As a Tory-supporting magazine, perhaps it is not our place to comment on the leadership contest of another party. Nonetheless, when your friend smells, it is the right thing for a Country Squire to do to offer them a bath, a change of clothes and a quick spray of one’s Penhaligon’s deodorant.
Right now, UKIP – the successful force behind Brexit – is going through yet another leadership election following the resignations of Nigel Farage, Diane James and then Paul Nuttall in quick succession. This time round the party’s life is at stake. Why?
There’s too much division in the party this time round. The list of candidates standing in the final round tots up to a whopping eleven. Most of those standing are not worth even commenting on. However, for fun it’s worth mentioning John Rees-Evans – he of “homosexual donkey” infamy – who this month actually announced a policy of paying $9,000 to British Indians and Tanzanians to leave the UK to “reduce unnecessary population”. And it’s worth mentioning two other candidates – Anne Marie Waters and Peter Whittle – who are both potential party leaders and could actually win the contest.
Waters is standing for the leadership on a predominantly anti-Islam platform. Shortlisted by Labour to stand in Brighton Pavilion in 2013, she stood for UKIP in the Lewisham East constituency two years later, but was prevented from doing so at the June election following concerns about her views on Islam, which she has described as “evil”. She was the deputy leader of the UK arm of the far-right, anti-Islam group Pegida and has praised Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders. Waters has described Islam as “an expansionist, political, totalitarian and supremacist faith, commanded to world domination”, and said people are wary of the religion because they fear their children will be abused.
The problem we have with Waters is that she’s a size 12 boot when what is needed to defeat Islamist terrorism is a pair of ballet shoes and a silencer. What is the point of her? It’s obvious to anyone that Islam has its crazies and they need to be taken out but what is the point of her pontificating about it day-in and day-out when what’s really needed is a cool, effective series of strikes on the enemy in our midst, while keeping the decent Muslims onside. Waters talks a lot of sense but she goes too far. In effect, she plays into the hands of the enemy by blaming Islam when it’s the interpretation of Islam that really counts.
Whatever one’s issues with child sex grooming, Islamist terrorism and immigration, what is the point of putting offside the vast majority of British Muslims who live to get on in British society and do not seek to establish a caliphate here at all – indeed, far from it, they could think of nothing worse than living under some bearded nut (for once, not a Corbyn reference).
Waters goes too far. It’s clear that a vote for Waters would be a vote for the BNP. UKIP would simply become the BNP. And look what happened to the BNP in Britain. Do UKIP voters want that kind of future for their party? When we last looked, UKIP had some sensible members and for anyone as sensible and shrewd as Stuart Wheeler to have funded the party in the past it must have had something mainstream, sound and sane going for it.
Nigel Farage, who has said he will not stand again, has warned that an anti-Islam agenda will spell the end of the party. “If UKIP goes down the route of being a party that is anti the religion of Islam, then frankly it’s finished,” he told the BBC earlier this month. “I don’t think there’s any public appetite for that. There’s some, but it’s tiny in this country. The party would be finished.”
Farage is right, again.
It really is not Islam that is wholly the problem, otherwise why are so many people – who are filling in their censuses as Muslims – joining our society, propping up bars across the land, singing on the football terraces and contributing socially and economically? Waters needs to get out more. She should go and meet the decent Muslims who are not political at all and see terror offences merely as the abhorrent and insane crimes they are.
Which leaves Whittle, who, in the name of greater social cohesion, wants to ban the burka in public in Britain – not a far-right opinion at all. Whittle has served as an Assembly Member (AM) in the London Assembly since the Assembly election in May 2016, and was also UKIP’s candidate, at the same hustings, for the 2016 London mayoral election. Since November 2016, Whittle has been the Deputy Leader of UKIP. What experience of party politics does Waters have?
The Guardian includes Whittle and Waters in the same articles, focusing on the BNP and Waters’ overt anti-Islam stance. That is a clear indication that they see Whittle as a bona fide threat. Such Guardian smears have been around for generations and hardly need translating.
So, what has Whittle got going for him that has the Guardianistas (and Labour) running scared?
Whittle is eloquent, a good debater, mainstream and there’s a freshness about him that could see Farage’s shoes at least partially filled. UKIP is a lightning rod for the outrage brigade and – luckily for UKIP if they choose him – Whittle is openly gay and was the only LGBT candidate currently selected by any of the parties for the 2016 Mayoral election. Whittle will save UKIP a load on defensive PR and he’s sound on the economy, counter terrorism and Brexit, of course.
It is worth remembering that UKIP was the UK’s third-biggest party by votes in the 2015 election, with nearly 4 million votes. In this summer’s election under Nuttall, UKIP attracted just 600,000 votes.
The party is not a busted flush. It merits a good leader and those pro-Brexit Tories could do with a threat on the right to keep Brexit going and keep the likes of May away from Corbyn territory. More than that, the country could do with a threat to Labour’s heartlands – something Farage was getting close to achieving in his latter months as leader. Perhaps Whittle can reconjure some of that UKIP magic.
So, from friends to friends – albeit outsiders you are well within your rights to wholly ignore – we urge you to go and vote for Whittle. None of the other candidates come close and some are political suicide. Let Waters move onto the next party. Perhaps she can revive the knuckle-dragging BNP – she’s in the wrong party now, as she was when she stood for Labour.
Listen to Nigel. He knows best.
If Waters wins, you’ve become the BNP. A vote for any of the other candidates is a wasted vote and we can then definitely say Goodbye UKIP, at which the Guardianistas and the Tory Remainer Left will both rejoice.