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6 December 2015

Farage and Kassam - Crying Wolf As A Strategy MEans No-One Ever Believes You

When an individual or an organisation knowingly makes a false statement, creates a false story or refuses to retract or delete a statement which is false, or later proved to be false, all integrity is lost. And it's a commodity not so easily regained.

The media, generally, do not have the trust of the people due to high number of false, exaggerated or selective stories that appear daily.

But it also applies to individuals. We had two particular examples this week.

Nigel Farage, after his party failed not only to win Oldham but to even come close, made various allegations of Postal Voter Fraud. 

These were made not to the Police, or Local Election Officials, or even to the Electoral Commission, but on Social Media and in exclusives for The Daily Express and Breitbart. This was followed by criticisms of the Postal Vote system (but without specific allegations) on BBC Breakfast TV.

When asked by the presenter 'what evidence he had', Farage evaded the question.

Although internal Ukip Officials stated that Farage 'overstepped the mark' in making these allegations, other Ukip Officials (Victoria Ayling, Nathan Gill, Paul Nuttall, Bill Etheridge) on Social Media hinted at the same irregularities.

Farage backed this up by intentionally misquoting statements from Guardian journalist Helen Pidd, especially this one.

It then emerged that the 'impeccable source' Farage quoted was a second-hand overheard comment by an unknown, unnamed man at the Oldham count.

Brave, indeed, for Ukip to cry foul, with the justified focus on Ukip's 'Fake Labour Leaflet', which itself should be the subject of an investigation. In fact, in terms of Electoral Fraud, the case of Great Yarmouth comes to mind. The guilty party there? Ukip.

Farage even claimed that 'Democracy Is Dead'. A surpising statement from one who's Party Leadership, after his resignation, was not voted on, but 'nodded through' in a closed-door session of the Ukip NEC, at which he was present, with no records being kept. Clearly Democracy died a long time ago within Ukip.

The problem here is that Farage has form for 'Crying Wolf'. His party's identical 'Fraud' outcry after South Thanet was debunked.

And when you make such ludicrous statements as blaming X for Y (replace 'X' with Gays, Muslims or Leftys, replace 'Y' with Traffic, Weather or the Price of Beer as you see fit) then can you really be that surprised when people ignore you?

On Social Media after the Paris attacks, most Ukip accounts followed the 'Nigel Was Right' line. He may well have been. But when you make a hundred idiotic statements, nobody will lend any credence if and when on a rare occassion you get close to the truth.

There may well be issues with the Postal Vote System. There clearly was in Tower Hamlets. There may well, indeed, be specific issues at Oldham. We'll not know about these until they are investigated, which will only happen if and when UKIP make a formal complaint.

But until then, we shall judge these 'Fraud Allegations' by the character and history of the man making them.

The second example was of a Raheem Kassam tweet.

Kassam, as you will no doubt be aware is the 'Editor' of Breitbart, a Far Right Blog, staffed mainly by Ukip, funded by the US Tea Party, which masquerades as a 'News' Site. The 'News' it selectively reports is predominantly about Migrants, Muslims, and Europe and Ukip.

So, no agenda there, then.

Kassam tweeted about '49 votes in Oldham coming from one address'. It was, he claimed later, 'a joke' and of course the story had no basis in fact. So far, so reasonable. Humour is a fine thing. However various official Ukip accounts (including that of failed Oldham Candidate John Bickley) retweeted this (as if it was true) without Kassam's subsequent 'retraction'. When it was suggested to Kassam that he should delete it, he refused.

Why? Because he knew that it was being retweeted, out of context as 'true', and would nicely reinforce the "Postal Vote Fraud" story to those who were unable to think for themselves or unwilling to check for themselves.

Integrity. It's a rare thing, so easily lost.

The integrity of Breitbart ... well, to be honest, for a Far Right Blog, it's clear that journalistic integrity was never their aim, simply political misinformation. What little they might have had, well, they seem unconcerned by it's loss.

The Integrity of Ukip - and their cause of Exit from the EU - is damaged by Farage and others like him spouting their knee-jerk nonsense.

However you consider Brexit (and as a team, we are split on this) you cannot deny that despite Ukip's claim to be the Party that forced the Tories to a Referendum, right now the greatest block to the cause of Brexit is Ukip themselves, and Farage in particular.
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