The forthcoming General Election was always going to be difficult for UKIP: with the referendum on EU membership going in their favour, there was going to be difficulty finding issues that would differentiate the party from all the others. And after their proposals on “integration” were criticised as being definitely Islamophobic, if not blatantly racist, Paul Nuttall was always going to be vulnerable in that area.
I pulled the f***in' trigger but somehow shot meself in the foot
It was into this, shall we say, sensitive atmosphere that the potential candidature of one Anne Marie Waters was pitched last week. Ms Waters is the head of a group called Sharia Watch, which cites in its “Opinion” pieces such sources as Jihad Watch, regarded as virulently Islamophobic, Breitbart (ditto), and Milo Yiannopoulos (no comment). She was to have stood as UKIP’s candidate in the constituency of Lewisham East.
Anne Marie Waters
But after her views gained a wider hearing, the Kippers clearly became more than a little queasy at the prospect of being called rather more than “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, and news emerged that UKIP was reconsidering allowing her to stand under their banner, despite having allowed her to stand in previous elections. In the Kippers’ defence, they had previously deselected her too, just to be on the safe side.
As the Independent reported, “A Ukip candidate who has described Islam as “evil” is facing potential deselection for her opinions … Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said the views espoused by Ms Waters, who appeared on far-right Swedish online platform Red Ice TV this month, made him feel ‘uncomfortable’ and the party's national executive committee would be looking at her record later on Friday”. And it seems she has now been deselected.
This has gone down like the proverbial cup of cold sick with many of those who thought UKIP was their spiritual home. The comments tell you all you need to know “#UKIP's deselection of @AMDWaters is the final nail in the coffin. @paulnuttallukip's bumbling ineptitude worthy of Corbyn. #UtterFool … you have lost the support of my family over the deselection of @AMDWaters. This is a very sad day for the future of the UK”.
There was more. “Deselection of @AMDWaters is final straw. I can't support #UKIP under @PaulNuttallUKIP's leadership. Listens to opposition instead of voters … after the deselection of @AMDWaters I will be cancelling my membership. You have zero backbone and are becoming a joke … @AMDWaters I'd decided to hold my nose &voteTory.Your deselection is last straw @paulnuttallukip should be ashamed to lose a true patriot”.
Ms Waters is Irish, but hey ho. Do go on. “I was about to vote for UKIP, but not after the deselection of @AMDWaters. Utterly spineless … Deselection of @AMDWaters You are clueless about true liberal values so caved in to the illiberal Left … After deselection of @AMDWaters , I will no longer be supporting UKIP. She is one of few people who speaks the truth on the death cult”. There were many more comments in the same vein.
All of which shows not only that UKIP appeals to Islamophobes and most likely racists too, but that many of those voters are now looking elsewhere. And the party’s poll ratings are already at rock bottom. It looks like the Kippers are finally being grilled.