UKIP Is the Most Internet-Savvy Party, Despite What Chuka Umunna Thinks

Chuka Umunna’s suggestion that people only vote Ukip because they are computer illiterate has caused an outbreak of mirth on the many Ukip social network sites and blogs.

A typical comment in a closed Facebook group reads “I'm undertaking a Degree in IT Networks and Security, I've worked for 2 different IT & telecommunication companies and I am currently on a placement as a network technician. However recently I voted for UKIP and I am having troubles sending and receiving emails, can you please help me?”

Another Facebook user pointed out that it was “Ironic that we're called computer illiterate yet Chuka's own automatic email response is completely coded wrong at the end.” – accompanied by a picture of Umunna’s incorrectly coded response.

Umunna’s suggestion has provoked mirth because it is, quite literally, laughable. Kippers have been well known for their keyboard activism for years now. Visit almost any page on the MSM news sites and political blogs and there will be comment after comment, often thoroughly evidenced, culminating in the two words “Vote Ukip”.

The comments section of the Conservative Home blog became so overrun with Ukip ‘trolls’ that some wondered aloud whether the site should defect to Ukip. Kippers compete amongst themselves to see who can get the most liked comment on the Mail’s website.

We have a thriving social network presence, and we’re starting to have more of a presence when it comes to blogging too (although I’d like to see us do more here). My own website, written entirely by grassroots members and councillors, has built up a decent following and attracted a number of regular contributors in the nine months that it has been running despite having no budget whatsoever and being spread entirely by word of mouth (or email, most likely).

I’m often impressed by the level of insight that our contributors are able to offer on their chosen subjects. These aren’t uneducated, disenfranchised people. They’re erudite, perceptive, informed. And they’ve gotten that way by looking beyond what the mainstream media have to tell them, getting online, and finding out for themselves.

In the Marr interview, Umunna said “There has been a lot of talk of communities that have been disconnected from our global economy, and those of course were a lot of those voting for Ukip in the local and European elections, and of that mass of people who can’t do the things that all of us take for granted, a very large number of them are from those communities. ”

If Umunna thinks that the Ukip supporter is characterised by being disconnected from the global economy, he clearly hasn’t met many Ukip supporters. To the contrary, it is their connection to the wider world, often via the internet, that has led so many people to understand that the EU does not work in Britain’s best interest – something that you would never guess from picking up a paper or watching BBC or Sky News.

That we are being lied to on climate change (Delingpole’s blogs and the Watts Up With That website are firm favourites amongst Kippers). That the wider Anglosphere, which on the whole has been far more responsible with its finances, is doing markedly better than much of Europe and would prove far better trading partners.

In fact, the mention of Ukip by Umunna here is pretty odd. Ukip isn’t discussed at all elsewhere in the interview, and hasn’t been referenced in the question. So why bring Ukip voters up at all? Because to Umanna and the rest of his multimillionaire Hampsted set, ‘voting Ukip’ is shorthand for ‘uneducated, inward looking, isolationist, bigoted’. They simply cannot fathom why any educated person would reject their liberal, multicultural, achingly middle class utopia.

But there’s good news for all those poor out-of-touch Ukip voters: paternalistic Labour is here to save them by ushering them into the enlightened world of the internet literate. A world where they too can angst about quinoa (“Good, evil, or just really complicated?”) and ask “can fois gras be produced ethically?”, or ponder the possibility that we have reached “peak beard”.

Incidentally, many of those recent Ukip voters have switched from Labour. I’m not sure that talking down at your voters is the best way to keep them, let alone woo them back. But then again, those of us on the right who come from the working classes have long known what Labour really thinks of us.

It sees the working classes as a group to be pitied and helped, and when we don’t want their help, insulted. Poor Gillian Duffy, called a bigot not once but twice for daring to suggest that an open door immigration policy was not in all of our best interests, has arguably taken the brunt of it. But Labour doesn’t reserve its ire just for Mrs Duffy. It pretty much thinks that anyone who isn’t gushingly grateful for being kept in their place by a paternalistic, monolithic government is an ungrateful, obstinate, bigoted, racist, homophobic, sexist… Ukip voter. The lowest of the low.

Which is why, for all their talk of helping the aspirational, Labour will utterly, resoundingly fail to do so. It just doesn’t understand aspirational people. Labour still thinks that ‘helping the aspirational’ means taxing people ‘til the pips squeak and frittering the proceeds away on schemes run by local councils and quangos.

But aspirational people don’t want to be taught how to send emails by some bloke from the job centre. What they want is a decent education in the first place, and a thriving economy that provides good opportunities to get into work and then to progress up the career ladder. Or tax and regulatory systems that allows them to both start their own business, and then to keep the proceeds of their hard work. The aspirational are best helped when the government gets out of the way, not when it wades in.

What a pity that Labour are too busy trying to sort out their own social media fails (or should that be fowls?) to listen.


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