(Blog written September 2014, updated April 2015)
One justification that UKIP uses to defend its deliberate offensiveness, rudeness and childishness is the right of free speech. Free speech, a human right, is a vital component of freedom. It is a human right that must be defended and reinforced constantly because its existence, as unfettered, is threatened constantly by government controls. Many people, utterly opposed to UKIP’s unpleasantness, accept that its supporters and activists have this right of free speech. However, UKIP’s use of the right of free speech is not free at all.
UKIP claim a right of free speech for UKIP but not for anyone critical of UKIP. This doesn’t just mean they decline debate; UKIP’s opposition to the free speech of others includes concerted attempts to silence critics. Recent examples, given below, demonstrate unquestionably that UKIP will resort to any fraudulent tactics to shut down dissenting voices, and it is important to note that it is elected UKIP representatives and/or senior party spokespersons who are using and encouraging such tactics.
1) UKIP councillor Richard Hilton
Hilton is a councillor in Merton, London. After reading some comments on twitter written by local primary school teacher Jackie Schneider, an attendee at a UKIP “public” meeting where he spoke, Hilton made a written complaint to her head teacher. Nothing Ms.Schneider had written was offensive or inaccurate. Her comments challenged the drivel he had ejaculated at the meeting. Hilton’s decision to send a letter of complaint to her school was clear bullying designed both to stop a voice of dissent and also to send a warning to any other educators that they should keep quiet about UKIP. Jackie Schneider describes the incident fully in her blog Jackie Schneider. Hilton’s dishonesty is displayed in comments he made to a local newspaper, Hilton. The head teacher assessed the complaint and, rightly, dismissed it.
2) UKIP councillor Peter Reeve
Reeve is a councillor in Cambridgeshire, (and Huntingdonshire too, apparently). Green Party activist Michael Abberton posted on twitter a mock-up of a UKIP leaflet the intention of which was to expose, satirically, UKIP’s true intent regarding various vital public services. Reeve’s response was to call the police, who subsequently visited Mr. Abberton’s home to question him. His dishonest justification for contacting the police was a ridiculous claim of electoral fraud. Reeve’s abuse of the law is described in his own words in an interview with Huffington Post, Reeve, which also includes a copy of the mocked-up leaflet and comments by Mr. Abberton. Criticism, challenge and refuting, expressed often in a satirical and mocking manner and tone are important facets of political debate, particularly prior to an election. Reeve’s deliberate mis-use of the law to silence a critic from another political party reveals his revulsion for free speech. The police were embarassed to question Mr. Abberton and the mocked-up leaflet remains as a pinned tweet on his account.
3) UKIP MEP David Coburn
Mass abuse of the report and complaint procedures of twitter by UKIP activists is common. Coburn openly encourages this fraudulent behaviour and revels in any success. One of his frequent targets is the anti-UKIP pressure group Women Against UKIP. The specific tactics used to manipulate the twitter reporting procedure are described here Tweet Smarter.
4) UKIP councillor and PPC Ben Walker (added April 2015)
Kate Nash, a drama teacher at a independent school in Bath, received a campaign leaflet from her local UKIP parliamentary candidate upon which Mrs. Nash wrote her reasons for not voting UKIP, including the racism intrinsic to the party’s appeal. Nothing that she wrote was abusive or inaccurate. Responding, UKIP council candidate Natasha Thwaites demanded, laughably, that Mrs. Nash give evidence of UKIP’s racism and described her as “uneducated” and a “bad teacher.” Thwaites also contacted a UKIP councillor, Ben Walker, who namechecked the head teacher at Mrs. Nash’s school and said that he would “speak to him.”
Similar to the first example above, the intent of the behaviour of Walker is to silence criticism of UKIP by educators.
The (relatively minor) direct consequence of the abuse described above is some inconvenience to someone or to an organisation that is opposed to twitter. But the intent of the abuse is to deter people from criticising, analysing, dissecting and exposing the lies and misdirection that are shat out by the activists, members and elected representatives in UKIP. This party invests a lot of time and personnel into silencing. It needs to as its entire appeal is based in fraud.