Why I’m backing Raheem Kassam for UKIP leader

The idea that UKIP is in the midst of an existential crisis is one very satisfying to the Establishment. There’s nothing they would like more than for the party that actually threatens them to wither and die – it’s why they push the viewpoint relentlessly.

Unfortunately, for once, the Establishment are correct. UKIP is in quite a mess. With Nigel Farage gone, Diane James in and out, and twice leadership favourite Steven Woolfe now departed from the party, UKIP lacks not only direction, but credibility. How can we, the salesmen, sell a party that doesn’t know what its stock is?

UKIP needs a fresh, passionate driving force that recognises our strength isn’t in the wishy-washy centre ground, but as the brash, bullish outsider that stands for no bullshit. We are witnessing a global revolt against Establishment politics, as seen here by Brexit, across the pond with Donald Trump and even as far as the Philippines with Rodrigo Duterte. UKIP must harness this frustration and cash in.

With this in mind, it’s clear to me that there is one definitive choice for leader: Raheem Kassam.

An accomplished media performer, Kassam has shown he is a fiery debater while maintaining the personality and likeability of Farage. Yes, he will be marmite too, but isn’t that the point? You can’t please everybody in politics, nor should you try to. UKIP’s potential is in speaking for the left behind.

I doubt there’s any single Ukipper universally liked by the party, so that Kassam has painted as a troublemaker is not only false, but a moot point too. However, what I have been seeing is a candidate who’s coming up with logical plans to clean up and grow the party.

UKIP has a strong, dedicated collection of activists – the problem is there aren’t enough of them. It’s a direct result of awful organisation and a party that’s too expensive and difficult to join.

Unless you’re eligible for concessions, membership is £30 a year and, once you’ve joined, you’re chucked in the ocean without armbands. Great, you get a card, but little information about how to become active in your area. That needs to change. If Labour can mobilise with a crap message, imagine what a well-oiled UKIP could achieve with a good one.

In the last two national elections, the party has won four million votes. If just one in 25 joined the party, we would have 100,000 members. At that point, we would also have a ground game.

UKIP has been British politics’ best pressure group, and we need to keep that pressure up to ensure no Brexit backsliding. More than 17 million people voted to leave the European Union, and that’s a huge market to tap into if Theresa May’s government lets them down.

Extremist Islam will continue to be a sensitive yet must-tackle topic, and it’s vital UKIP strikes the right chord and balance here – you can’t go making policy up on the hoof. It’s also essential that “security measures” to “protect” western civilisation don’t breach the freedoms that western civilisation is meant to offer. Kassam’s keenness to take on Shariah courts in the UK is, however, encouraging.

And hey, anything that’ll make it harder for the media to shout “racist” or “Islamophobe” must be a good thing, right?

Recapturing our economic roots is also important, with Conservatives and Labour often being indistinguishable. Pressing home on the failures of big government as part of the anti-Establishment drive, and highlighting the benefits of allowing people to keep more of their money thanks to a lower and flatter tax system are forgotten stances in British politics. Kassam and Bill Etheridge, who finished a solid third last time, are both strong on this issue.

The internet has given political parties the chance to be more accessible and transparent than ever, but they aren’t taking advantage. Italy’s Five Star Movement is perhaps the sole prominent example of a party doing it, while Arron Banks’ Leave.EU movement – which has garnered over 200,000 more Facebook likes than the official Vote Leave campaign – has showcased the potential of online activism in the UK.

Being Editor at Breitbart London, Kassam knows what works on the internet, as has been demonstrated by the early stages of his Make UKIP Great Again campaign. His regular live streams are a great way of connecting with party members and recruiting new ones, and addressing their concerns. It’s something I would be keen to see continue if he becomes leader. With the right steps, UKIP can transform itself from the most technologically inept party to the most advanced.

UKIP succeeds by different, and Raheem Kassam is offering something different. We’ll get smeared. So what, we already are. The Establishment will mock us. So what? They already do.

But do you know what? There will be a hell of a lot of people who agree with us. And as their old, broken parties continue to let them down, they’ll keep looking for alternative. It’s our job to offer that alternative, and Kassam is the man to do it.

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7 thoughts on “Why I’m backing Raheem Kassam for UKIP leader”

  1. You couldn’t pay me to vote for Raheem Kassam.
    He has been abusive toward people via Twitter. With sexisty and homophobic abuse. He has bullied a 17 year old UKIP member with vile messages. He is regularly abusive towards members of UKIP and non members of UKIP. He has proposed overturning the ban on far right joining UKIP. He has proposed ending foreign aid, which is despicable. He wants to rig NEC elections so he can disband the NEC, which would give him ultimate power should he become leader.

    I cannot believe people are falling for his dangerous rhetoric. Should he take over the party, it will rapidly become far right and descend into nothingness within a year.

    I have spoken to over 300 people who have said that they would resign their membership should he win the leadership contest. I would be one of them.

    1. Don’t worry: nobody would try paying you.

      Rich of you to critique anyone’s social media behaviour. From what I’ve seen of you you are a persistent pest who doesn’t really do the party any favours.

      Don’t think Raheem would claim to be perfect but you’re grossly exaggerating (again).

      He is, however, the only one being sensible and coming up with ideas on how to grow the party. Farage’s direction is the only one that’s ever made the party successful and there’s much more potential there than going down a new Lib Dems route in this political climate.

      You might make better points if you stopped lying or floating mistruths. It’s not letting the “far right” in, but assessing on a case-by-case basis. I don’t want a far right infiltration, but there are people out there who joined parties like the BNP (or were signed up unwittingly) who are regretful. I believe in giving a second chance, but with the security lock of a case-by-case basis instead of just opening the door like Labour. It’s pragmatic.

      The NEC has shown itself to be completely incompetent. Too much smoke and mirrors and deliberately putting out inaccurate hit pieces. Woolfe should have been allowed to stand for the good of the party first time around.

      I’ve seen nothing far right from Kassam, it was actually Duffy (backed by your false heroine Suzanne) who were coming out with the unhelpful rhetoric first time around. UKIP being Breitbarted up a bit wouldn’t be a bad thing. Much more profit in becoming full-on anti-establishment and standing for something than bland centrists.

      Go on then, give me the names. And the way I’ve seen you conduct yourself on social media over the past couple of years, I don’t think you leaving would have anyone losing sleep. You have a very high and misguided opinion of yourself, Thomas.

  2. I joined UKIP as soon as RK announced his intention to stand, so I could vote for him. I’ve followed Breitbart and his work on there for at least a year now and I’ve been very impressed with his ideas and attitudes towards the future of the party. The whole political system needs a good shake up and he’s the best man for the job and he’s not afraid to take the fight to the media. Now is the time, as the article says, to embrace social media and encourage true grass roots growth amongst people who were completely disconnected with anything political pre-Brexit vote. It’s exciting!

  3. Evans is obviously an Evans supporter. Him and his supposed 300 members can leave, replaced by 90,000 new members. Unfortunate to see a member leave, but Raheem is the most widely acceptable candidate UKIP is offering, with the best policy proposals, backed by Aaron Banks, and thus must be elected for the greater good of UKIP regardless of whether a small base are against it or not.

  4. Raheem is a breath of fresh air and need supporting warts and all, let’s get behind a true leader who knows how to put it across the Treacherous rest of the political parties, Raheem Kassam is the guy.

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