UKIP Spin Shuffle: Farage Gets New Comms Chief

Changes behind the scenes in Nigel Farage’s top team: his no nonsense head of media Michael Heaver is departing to set up a new media venture and make the case for UKIP on TV. He will be replaced by up-and-comer Dan Jukes, who previously worked on the digital side of things. It’s a busy job – Nigel’s comms chief has to field media bids around the clock. Often while at lunch. Herman Kelly in Brussels is still doing international media. Guido fact: Jukes and Heaver call themselves “the Brylcreem Boys” due to their metropolitan penchant for male grooming…

Expensive Lunch With Farage

Never let it be said that Guido doesn’t keep his word. His bet against Trump had to be settled. Lunch was no PFL – only a two bottler of a reasonable premier grand cru – Guido had to catch a flight and Nigel is doing Question Time tonight. In the circumstances Nige’ picked up the tab…

Core Labour Vote There For UKIP’s Taking

A report out this morning from the National Centre for Social Research gives weight to the theory that Labour’s core vote is there for UKIP’s taking. 70% of voters in local authority rented homes voted Leave, as did 68% of those in housing association accommodation.

66% of those earning less than £1,200 per month backed Brexit, as well as 53% in Wales, 58% in Yorkshire, 54% in the North West and 58% in the North East.

70% of people who said their financial situation was a struggle backed Brexit, as did 59% of those identifying as working class.

Even 40% of ‘young working class Labour voters’ backed Brexit. The report asks:

“Could there be a re-alignment of party politics along the cleavages identified? Can the Labour Party remain a strong force in working class and low income communities?”

With numbers like these Paul Nuttall will be rubbing his hands…

UKIP By-Election Effort Lacking, Again

hyke

Whether or not UKIP is successful in making inroads in the north is very much dependent on whether the party professionalises and gets a proper election machine together. It would help if they got the name of the constituency right on the banner behind Nigel on live TV. It’s Hykeham not Hykenham. Amateur hour…

Suzanne Evans Meeting With Top Tory MEP Tonight

The EyeSpy.MP Twitter account has chanced upon an intriguing meeting between Suzanne Evans and the Tories’ main man in Brussels Syed Kamall, which took place just hours after the UKIP leadership announcement. Guido is sure it was an entirely innocent chance encounter… 

Suzanne Loses £5,000 Deposit

suzanne

The UKIP leadership contest was costly for Suzanne Evans: she unfortunately fell just short of the 20% needed to keep her £5,000 deposit. Added to the £5,000 she owed UKIP this summer, that means the party will have asked her for ten grand in the last few months. That’s around a fifth of UKIP’s total donations this quarter…

Nuttall Attacks Labour IRA Sympathisers: “I Want to Replace the Labour Party”


Northern Labour MPs are already tweeting panicky slap-dash attacks on Nuttall’s old views on the NHS. It’s not enough and betrays how scared they now are…

Paul Nuttall Wins UKIP Leadership

nuttall

Paul Nuttall has won the UKIP leadership ballot and will replace Nigel Farage as UKIP leader, beating Suzanne Evans and John Rees-Evans.

Paul Nuttall – 9622 votes 62.6%
Suzanne Evans – 2973 votes 19.3%
John Rees-Evans–  2775 votes 18.1%

Rees-Evans almost managed to beat Suzanne Evans into third place despite being almost completely unknown before the contest. His social media presence was good and after walking out of a hustings he pledged to meet more UKIP members which may have helped his share of the vote. It seem that gay donkey rape comment didn’t hurt…

UPDATE: Peter Whittle is new Deputy Leader

Farage Speech at the Ritz

Nigel Farage recounts the year of the revolution at his victory party at the Ritz…

Abbott’s Immigration Stance Will Boost UKIP

abbott-immigration

Writing on LabourList Diane Abbott says Labour can’t “out-UKIP UKIP” on immigration to win back supporters who are switching to the purple people’s army, so they should do the opposite. Bear in mind that Jeremy Corbyn has appointed Abbott as Labour’s official spokesperson on immigration…

Her strategy is to win progressive pro-immigration voters back from the Greens, SNP and LibDems..

SNP and LibDem voters are closer to Labour supporters on immigration, much closer. (The Greens are not included in the chart below, but their supporters have a net 48 per cent favourable attitude to immigration). On this issue they are perhaps the closest to Labour supporters’ views. These are among the voters Labour should find it easier to win over, or win back.

One snag. There are not enough of these pro-immigration voters that could be peeled off from rival “progressive” parties to give Labour victory. She will however drive even more Labour voters to UKIP….

UPDATE: Michael Dugher has laid into Diane Abbott as  being “wilfully naïve”:

“I’m sure Diane wishes to grow the Labour vote, rather than stick with the defeats of 2010 and 2015 or, worse, risk taking the party further backwards. But this ‘no compromise with the electorate’ attitude is the political equivalent of the charge of the Light Brigade and it can only bring disaster for Labour.”

Farage Jokes About Trump Touching Theresa May

He made the joke on TalkRadio earlier and added: “I could be there as the responsible adult to make sure everything is OK.” Ambassador Farage?

UKIP’s John Rees-Evans Storms Out of Hustings

UKIP leadership contender and donkey gay rape banter enthusiast John Rees-Evans stormed out of a hustings in Newport last night after laying into the party hierarchy. He was angry at being told he wasn’t allowed to attack other candidates and told Guido that it was “patronising the membership”. Rees-Evans was unhappy at the hustings process which “only goes as far north as Leeds” and is now free to accept his no doubt numerous invitations from UKIP branches. At least one person has endorsed his move:

raheem

What a team they might have been.

Whittle Pulls Out

Peter Whittle has pulled out of the UKIP leadership race and endorsed Paul Nuttall:

“To meet the new challenges which the future holds, UKIP needs a leader who knows the party inside out and who can command the loyalty of members across the board.

“So after a great deal of thought, I have decided to withdraw from the leadership contest and recommend wholeheartedly that members vote for Paul Nuttall.

“I would like to thank those members and supporters who planned to support me, but I have become convinced that the sheer breadth of Paul’s political experience, his dedication to the values of the party and the obvious affection in which he is held by members make him the person who is best placed to take us forward.”

And then there were three, well two and the gay donkey rape banter guy.

UKIP’s First Hustings Report

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When Guido turned up at the UKIP leadership hustings last night his cover was nearly blown when Michael Crick ambushed him with a camera and asked if he was a kipper. Thankfully he managed to escape to take his seat.

Nuttall got the biggest cheer of the night and whilst almost every candidate said what the audience wanted to hear, Nuttall consistently delivered it the best. The former mayoral candidate Peter Whittle managed to praise Nuttall at every opportunity and the pair could be seen whispering like naughty children whilst the others were speaking.  Could Whittle pull out soon to endorse Nuttall?

Highlight of the night was Suzanne Evans saying she supported an English flag on every house in Emily Thornberry’s street and Peter Whittle reiterating his policy that every school should fly the Union Jack and have a picture of the Queen. Don’t forget the Victorian world map.

John Rees-Evans of gay donkey rape banter told the audience everything they didn’t want to hear including the drop in membership and the party’s empty coffers. But channelling Trump, he talked up his business success and promised to turn the party completely around by adding a comment section to the UKIP website allowing kippers to propose policy. Guido already seems to provide this.

Bottom line: Evans strong but Nuttall seems more in tune with ‘kippers. 

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

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…

Paddy Thinks Suzanne’s Coming Second

lisa-duffy-paddy-oflyn

Guido was in the Marquis of Granby pub earlier this afternoon when he eavesdropped on a Suzanne Evans campaign meeting with Patrick O’Flynn and Lisa Duffy. Paddy, the most high profile Kipper backing Suzanne and her effective campaign manager, was overheard to say he thinks she will come second. Which is an honest and realistic viewpoint, even if it is one Team Suzanne wouldn’t want to admit to holding publicly. Loose-lips sink ships…

UPDATE: O’Flynn confirms it.

UKIP Whitewash Inquiry Lets Hookem Off the Hook

room

As Guido reported earlier, UKIP’s internal investigation into the Strasbourg fracas has essentially cleared Mike Hookem and slammed Steven Woolfe. They have ruled:

The decision of Mr Hookem to join Mr Woolfe in the ante room is the only action which I have the ability to consider for disciplinary action. In the absence of eye witnesses, the true facts of what took place in the ante room itself are impossible to determine and neither man has made an official complaint to the party over the incident.
 
“Had Mr Woolfe not collapsed later that day, we may never have known that the altercation took place at all.
 
“However, as Chairman, I’m appalled that such a situation could arise between two of our most high profile representatives and I have strongly considered suspension as a possible course of action.
 
 “I do however take into consideration the following:
(1) The apology and regret shown by Mr Hookem, for agreeing to join Mr Woolfe in the ante room.
(2) The excellent record of Mr Hookem in representing UKIP and its values prior to this incident.
(3) Acknowledging that Mr Hookem, whilst foolish, was not the instigator of this incident or subsequent press coverage and as such cannot be held principally responsible for either taking place.
 
“In light of this, a formal reprimand will be placed on Mr Hookem’s internal record, to be considered in the event of a reoccurrence of any infraction which might cause damage to the reputation of the party.
A whitewash, in other words. If Woolfe had still been a UKIP member and running for leader, safe to say the report would have been quite different…

UKIP Set to Throw Woolfe Under Bus

Martin Schulz has referred Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem to the French police after their fracas earlier this month. He says Woolfe “was subjected to an act of violence”Definitely no political motivation behind Schulz’s decision.

Nigel Farage has taken a slightly different view from his bedside vigil with Woolfe, now Nige says “There is absolutely no evidence anyone was punched at all“. A new line which is definitely nothing to do with Woolfe quitting the party. Looks like UKIP’s internal investigation will be throwing Woolfe under a bus…

UKIP MEPs Back Nuttall for Leader

nuttall-meps-x-540

Front runner Paul Nuttall has begun his online campaign for the UKIP leadership, securing the public endorsement of MEPs Tim Aker, Bill Etheridge, Ray Finch, Johnathan Arnott, Jim Carver, ex MEP and legend Godfrey Bloom. UKIP council leaders Chris Wells (Thanet) and John Tennant (Hartlepool) also chip in their support.[…] Read the rest

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