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

mdi-timer 31st October 2016 @ 4:01 pm 31st Oct 2016 @ 4:01 pm mdi-comment Comments
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…

mdi-timer 31st October 2016 @ 9:41 am 31st Oct 2016 @ 9:41 am mdi-comment Comments
Rich’s Monday Morning View

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mdi-timer 24th October 2016 @ 7:51 am 24th Oct 2016 @ 7:51 am mdi-comment Comments
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.”

mdi-timer 23rd October 2016 @ 10:31 am 23rd Oct 2016 @ 10:31 am mdi-comment Comments
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…

mdi-timer 23rd October 2016 @ 10:11 am 23rd Oct 2016 @ 10:11 am mdi-comment Comments
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…

mdi-timer 21st October 2016 @ 2:55 pm 21st Oct 2016 @ 2:55 pm mdi-comment Comments
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