Leave.EU-Backed Raheem Had Little Real Support, Despite Social Media Lead

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The social media profiles of UKIP’s leadership candidates show Raheem Kassam was far ahead of his rivals before he pulled out this morning. The best indicator of online campaign support was the twibbon, where supporters add a campaign slogan to their social media profiles. Raheem had 1,326 twibbons, dwarfing leadership favourite Nuttall’s 214 – and yet all the signs indicate that Nuttall will win. Despite the online support Kassam admitted this morning that one of the reasons for quitting was he couldn’t raise enough money: “While we raised enough for our deposit, and got over 200 assentors to my nomination, we could not raise enough for this to be more than a digital campaign run from SW1”. What does this tell us about the relative importance of digital campaigning?

This has implications for Leave.EU, the pro-Brexit campaign group set up by multi-millionaire businessman Arron Banks, which backed Raheem. Leave.EU claims their huge social media reach* helped create “an extraordinary mass movement, drawing in swathes of voters neglected by the main political parties.” Banks has hinted that this will be the kernel for a new “people’s movement”. Banks is confusing “likes”, “follows” and casual clicktivism with active support. Leave.EU bought Facebook “likes” essentially by buying traffic.

Digital campaigns which enable commitment; donations, offline meetings, phone banking and membership drives do actually achieve something. Campaigns which generate clicks, petition signings and social flag counts are just virtue signalling. The casual easy click is no more substantive or permanent than what is trending online at any moment. Guido speaks as someone who garnered a million signatures and emails in one campaign, Banks has not got the beginnings of a popular movement, he has captured the virtue signals of a moment…

*As Dominic Cummings rightly points out, Facebook’s algorithms mean that Leave EU’s half-a-million “likes” are just a form of digital dick-waving, they achieve nothing in terms of visibility or extending reach. Leave.EU has less than half as many Twitter followers as @GuidoFawkes

Kassam Pulls Out of UKIP Leadership Race

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Raheem Kassam has pulled out of the UKIP leadership race and endorsed Peter Whittle:

After much consideration, I have decided not to pursue my campaign to be UKIP leader any further. This was a very difficult decision, and I want to thank everyone who supported me in the process.

It is a decision I have not taken lightly, but following meetings this weekend I realised the path to victory is too narrow. I would encourage my supporters to back Peter Whittle, who I think would make a fantastic leader of the party.

Kassam complains that “the top of the party is treating this like a coronation” and that his family have been the victim of “disgraceful treatment by the media”. It was fun while it lasted…

UPDATE: Raheem tells Guido his elderly parents were distressed by the press coverage, having journalists knock on their door, and he pulled out to save them further grief. He says Farage yesterday told him to stay in and predicted he’d come second, but Raheem decided that he didn’t want to carry on if he wasn’t going to win. In reality Raheem struggled for support outside teenage social media wackos. “Twitter is not Britain” as someone once said…

Rich’s Monday Morning View

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Kassam Responds to Evans

Trump supporter Raheem Kassam responds to Suzanne Evans calling him “far right”:

“We’re going to rise above it. When she goes low, we go high, to quote Michelle Obama.”

Farage Slams Evans For “Far Right” Attack

After Suzanne called Raheem “far right”, Nigel tells Peston: “I won’t be voting for her, not after that”. It’s war on UKIP Super Sunday…

Super Sunday: UKIP Leadership Declarations Coming

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Stand by for UKIP leadership contenders to make their minds up by Sunday. There are op-eds being lined up in the weekend papers, before Suzanne Evans and Paul Nuttall tour the Sunday morning politics programmes. Suzanne has been gathering signatures so she looks set to announce. All eyes on Nuttall, who some prominent Kippers think has plucked up the courage to run. Farage is also appearing on Peston. Raheem Kassam will be spending the weekend with the grassroots, trying to close the gap on the others who’ve done years on the rubber chicken circuit. We’ll have a better idea of who the next leader will be in 72 hours time…

UKIP Leadership State of Play

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With Steven Woolfe out and more candidates throwing their hats into the ring, Guido brings you an update on the UKIP leadership race:

Suzanne Evans: Quietly gathering signatures for her nomination. Her suspension has lapsed, she should be a member in good standing for 28 days (we think) and thus eligible. Bookies’ favourite. Will her closeness to the Farage-hating Carswell faction cost her with the grassroots?

Paul Nuttall: Other candidates fear Nuttall will win if he stands. This Telegraph article sounds like he wants it. Though there is no noticeable effort to gather signatures, he didn’t want to run last time and will be asking himself if it’s really worth it. Dithering or not bothering at all?

Raheem Kassam: Loudly gathering the necessary signatures. Has been campaigning hard online and thinks he has enough signatures to submit the paperwork on Sunday. If Nuttall doesn’t run there is a possibility Raheem could actually do it. His price to win is tighter than Trump’s!

Peter Whittle: UKIP’s London mayoral candidate is popular in the capital. While campaigning in Witney he appeared on one of Kassam’s campaign videos and even said his rival’s slogan: “Make UKIP Great Again”, though he tells Guido he is not on Team Raheem. Also quietly gathering signatures.

Bill Etheridge: Said he’d stand unless there was somebody he could back 100%. Accused of cheating by his fiancee. Has been round the rubber chicken circuit.

David Kurten: Lower profile, tried to be nominated as UKIP’s mayoral candidate with a false London address. When Breitbart asked him how he responded to allegations of racism in UKIP he replied: “UKIP isn’t racist, I love white people!”

Suzanne, Nuttall and Raheem are the frontrunners…

Suzanne Evans Bookies’ New Front Runner

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Above shows the latest odds from the bookies courtesy of Betdata.io. In a situation that is very fluid the betting markets are probably the best place to gain insight into the candidate’s support – real money rather than spin. Woolfe pulling out is good for Kassam, his chances have since shot up, with a lot of his Faragist support going to Raheem. He’s running a characteristically energetic campaign online.

Suzanne Evans is the bookies’ favourite and the truth of that position is bolstered by YouGov polling:

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This situation will change rapidly. The YouGov polling above was done before Woolfe had quit and Kassam had declared. It is still unclear if Nuttall is definitely running. Suzanne has not exactly been campaigning hard having only had it confirmed yesterday by the UKIP NEC that she could be a candidate. Nominations close on Halloween, the full horror show finishes on November 28…

UKIP NEC Rules Kassam and Evans Can Run

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UKIP’s NEC has ditched the requirement for leadership candidates to have been members for two years, reducing the minimum membership period to 28 days. Candidates will now need 75 signatures to put their name forward, an increase of 25. What does this all mean? Raheem Kassam and Suzanne Evans WILL be eligible to stand…

The timetable is as follows:

“Applications will close at 12pm GMT (noon) on Monday October 31st 2016. Ballots will be sent to members shortly after 11th November and we will be announcing who will be our new Leader on Monday 28th November.”

Nuttall and Kassam are the frontrunners in online polls

UKIP Leader Runners & Riders

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After the surprise resignation of new UKIP leader Diane James, Guido brings you the latest runners and riders in UKIP’s leadership battle (odds from Betfair):

Paul Nuttall – Evens

Forever in Farage’s shadow, Nuttall has been deputy leader of UKIP for the last six years. His Liverpudlian roots could appeal to the working class north in a way that Evans or Kassam could only ever dream. The favourite after the fracas despite not yet confirming that he is standing…

Steven Woolfe – 2/1

The front runner in the last leadership contest until he forgot to submit his papers on time. Woolfe seemed to take the latest UKIP fight literally when he was in an alleged punch up with fellow MEP Mike Hookem. No longer the favourite post fracas and leaking of his talks with the Conservative Party.

Suzanne Evans – 4/1

Suzanne Evans was a  Conservative Party councillor who defected to UKIP in 2013.  Highly praised for writing UKIP’s 2015 manifesto, she was later suspended from the party for criticising a fellow candidate. Close to Carswell. Evans’s suspension has lapsed just in time for the latest contest.

Raheem Kassam – 15/1

Nigel Farage’s former chief of staff and current London editor of Breitbart, Kassam has already launched his online campaign to be leader with the slogan “Make UKIP great again” but his odds have been widening in the last few days. Most observers think he’s really running for the deputy-leader spot. The former Conservative Party activist is making a big thing of attacking “Blue Kippers”Like Nigel he’s very much a Marmite character.

Bill Etheridge – 27/1

MEP for the West Midlands and another former Conservative Party member. In the last leadership election he was accused of cheating by his fiancee when she found a half empty packet of Viagra in his car. Lad.

UKIP’s NEC is meeting this coming Monday to determine rules and timeframe…

UPDATE: Guido is told that Peter Whittle AM, UKIP’s former candidate for London mayor is also in the running (currently 27/1). A cultured fellow, if Guido’s memory serves him right he too is also a former Conservative Party member.

Kassam Running For UKIP Leader

Nigel Farage’s former top aide Raheem Kassam has entered the race for UKIP leader, Guido can reveal. A website called MakeUKIPGreatAgain.com has been set up by Kassam’s campaign team, and he tells Guido:

“I, like ordinary UKIP members, am so tired of the chicanery at the top of this party. There is so much corruption. There is so much duplicity. There are so many people shaking hands with one another and then knifing them in private. It has to stop.

I’m clear about what I stand for: a strong, united UKIP, free of the Tory splitters. I want this party to continue to be the driving force behind Brexit. I want us to address the deep cultural and social divides in this country. I want us to champion causes like Justice for Marine A and tackle the scourge of Islamism in our schools, prisons, and communities. I want us to become the real opposition and put this feckless Labour Party to bed.

UKIP has a positive future in a sovereign Britain, but it won’t happen unless someone with some courage and willpower does something about the internal fractures. I want to Make UKIP Great Again.”

Raheem, a recently renewed UKIP member as of two months ago, says he is running for leader but is open to offers to be a credible candidate’s deputy too. Can Trump cope without him?

Breitbart Boss to Run Trump Campaign

Donald Trump has hired pugnacious Breitbart chief Steve Bannon as his new campaign CEO. Bannon was instrumental in founding Breitbart London, he’s a former officer in the US navy who loved British writers like James Delingpole and had dreams of a Tea Party-style anti-establishment movement in the UK. He is an admirer of UKIP though he wishes they didn’t keep selling out and were a bit more right-wing. He signed up both Farage as a columnist and Raheem Kassam (later Nigel’s chief aide) as his London editor. Bannon is a no-nonsense, tough operator who says “we call ourselves the Fight Club. You don’t come to us for warm and fuzzy”Raheem in the White House?

Faragists Vow to “Declare Full Scale War on UKIP”

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Nigel Farage’s allies have promised to “declare full scale war on UKIP” if Steven Woolfe is kept off the ballot today, as is expected. Multiple allies of Woolfe say they believe the NEC will decide to block their man from standing for leader. Opponents of Woolfe also say they believe the NEC will rule against him. Sources close to Woolfe say they are aware of the speculation but are waiting for the official announcement at midday. So what happens next?

Guido is told that Farage has been keeping a close eye on proceedings. Nigel is still the leader and has the power to appoint a new chairman and cancel the leadership process. He is firmly of the view that Woolfe is being stitched up by anti-Farage factions on the NEC. Farage allies say they have evidence of conflicts of interest among anti-Woolfe NEC members, including personal relationships, which they believe make the leadership process not fit for purpose. Farage is ready to press the nuclear button if necessary…

Arron Banks, UKIP’s largest donor, says he will call an Extraordinary General Meeting to effectively abolish the NEC and reshape the party’s entire structure. Banks says Woolfe is the victim of a “coup” attempt by allies of Neil Hamilton. Raheem Kassam, Farage’s former chief aide, threatens:

“If Steven Woolfe is kept off the ballot for spurious reasons, I will declare full scale war on UKIP, using all the assets and sources at my disposal to topple the Tory establishment that is trying to take over the party. That’s a warning and a promise.”

A war is coming and it is going to be bloody…

Raheem Running?

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Raheem Kassam hinted on Newsnight last night that he was considering running for UKIP leader. This morning a source with knowledge of the matter tells Guido that Kassam will only run if Arron Banks doesn’t throw his hat in the ring. Run Raheem, run!

On Comments & Readership

TRAFFIC-GROWTH

Back in 2009, when Guido was a one man blog, the site generated just over 9 million page views. With 3 bloggers in the following 2010 election year the site generated just short of 19 million hits. In the 2015 election year the site got just short of 35 million hits from over 7 million unique users. We’re on trend to reach 10 million users and 50 million hits by 2020…

Unlike most of our digital rivals we don’t have any debts or hordes of hungry venture capitalists to placate. Nor are we subsidised by billionaires or union barons. We are growing organically rather than going for a profitless land-grab…

This is a good time to update readers on our periodical jihad against toxic, boring repetitive comments from people to whom you would not want to be sat next to in a pub. We want the comments to be like a fun pub with a good atmosphere and friendly banter. Last year we introduced Disqus comment registration and we were told – by the same boring, repetitive comment makers – that it would be the end of the site. Traffic rose. We blocked 20 toxic trolls last month and it made little difference to even the number of comments received, we still had 81,772 comments. We warned toxic trolls they were in danger of getting blocked and we blocked them for repeat offences. That is our arbitrary policy.

commentsThey can of course come back if they make the effort of using a combination of new email addresses and proxy servers. Guido has only one question: why bother? There is a website that is almost entirely focused on immigration and Islam – the issues that motivate comment bores most. 2014’sIslamophobe of the Year“, Raheem Kassam, confirms that he has no intention of blocking anyone. Breitbart is the place for you to bang on repetitively in a forum that welcomes you. Guido asked Raheem did he welcome our banned comment makers? He replied:

“Bring me your (sick and) tired, your poor (grammar), your angry masses, yearning to be free (to say what they want).”

Go where you are appreciated. Bye, bye! 

Farage Says Cologne Rapists Could Come to UK

Raheem Kassam was up against Giles Fraser on the subject:

Raheem Kassam v Owen Bennett

A spectacular media commentariat bitch fight this week, as HuffPo’s Owen Bennett needled Breitbart’s Raheem Kassam over his reporting of the Oldham by-election. Cue an Israeli-style response from Raheem.

How Lefties Lose Immigration Debate

Fair to say Sky News could have found a better proponent of the pro-immigration argument than the hapless Mr Butt…

Farage Wants to Play a Big Role in EU Referendum

Farage’s former chief of staff says he must be a player in the referendum campaign. Helpfully he described UKIP’s London HQ as “like a fucking playground” in the Guardian yesterday. Going on Newsnight later Emily Maitlis asks Raheem about Douglas Carswell “I just don’t think he fits into a political party.” Guido completely endorses Raheem’s concept of an 8 bottle “proper f***ing lunch”..

Turmoil at Breitbart London

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Guido understands that shock-jock firebrands James Delingpole and Milo Yiannopou‎los are both exiting Breitbart London. The return of Farage’s former chief of staff Raheem Kassam to Breitbart has left the two in despair, after they had spent nine months trying to move the site away from the hectoring Tea Party-style news service Kassam ran it as during his previous stint at the site.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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John McDonnell does a funny:

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