Monday 2 June 2014

Breitbart has lost the plot

Breitbart: Low grade Ukip toss-rag.
I had not intended for this blog to be relentlessly critical of Ukip, but for the moment Ukip is news, and as someone who wants Britain to leave the EU, Ukip is a significant part of my sphere of interest. Its performance, or the lack thereof, is paramount.

For a party that has allegedly caused an earthquake in British politics, you would think they would have updated their website by now, but it has not - for a whole five days. But never ye mind! Breitbart London is now doing a better of job of being the Ukip website.

Today Raheem Kassam complains that "The media has been quick to press Nigel Farage on all his policies for everything else, conveniently forgetting that none of the other major political parties have disclosed their manifesto commitments for the 2015 General Election. But that's okay, right? It's Farage."

Rather missing the point methinks. Y'see we know what we are getting from the mainstream parties; pretty much more of the same. In Ukip we have an upstart party promising to sweep out the rot and restore Britain (and politics in general) to its former glory.  So we might well then enquire what it has in mind. If we are to have a grand revolution, it might be a good idea for them to spell out what they intend to do.

Kassam writes that "While all that is occurring on TV screens and in newspaper columns, cyberkippers (UKIP supporters with computers) are debating what platforms the party should stand on at the next election. Journalists would do well to plug into these conversations that are taking place in web forums and on Facebook: they reveal a depth to your average kipper that often goes unreported."

Does he realise what he is saying here? If we wish to know what Ukip is about then we must trawl the comments and forums to pick up on what Ukip supporters are suggesting as policy? Are we supposed to take this (and Ukip) seriously?

Moreover, he cherry-picks two anonymous commenters from which to draw his conclusion that "The party is making inroads into 'conservative at heart, with a libertarian streak' territory – just the sort of live and let live philosophy that the Conservatives used to stand for under Margaret Thatcher."  This in the same week Farage himself has gone to great lengths to distance Ukip from Thatcherism.

In fact, Ukip has distanced itself from a great many of the suggested policies over the years (namely flat tax), to the point where I have a great deal of difficulty working out if it stands for anything at all, apart from an ill-defined ambition to leave the EU and to slow immigration. If Ukippers themselves do not know what they are voting for, why on earth should we follow?

But supposing we were to take Kassam seriously, you only have to spend five minutes looking at Ukipper comments on The Telegraph to know that Ukippers range from illiterate reactionary bores to the downright nasty. If these people are the measure by which we are supposed to judge Ukip then the mainstream media is not that far off the mark. 

Of course it would be nice to raise these points with Breitbart readers, but Breitbart has now adopted The Guardian's moderation policy: delete contrary opinions and ban the user. That is rather a pity. I had high hopes for a Breitbart UK operation, but if being a tabloid propaganda vessel for Ukip is the height of their ambition then it can simply go on the ignore list. That said, this is entirely redundant if Raheem Kassam is what passes as worthy commentary.

If that is the lofty standard I must reach then perhaps I should close this humble blog and instead run a gushing Ukip fan-boy site. It would get ten times the readers, a pat on the head by The Great Leader - and retweets aplenty from fawning admirers. Maybe even become an MEP one day? Integrity is a waste of time, that's for damn sure.

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