Welcome “Westmonster”

Arron Banks is backing a new “anti-establishment” news and comment website to be run by Nigel Farage’s former spinner Michael Heaver. Westmonster” will apparently be “modelled on the Drudge Report”, so expect plenty of external links aggregating Brexit/UKIP news stories. This is Heaver’s second attempt at an aggregator website. Certainly interesting to see if it takes off – Heaver can tap into the social media following from Banks’ Leave.EU so he will be starting with a very decent Facebook presence. The site is not to be confused with the Westmonster which launched in 2007 and went bust a year or so later.

Westmonster will enter the crowded ideological media space ocupied by the likes of Breitbart London and Conservative Woman, offering op-eds and hot takes starting with Farage today. There is a niche for alt-right style viral news and opinion, and as Breitbart have found it brings a lot of trash traffic. Tough to maintain credibility while chasing those sorts of clicks though. So what can readers expect? Links in the Westmonster ‘trending’ section this morning include “Brits want burka banned”, its first blog rails against “wall-to-wall bitching and whining from Remoaners”Guido wishes them well…

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

raheem-twibons-ahead
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

Arron Banks Keen to Bankroll Leadsom Campaign

UKIP donor Arron Banks’ spokesman says he is keen to help out Andrea Leadsom’s leadership campaign in any way possible, including financially. This morning Banks’ Leave.EU group endorsed Andrea after internal polling showed she was their supporters’ choice. Both Tory and Labour Leave.EU supporters say Andrea is their favourite – 30 plus Leave MPs are expected to back her too. Banks’ team quickly released the above graphic and promise further online posters in their inimitable style. Worth noting Leadsom and her husband have money of their own so may not need a bankroller. Though Leave.EU will be telling their million plus social media followers to back Leadsom. She may want to ask them to tone down those ISIS / Orlando / Kalashnikov posters from the referendum campaign…

UPDATE:

Campaign Report: 10 Days to Go

p-o-p-31-6

Leave message: Three quarter of a million new EU citizens now have the right to come to the UK.

Remain message: Gordon Brown says Brexit would be bad for jobs.

Cut through: Nothing really.

Leave social media count: 484,206 likes, 58,937 followers.

Remain social media count: 472,414 likes, 37,955 followers.

Odds: Remain 4/7, Leave 9/5

Latest poll: Remain 45% (+3), Leave 50% (+5) (ICM, phone). Poll of Polls is now Remain 48% (-3), Leave 52% (+3).

Leave.EU on Hook for £500,000 Brexit Gig

east-17-small

Leave.EU’s Brexit music fest BPop Live has suffered a spate of pullouts from its star-studded line-up after the Mirror/Buzzfeed fun police called up the talent and told them it was a political event. They lost their last big name, East 17, yesterday, though Stay Another Day didn’t really work for this anyway. Guido hears Leave.EU are on the hook for half a million quid for the concert at the 16,000 capacity Genting Arena in Birmingham. A new line-up will be announced shortly, one plan under consideration is to get past patriotic Eurovision entries to sing for Britain once again. You can still buy your tickets here

Vote Leave Say No Merger

dear-me

Once again the two main Leave campaigns are doing their laundry in public. Leave.EU’s Arron Banks has written to Vote Leave blaming their campaign director Dom Cummings for being “the only person standing in the way” of a merger.

“As I have said previously, the only person apparently standing in the way of a formal merger is Dominic Cummings. With his latest comments suggesting the Prime Minister use anything other than Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to initiate our withdrawal from the EU, he has become a liability and a danger to both Leave campaigns.

I have stressed before, the importance of having one united ‘Leave’ campaign as I believe it is counter-productive to the end goal that we are both deploying resources on grassroots activists and the media. 

I therefore extend my hand, again, for us to open up talks about how we can move forward as one unstoppable campaign devoted to securing a Leave vote and only a Leave vote in the one and only referendum we will have.”

Which is slightly odd considering Leave.EU reportedly offered Cummings a massive sum to jump over to them.

A Vote Leave spokesman says curtly: “There will be no merger.”

At the weekend the Leave side took a six point lead in the polls. Yet some Outers still seem more interested in arguing amongst themselves…

Listen: Leave.EU’s Official Anthem

Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Silver cities rise,
The morning lights
The streets that meet them,
And sirens call them on
With a song.

Its asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

We the great and small
Stand on a star
And blaze a trail of desire
Through the dark’ning dawn.

It’s asking for the taking.
Come run with me now,
The sky is the colour of blue
You’ve never even seen
In the eyes of your lover.

Oh, my heart is aching.
We’re coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

It’s asking for the taking.
Trembling, shaking.
Oh, my heart is aching.

Were coming to the edge,
Running on the water,
Coming through the fog,
Your sons and daughters.

Let the river run,
Let all the dreamers
Wake the nation.
Come, the New Jerusalem.

Well, it’s certainly different.

Another Poll Has Leave Ahead

GEGS

Several polls over the last month or so have put the Leave campaign ahead of the Remainers, or at the very least had them neck and neck. This morning ORB has the Leavers up 5 points to 52%, while the Remainers sink by five points to 48%. This is the first time that ORB have recorded majority support for Brexit. 

Even better news is that Vote Leave and Leave.EU have started merger talks. A lead in the polls boosted by a united campaign for Brexit would make things interesting…

Farage: Free Movement of People Means Free Movement of Jihadis

Around 1,000 people watched Nigel Farage’s Basingstoke speech on the Paris attacks last night, which was punchy even for him. The UKIP leader wasted no time in immediately declaring to rapturous applause:

“there is a problem with some of the Muslim community in this country… We have a fifth column that we have welcomed in…”

Farage then mocked Cameron’s demands for EU reform as reminiscent of Chamberlain’s Munich Agreement, going as far as to wave a piece of paper around. Yesterday Guido noted how Nigel had a point when he predicted ISIS would pose as refugees, last night he went further:

“The warnings were pretty clear… ISIS said they would use the migrant tide to flood the EU with half a million jihadists… I would suggest 5000 is too many… 500 is too many… it only took eight to cause that destruction in Paris the other night… This dream of the free movement of people, this dream for others of the Schengen area. It hasn’t just meant the free movement of people, it has meant the free movement of Kalashnikov rifles. It has meant the free movement of terrorists, and it has meant the free movement of jihadists.”

Guido was rather surprised when he went to the bar for a post-speech pint with a co-conspirator, only to be told UKIP had requested they didn’t serve alcohol…

#CamsCon: New UKIP Attack Video

UKIP HQ have released a new attack video today to coincide with the launch of cameronscon.com, a site soliciting donations for UKIP’s referendum campaign.

Guido has seen higher production values…



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Quote of the Day

Theresa May tells Bercow:

“Mr Speaker-elect, can I congratulate you on your re-election. At least someone got a landslide.”

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