posted by: David Lawrence | on: Friday, 7 October 2016, 10:37
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.
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
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Wednesday, 21 September 2016, 17:47
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.
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
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Thursday, 4 August 2016, 13:53
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”.
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.
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”.
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
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Monday, 25 July 2016, 11:35
Following its unexpected success in the EU Referendum, UKIP is facing great difficulties and even greater opportunities.
The inability of UKIP’s leaders to outline a clear set of post-Brexit policies has left it without direction and struggling to find purpose. The subsequent abdication of Nigel Farage and his assumed heir Paul Nuttall, has plunged the party into the instability of a leadership race.
However questionable the actions of Farage and Nuttall, UKIP now has the chance to rebrand and reorganise. It has long been shambolic at branch level and unable to capitalise on its potential wider appeal; it has also been in financial chaos since the 2015 General Election.
This is all well known to Arron Banks, the financial powerhouse behind UKIP and the Leave.EU Campaign, who has now thrown his considerable weight behind MEP Steven Woolfe’s bid to redefine the party.
Woolfe does not fit the mould of the archetypal UKIP politician and has the potential to mobilise the angry, politically-abandoned, ex-Labour voters that have swept the UK towards Brexit. He also has a chance to modernise UKIP’s image for mass appeal.
After a hastily-invented ruling disqualified former deputy chairman Suzanne Evans and Douglas Carswell MP (who, more interested in free-trade economics than immigration and crime, are largely incapable of speaking to the disaffected working classes) the only real rival is Jonathan Arnott MEP. Arnott, however, lacks both the public-speaking ability and the crucial backing of Banks. Woolfe is likely to be the victor.
After publicising his upbringing on a Manchester council estate, Woolfe has promised to “ruthlessly” target Labour voters. “To old Labour voters let down by your party, I say UKIP will give you a voice”, he pledged as he announced his leadership bid last Friday. Given his background, his claims that Labour’s leadership is comprised of “metropolitan out of touch liberal elitists” are much more resonant then coming from the mouth of southern, publicly-schooled, former-City trader Farage.
Woolfe could also help soften UKIP’s image in an attempt to make it more palatable to the mainstream. He is a slick media performer and drops the combative style of Nuttall and Farage to speak more moderately on controversial subjects. Of mixed-race heritage, he is also more able to deflect claims of racism than former UKIP leaders. Since announcing his leadership bid Woolfe has signalled his wish to shed UKIP’s populist image, stating that “Ukip isn’t Left-wing or Right-wing. It’s just sensible”.
In substance, however, Woolfe’s known policies offer much of the same. His northern working class appeal obscures his voiced desire for unfettered market capitalism and the privatisation the NHS; his more moderate image conceals the same discriminatory, “Australian points”-style immigration policy. What he seems to be in essence is a more palatable version of the same blend of blanket discrimination, divisive fear-mongering and Thatcherite economics that UKIP has offered over the last five years.
Woolfe’s leadership is still not certain. If he is successful, his effectiveness as a leader is unknown. However he could be well-placed to eat into the support base of a bedraggled Labour party while harnessing the disappointment many Brexiters feel about a Remain politician (Theresa May) emerging as Prime Minister. All those concerned by the mainstreaming of inequitable, discriminatory right-wing policies should keep a careful eye on UKIP in the months to come.
Posted: 25 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Tuesday, 19 July 2016, 15:24
The above was tweeted by Dan Jukes, UKIP’s Digital Manager, in response to an article in The Independent by former UKIP advisor Sarinder Joshua Duroch.
Duroch, a British national of Indian heritage, claims he was forced to leave UKIP after he was harassed by the leadership to withdraw an official complaint of racial abuse against a member of the Sweden Democrats, a radical-right ally of UKIP in the European Parliament.
He is now one of a growing number of UKIP members from ethnic minority backgrounds to renounce the party.
Meanwhile, Dan Jukes is a rising star within UKIP and plays a key role in UKIP’s public image, directing its web campaigns. He is also a prominent member of UKIP’s “Young Independents” youth movement.
One can only hazard a guess as to who exactly Jukes is talking about when he complains about Duroch’s “type” and the lack of gratitude for UKIP’s apparent generosity.
In under 140 characters Jukes has revealed a great deal about both his own world view and the sort of attitudes tolerated within UKIP towards its ethnic minority members.
Posted: 19 Jul 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Tuesday, 21 June 2016, 17:12
Whilst UKIP are busy accusing the Remain campaign of politicising the tragic death of Jo Cox MP last Thursday, UKIP’s Bury, Lancashire branch have made the appalling suggestion that Cox was murdered by pro-EU interests.
A theory being promulgated amongst conspiracy theorists within the Brexit campaign points to the “striking similarities” between the deaths of Jo Cox and Ann Lindh, the pro-Euro former Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Lindh was stabbed to death in 2003, three days before Sweden voted on whether to join the Euro. Some conspiracy theorists have claimed Lindh was murdered by vested interests in an unsuccessful bid to mobilise public outrage and sway the vote in favour of joining the Euro.
Parallels are being drawn by likeminded crackpots to the murder of Cox, suggesting that she was similarly assassinated in order to deliberately suspend the Brexit debate and slow the momentum of the Leave campaign.
The below post, shared on UKIP’s Bury branch Facebook page, echoes these assertions and makes direct links between Cox’s and Lindh’s deaths.
Linked in the post is a video entitled “Striking similarities between the deaths of MP Jo Cox and Swedish Minister Anna Lindh”, featuring a talk by right-wing politician François Asselineau, leader of the French party Union Populaire Républicaine. Asselineau compares Lindh’s killer Mijailo Mijailović to Lee Harvey Oswald and calls him “a man pulled out of a hat” by Lindh’s pro-Euro assassins. Asselineau is widely regarded as a conspiracy theorist in France.
A commenter on the post wonders if the murder was “Planned at the Bilderberg group? The NWO [New World Order]?”, before somehow tying it to a wider Muslim conspiracy involving Barrack Obama.
Other Brexiters on the far right have drawn the same wild conclusions from Cox’s murder. Below is an assortment of tweets calling the murder a “False flag”. Joining this chorus is Jack Buckby the far-right party Liberty GB and the sole contester of Cox’s seat in Batley and Spen.
By blaming the murders of Cox and Lindh on pro-EU hitmen, the Ukippers spouting this conspiracy are blatantly – and hypocritically – politicising both deaths for the Brexit cause.
Posted: 21 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: David Lawrence | on: Tuesday, 21 June 2016, 11:02
As the Brexit debate continues to sour, accusations are being hurled within UKIP’s gaffe-prone Cornwall branch. The below exchange shows St Ives Branch Chairman, Stuart Guppy, accusing a former Chairman of petty vandalism after several of UKIP’s “Vote to Leave” signs were destroyed near Falmouth.
Guppy is a UKIP veteran and has been awarded a medal by them for his 20 years service in St Ives. The ex- Chairman at the receiving end of Guppy’s blame is understood to have resigned following concerns about racist currents within the St Ives branch under Guppy’s leadership. This included a series of severely antisemitic tweets emanating from the Ukip St Ives & Scilles twitter account in which Jewish people are described as being “not quite fit for purpose” due to “medical deficiency”, which was followed by anapparent bungled cover-up.
UKIP previously came under scrutiny in Cornwall when Rosie Ward became the youngest ever UKIP Chairman taking control of the Camborne, Redruth and Hayle branch. The appointment proved controversial as Ward has previously been a columnist for the “Culturalism” blog of far-right extremist Jack Buckby, who has recently announced his plans to contest Jo Cox’s former seat with the far-right party Liberty GB. A UKIP insider has informed us that Guppy was Ward’s “entry point” into the party.
UKIP once hailed Cornwall as a success story after they topped the 2014 European Elections vote with 37% and retained their six councillors in the 2013 local elections. However this boasting has been replaced by a quiet embarrassment following these controversies and subsequent walk outs by their councillors; as of Mark Hick’s resignation in April 2016 just two of their six elected councillors remain. The petty finger-pointing over vandalised signs is further evidence of the chaos currently reigning in Cornwall.
Posted: 21 Jun 2016 | There are 0 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Sarah Archibald | on: Monday, 20 June 2016, 16:22
Whilst the nation expresses its disgust at the brutal murder of Labour MP Jo Cox, some just cannot stop themselves from spewing their hatred and attempting to deflect and undermine her horrific murder.
Attached is a post made yesterday on social media by Lee Harris, UKIP’s county council candidate for Shotton and South Hetton last year.
It is hard to understand what motivates anyone, let alone someone who seeks to be an elected representative, to espouse such hateful views.
Harris has described Jo Cox's views as "cancerous to this nation" and suggests there is some kind of conspiracy afoot. This sort of vile language from UKIP is the very sort of vile language and behaviour the House of Commons came together today to condemn.
I wonder of UKIP will choose to condemn it aswell?
Posted: 20 Jun 2016 | There are 2 comments | make a comment/view comments
posted by: Sarah Archibald | on: Tuesday, 14 June 2016, 21:11
The 'Out' campaign has been under fire recently for allowing their campaign to be hijacked by neo-nazis.
Today, UKIP leader Nigel Farage was in Bexley, south London. He seemed very happy to demand that we 'take our country back' even allowing himself to be photographed with and then tweeting the photos of some of those who helped UKIP campaign.
And my, didn't it make for interesting viewing! With Nigel today were Wayne "Scrooge" a well known English Defence League (EDL) activist, another EDL activist James Pudderfoot and also our old friend, Roger Firth, one of the most senior figures in the racist and violent English Defence League (EDL).
As well as also now being one of the head stewards for Stephen Lennon's anti-Muslim Pegida group, Woolwich based Firth is also infamous for being sent to prison for his part in an Asian gambling syndicate's attempt to sabotage Premiership football matches by causing floodlights to fail during games.
Prior to the EDL, Firth was a lead member of an even more moronic and violent group, the English National Alliance.
Firth was up in Rotherham earlier this month with Lennon, who was trying to stir more trouble in the Yorkshire town.
What nice company Nigel continues to keep.
Posted: 14 Jun 2016 | There are 1 comments | make a comment/view comments