Monday 18 May 2015

Breitbart declares war on UKIP

Raheem Kassam, one of the casualties of last week's tussles at the top of the party, has rejoined Breitbart London as Editor in Chief and declared war on what he describes as "the left wing of UKIP".

Patrick O'Flynn led a rebellion last week against Kassam and Matt Richardson, two of Nigel Farage's advisers who he claimed were responsible for making Farage "snarling, thick skinned and aggressive" which saw both of them resign from the party.

Breitbart is well known for its hard right conservative stance and it appears that Kassam's aim was to move UKIP from the centre-right and make it part of the American tea party movement. Whilst this brand of bible belt politics and the confrontational manner of the Republicans might be popular in some parts of the US, it's a turn off to voters here and has increased Nigel Farage's "Marmite factor".

UKIP's core policy of fighting for withdrawal from the EU has brought in members and support from both ends of the political spectrum and accommodating the disparate views of the membership has resulted in a set of policies unique to UKIP that embrace both the left and the right of the party and appeal to everyone from the leafy suburbs of the south east to the northern mining villages. Lurching to the right is going to alienate not only our members and supporters but a big chunk of what is now UKIP's core vote. They might not be the type of people that the tea party approve of but UKIP is perfectly placed to take on both the left and the right.

If Kassam and Richardson were wormtongues trying to hijack UKIP to extend the tea party movement to the UK - and it would appear that that is the case - then we're better off without them, even if it means adding Breitbart to the long list of media publications that are at war with the party. UKIP has a winning formula, we need to hold a steady course and not allow outside influences to steer the party too far to the left or the right.