Cyber Kippers – Farage’s Online Headache

Olly Neville March 12, 2014 13
Cyber Kippers – Farage’s Online Headache

Olly Neville highlights the self-defeating conduct of UKIP activists on social media.

Anyone who has met Nigel Farage knows that he isn’t a racist, xenophobe or any other dismissive label you care to apply. So too with much of UKIP’s top brass, which includes a significant number of women who are present on merit rather than through any positive discrimination.

Whilst many will dislike UKIP automatically for their policies on immigration or the EU (the two consistent standpoints the party has after a few years where their policies have seemingly see-sawed on many issues), their message has the potential to resonate among many areas of British society, from the southern middle-class to working-class northerners. Farage may be divisive, but he has the personality and charm to attract not just votes but media attention and friendship: even from those diametrically opposed to what he stands for.

However, the media charm and nuanced arguments don’t travel too far down the chain. UKIP has a problem that eats away at its support amongst much of the media, especially those who should be sympathetic – The Cyber Kipper. Just as Alex Salmond’s Anonymous Army rips into anyone who dares disagree with Scottish Independence, Cyber Kippers (better name pending) launch aggressively into attacking anyone who criticises their party.

Cyber Kippers (better name pending) launch aggressively into attacking anyone who criticises their party.

The comments section of the Telegraph and Conservative Home have long been over run by those with an (obsessively) pro-UKIP vision, but few read below the line after all. The real problem is the emailing, tweeting and general messaging of journalists who choose to criticise UKIP; Cyber Kippers seem to think that such people need to be corrected, insulted or put down in any way possible.

This sort of thing isn’t limited to those who regularly attack UKIP. Broadly pro-UKIP individuals and organisations who choose to run a criticism or advice piece for the party are liable to come under fire. The concern for Farage isn’t huge – after all, the majority of voters won’t see these people and much less care. But they do have an impact. He was forced to back-peddle after his comments on Syrian refugees sparked thousands of angry comments on his party’s Facebook page. Furthermore they impact the view of UKIP from journalists and the media. Like it or not, media coverage is vital for shaping the public’s views of a party and winning them support. UKIP’s own popularity rose to around 20% after a period of strong media attention and has dropped to around half that level as media interest has cooled. Journalists are less likely to write UKIP-leaning stories if they come under a barrage of fire for any minor negative comment towards the party. The vicious cycle of negative story, attack, negative story can drive even sympathetic journalists to become exasperated for want of an easier life, and hardens any views against party members that the media might have.

Journalists are less likely to write UKIP-leaning stories if they come under a barrage of fire for any minor negative comment towards the party.

UKIPpers online might see themselves as valiantly fighting battles for the party, but more often than not they do more harm than good, with over-the-top comments that leave them open to ridicule and an angry defence of their party that turns people off rather than warms them to UKIP. When any reaction to humour or criticism is hostile and humourless, UKIP’s version of the ‘cybernat’ does their party as much harm as the careless slip-ups of their candidates and councillors. Patrick O’Flynn was right when he cautioned members at the recent spring conference: those that think they are helping the party are more often than not doing it a grave disservice.

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  • UKIP Kiddie

    So fear of UKIP is making the Lib/Lab/Con considering moving the goalposts. Carry on, it wouldn’t make any difference, because like shark’s teeth, for every one lost, more come forward to replace them. You can fool some of the people some of the time . . .

  • mctruck

    Neither UKIP, Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats or, indeed the Monster Raving Loony Party can control what their supporters say any more than they can prevent people voting for them.
    I didn’t see Ed or Nick popping up on CiF to tell their followers to calm down after Baroness Thatcher’s death no matter what vitriol was spouted; they would have been condemned either for failing or for being stupid enough to try.
    There really is no way for UKIPs leadership to quiet the ‘Kipper army without calling down further approbation on itself; if a public appeal for calm is made the story will be “UKIP can’t control it’s fruitcakes”, if the request is made quietly through the Party it will be “Totalitarian UKIP leaders quash dissent”.

    Olly, do you still vote UKIP?

  • fubarroso

    Oh here we go again. The wonderful wet behind the ears ‘Libertarian’ Olly who’s infantile and ill judged comments on the legitimacy of necrophilia brought UKIP’s Young Independence into disrepute. Yet he pretended that he got the bum’s rush because he was pro-gay. That might have held water if a high proportion of YI had walked out with him or if UKIP’s LGBT wasn’t a thriving and vociferous group in the party.

    • Chrissed by Fire

      How can you pretend it was about the necrophilia article when those comments were made before he was even elected and there are emails from the party chairman that directly say that the reason he’s being removed was because of his comments on same-sex marriage?

      By the way ‘legitimacy’ is subjective, just because someone believes something shouldn’t be illegal does not mean the same person believes it is legitimate – Olly doesn’t.

      By the way a high proportion of YI members DID walk out with him. Myself, Richard, Gareth, Arnie, Allrik, Reece, Lee, Dan, all of whom sans the latter two held positions in YI and/or the main party.

      • fubarroso

        Legal: “of, based on, or concerned with the law.”
        Legitimate: “conforming to the law or to rules”.

        • Chrissed by Fire

          ‘Able to be defended with logic or justification; valid.’

    • olly neville

      This sort of personal attack rather than dealing with the point pretty much makes my argument better than the article could. Thank you

  • Newf2002

    Yep, done that, got the t-shirt. You should see the disgraceful comments on the DT website re Bob Crow, and the Barmy Army were having a field day over Cathy Newman’s article today. I try to put some balance in there, asking them to work through some of their positions. But get quickly heckled in a weird “parallel universe” way: I call them out for being nasty to Mr. Crow and get called nasty? These days I find it difficult to separate the standard raving stuff from the trolls. Yesterday someone apparently supporting UKIP used the word “darkie”. Loony? Troll? Both?

  • Dean Perks

    Well I can’t disagree too much. It does however show how passionate some see about the liblabcon treating us with contempt. Not trusting the electorate believing we are too stupid to make an informed decision.

    • Loki

      “The liblabcon”…

  • Rayne Harvey

    Farage looks like the Farting Preacher in that pic.

  • Gregory Mason

    Cyberkips incoming in 3… 2…