The BBC is making a fuss about Anne Marie Waters being selected as a potential UKIP leader. To be fair, so are several other channels.
In case you haven’t heard of her, she’s the Islamophobic Irish lesbian who once said Islam is evil. How very dare she say such an audacious thing.
Anne Marie joins Tommy Robinson as one of the MSM’s pantomime hate-figures and just as Robinson is forever tied to the discredited EDL, AMW will always be inextricably linked to the one particular ‘stranded soundbite’ of a millstone.
There is of course much more than that to AMW’s opposition to Islam, and the way she is currently being presented by the media says more about them than about her. I’ve never voted UKIP by the way, principally (amongst other reasons) because it’s so amateurish. But then, which party isn’t at the moment.
There are ten other (may I say obscure) candidates of whom no-one has ever heard. The exception is Peter Whittle who’s supposed to be the strong favourite to win, but if I may opine on the matter, I don’t think he has the presence to lead a party. He’s a nice man, but no.
For that reason alone Anne Marie Waters might stand a chance of making UKIP great again. With a bit of work, UKIP could be the anti-Islam Party as well as the party that exists to keep a watchful eye on Brexit.
|Mike Hookem strongly disagrees with Anne Marie Waters|
MEP Mike Hookem - (yes, the very same Hookem who lived up to his name by flooring former UKIP leadership contender Stephen Woolfe and hospitalising him; whereupon he (Woolfe) withdrew, not only from the leadership contest but from UKIP itself) - Hookem has resigned in a self-sacrificial gesture of protest. (Although, won't all enraged UK MEPs be out of a job soon?)
The BBC tells us “Former leader Nigel Farage has warned that UKIP will be "finished" if it becomes an anti-Islam party.” To me, UKIP looks just as “finished” if it doesn’t.
The media is making such a big deal out of this, partly because it’s the silly season and, apart from imminent nuclear armageddon, there’s not much going on. AMW’s eligibility to stand hardly seems uniquely controversial, given that Paul Nuttall stood on a platform of a ‘burka ban’, a policy that seems like more of a provocation than a grown-up, properly thought-through political strategy. I’d strongly advise AMW to drop that one; it’s too confrontational, too soon.
Googling from the starting point that Anne Marie was a one-time prospective Labour candidate - and a lot of Waters have crossed that bridge since then - I came across Socialist Unity website circa 2013. Andy Newman’s article “Anne Marie Waters - the worst possible potential Labour PPC” indicates that he wasn’t too keen on the idea. Do have a butchers.
Looking at the hard left’s impassioned defence of all things Islamic with one’s retrospective specs on, one can’t help wondering if those sycophantic, philo-Islamic sentiments are wearing at all thin with those particular authors. Having witnessed terrorism, mass Muslim immigration, ISIS, Syria, grooming gangs and all the rest of it, I’d hope their attitude towards the matter is somewhat more thoughtful now. At any rate, as trends go, I imagine an older and wiser general public is presently slightly more inclined to sympathise with AMW than with the Socialist Unity circa 2013.
Here’s a theory. When many people voted ‘Leave’, Islam was very much at the back of their minds. It was forcibly driven back there for fear of being branded racist. “Suppress those bad thoughts!”
The acceptable, non-racist justification for opposing free movement and mass immigration was “Numbers”. “No room! We’re full! Eastern European immigrants, Polish plumbers, Bulgarian fruit pickers. They’re taking our jobs/ housing /schools /hospitals.” But underlying all this rationalising was the (verboten ) fear of creeping Islamification.
In truth, the driving force behind the victory for “Leave’ was the awareness that continued membership of the EU meant mass Muslim migration was ‘coming your way’. Fear of non-Muslim EU immigration was the pretext. Displacement on a grand scale.
How about that, then? Feel free to disagree, as Craig is apt to say.
Maybe we’re not yet ready for an openly anti-Islam UKIP, but maybe one day we’ll have to be.
If I were advising AMW ( I don’t know why she hasn’t asked me yet) I’d say if you are serious about your leadership bid, you need to consider your image. If other politicians have to do so, then so should you. Rather than present yourself as an “I don’t care what I look like” lesbian, you might take a leaf out of the Ruth Davidson book. Get a decent haircut, a hint of lipstick and a tailored jacket. You can be smart and still be butch. Work on that troubled look. Big smile.
Don’t think of Jeremy Corbyn as a sartorial role model. Even he has been known to dress to impress.
There. That’s my advice. Sexist and old fashioned, that’s me.