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The New Face of UKIP?

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Monday, 25 July 2016, 11:35


Steven Woolfe MEP, potential next Leader of UKIP

Steven Woolfe MEP, potential next Leader of UKIP

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.

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

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

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

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Revealing tweets from UKIP up-and-comer

posted by: David Lawrence | on: Tuesday, 19 July 2016, 15:24


Dan Jukes & his choice words

Dan Jukes & his choice words

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.

Dan Jukes: an up-and-comer inside UKIP

Dan Jukes: an up-and-comer inside UKIP

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