Evans, UKIP’s Parliamentary spokesperson, for allowing a “far right lynch mob” to control its annual conference in Manchester this weekend.

The controversial guest speakers and demagogic language permeating the YI conference have clearly angered Evans, who tweeted that she was “very disappointed” with the event. The unrepentant organisers struck back at Evans, who is a moderate within the party, labelling her comments “slurs”.

Evans’ tweet and the reply of Edward Sumner (YI National Deputy Chairman), re-tweeted by the YI official account

Guest speaker at the conference was Tobias Andersson, Chairman of the Sweden Democrats’ youth group the 'Young Swedes'. The extreme-right Sweden Democrats (SD) was founded by a former member of Hitler’s SS and had to ban members from wearing Nazi uniforms to their meetings in 1996.

During his speech – a video of which can be found on the YI facebook page – Andersson referenced Sweden’s Viking heritage before saying: “I’m not here to steal your belongings, occupy your houses or attack your women. I suppose you have enough foreigners doing that already”. This comment was met with laughter and a loud round of applause.

Andersson went on to claim that a “cemetery of other cultures” was responsible for turning Sweden into the “rape capital of the world”. He received a standing ovation for his speech.

Speaking at the YI event

Speaking at the YI event

Also speaking at the event was UKIP leadership candidate Bill Etheridge MEP, who used the platform to call for “a ban on the burka” in public places. His support for this controversial policy was directly preceded by a reference to the Brussels bombing, warning that “civilised people are under attack” by “barbaric terrorist murdering scum” and that “we must not be stopped by political correctness by tackling [radical Islam] at its root”.

In other worrying statements Etheridge, who has recently advocated the return of the death penalty and a complete ban on halal and kosher meat, claimed that his UKIP is “not the party of compromise” but “the party of radical change”. He then called on UKIP to pursue policy “without any concerns whatsoever about backlash” or “moral outrage”.

Bill Etheridge MEP

Bill Etheridge MEP

UKIP is facing a profound identity crisis following its success in the EU Referendum and desperately needs to settle on a direction that will redefine the party. That the unapologetic populism of Andersson and Etheridge was welcomed so warmly at the YI conference exposes some worrying currents within the Young Independence movement.

If the future of UKIP is indeed to be found in its young members, then the party could be heading in an altogether darker direction than moderates – such as Suzanne Evans – would like.

 Posted: 4 Aug 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments