Breitbart London editor-in-chief Raheem Kassam made news after announcing his bid for leadership of UKIP but many on the left are taking to social media in fits of rage over the news.
Editor-in-chief of Breitbart London Raheem Kassam announced his leadership bid for the United Kingdom Independence Party in the aftermath of the sudden resignation of newly elected leader Diane James. Mr. Kassam has taken to social media to spread his message of a reformed UKIP, who he says must step into the role of the official opposition as the Labour party continues to falter in traditionally working class areas.
Under the slogan “Make UKIP Great Again” Kassam has seen a surge in support on Twitter and Facebook among UKIP supporters, many who were passionate supporters of former leader Nigel Farage. Though the reaction to his leadership bid from those on board with UKIP has been largely positive, the opposite can be seen from those on the left of the political spectrum.
Left wing supporters took to social media to slam Mr. Kassam for a variety of issues, some bordering on the bizarre and some outright inflammatory and derogatory. On Twitter, which is known for heated arguments and mudslinging, some openly left users like Mike Smith claimed that Mr. Kassam, who is British of Indian descent, was an “Arab running for UK xenophobe party” and compared him to a specific African-Amercian man who supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the U.S.
On Twitter, some openly left users like Mike Smith claimed that Mr. Kassam, who is British of Indian descent, was an “Arab running for UK xenophobe party” and compared him to a specific African-Amercian man who supports Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump in the United States.
— Mike Smith (@mrsmithfromakl) October 11, 2016
A user named @point_par also took issue with Mr. Kassam’s background commenting on his “foreign sounding name” saying that because of that and Mr. Kassam being well spoken he would have no chance as UKIP leader. The Twitter user is a self-proclaimed socialist and journalist making little effort to hide his support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn who graces the banner of his page.
@RaheemKassam Posh bloke from London with foreign-sounding name for Ukip leader? No chance!
— Point Par (@point_par) October 11, 2016
Another Twitter user, @MellowOchre, took issue with Kassam’s slogan “Make UKIP Great again” saying that the party could never be great again because, according to him, UKIP was never great in the first place.
UKIP will NEVER be 'great again' because they weren't great in the first place! https://t.co/Bov9wzvuaJ
— Mellow Yellow (@MellowOchre) October 11, 2016
A self-identified centrist and liberal Adam Fitchett also took issue, not only with the slogan, but also what he called Mr. Kassam bringing the politics of Donald Trump to the United Kingdom. “Raheem Kassam is trying to open a door to Trumpism,” he said and added that having Kassam as the leader of Britains third largest political party was “the last thing we need.”
Raheem Kassam is trying to open a door to Trumpism in the UK. Him as leader of the UK's 3rd biggest party is the last thing we need.
— Adam Fitchett (@AdamFitchett) October 10, 2016
On the far left of the Twitter scene user @far_right_watch who routinely accuses UKIP of being a “hate group” and classifies the party alongside genuine Neo-Nazi groups said that Kassam was a “poisonous wrong’un” and claimed he was “ideal” for the party who they consider to be full of xenophobic hateful people.
— Far Right Watch (@Far_Right_Watch) October 11, 2016
During the course of his leadership campaign Mr. Kassam has said that as leader he will make UKIP “grow up” as a party and promised to deal with outstanding conflicts and issues within the party like the split between MP Douglas Carswell and the central party membership. Kassam has put forth plans for increased direct democracy on behalf of the membership and more unity within the party.