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Friday 12 June 2015

Raheem Kassam - Me Me Meee!

Guardian readers and viewers of BBC Newsnight may have wondered who had fetched up in their neck of the woods this week: who was Raheem Kassam, and why did he deserve an interview with Emily Maitlis, or a feature authored by Rowena Mason? Those that are still wondering - and, I suspect, there are plenty of them - may not be aware that these appearances were solely for the benefit of Himself Personally Now.
Pretentious? Who, moi?

Kassam, otherwise known to Zelo Street regulars as “Call me Ray”, has spent some time in the service of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, as the head Kipper and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers attempted to gain a Parliamentary foothold at last month’s General Election, an endeavour in which they were spectacularly unsuccessful, losing one Westminster seat and gaining, er, none at all.

The lack of gains included Farage himself, despite Kassam’s presence. And here the apologia enters, as Kassam builds and maintains the pretence that, if only UKIP had done things his way, all would have been well. He was Farage’s one-man human shield (yes, he was able, by means of talents known only to himself, to surround Mr Thirsty with a wall of protection). And he did not actually get forced out of the party, no sirree.

What was his verdict on his time at Nige’s spinner? “I totally regret it. Every minute … I’ve taken a big hit for nothing. The only good thing that’s come out of this are friendships ... But have I got anything else apart from looking at much of Ukip and thinking you are just a bunch of ragtag, unprofessional, embarrassing people who let Nigel down at every juncture? No”. Bullshit. He got a pass to his latest profile-building media opportunities.

Egos got in the way at every point” says Kassam. Yes, matey - YOURS. And here’s a real pearler: “Kassam claims he was not forced out of his role as Farage’s senior adviser, but instead chose to leave at the end of his contract in order to ‘bulletproof Nigel’”. Yes, Farage’s one-man human shield absented himself in order to, er, shield Farage. This is indeed bullshit. But it is bullshit to a purpose.

And that purpose is blatant self-promotion, as Ms Mason all but proves here: “So why is he speaking out now, and would Farage be unhappy about what he has to say to the media? ‘Probably. But that’s my prerogative … I think Nigel’s had a rough time, unfairly. And I’ve had a rough time, unfairly. That’s why’”. Yes, it’s unfair, he doesn’t really want to talk, but, oh go on, just a wafer-thin interview - to promote himself.

Anyone not convinced this is other than self-promoting horseshit need look no further than this prize passage: “Kassam reckons Carswell will survive just another six months in Ukip because he is no longer useful, given that the party has turned down almost £1m of public funding due to him as an MP. ‘Douglas is not worth anything, he has no clout. He means nothing to us now,’ he says”. HE’S THE PARTY’S ONLY MP, THAT’S ALL.

Yes, Raheem Kassam, an appallingly immodest man with much to be modest about.

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