Over the last week or so, there has been a collective shift for the main pro-Brexit populist parties in Britain in that various famous YouTubers have signed up to them. On the one hand, the likes of Sargon Of Akkad, Count Dankula, Paul Joseph Watson and Milo Yiannopoulos have joined UKIP. Meanwhile, the likes of Reverend Simon Sideways have joined For Britain.
What does this mean for both parties? On the one hand, it provides good news for both parties. For UKIP, this is probably the best news for the party since they helped to win the EU referendum back in 2016. This increased attention they have received as a result hasn’t gone unnoticed all, with them gaining between 500 to a thousand new members from the increased exposure.
All the while, having various prominent members of the sceptic community of YouTube may give them some more street cred among those watching their videos and the populist voting crowd of who lost faith in UKIP, feeling that they were a single-issue party. Meanwhile, former leader Nigel Farage may be far from thrilled at this news, because he recently lashed out at the current leader Gerard Batten over the latter’s hard stance on Islam .
Meanwhile Sideways may not be as prominent, but it still gives For Britain a major boost. He has a subscription base of 22k people, all the while being heavily featured in videos about huge protests, like the recent Gays Against Sharia protest in Bristol and the pro Brexit rally in London to celebrate the second anniversary of the result. Now the party has more than Morrissey’s endorsement, which can only be a good sign.
But will the support mean anything in the long run? While the increased support it will undoubtedly give both parties might give both a short-term boost, one could argue as to whether it will sustain them.
Neither For Britain or UKIP have taken the position of opposition government. Both had a poor performance in the recent Lewisham East by-election, for example, David Kurten gained only 380 votes (being beat by the likes of the Women’s Equality Party can never be a good sign for any party). It seems unlikely that the voting public are that bothered by the political right at this point.
The fact that only at most a thousand new members have joined UKIP because of this YouTuber exodus (despite having millions of subscribers between them, not to mention the general followings they have besides that) is not proof that the general public en masse is deserting Labour for the purples. Sargon’s infamous use of the word “n**ger” probably won’t help gain votes.
Add to that how Batten will be standing down early next year, and the Members of the European Parliament for the party losing their jobs because of Brexit, and this only seems like a small term gain for the party as opposed to anything substantial.
For For Britain meanwhile, it may mean something more significant. The increased support they are receiving from big names like Sideways and Morrissey may give them more clout in the political mainstream, which may aid them later on. Whether they can use this to boost their future election prospects is yet to be seen.
Their decent performances in the 2018 local elections and their unremarkable performance in the aforementioned by-election in Lewisham East (where they were beaten by UKIP, indicating that they are still the main Brexit party around), it seems that they have a long way to go before hitting huge electoral success yet. Not to mention controversy about one of their former local election candidates having to be ejected from the party because of his links to the proscribed Neo-Nazi group National Action indicates that they still have a problem with such people clinging onto them for political gain, which won’t do the party any favours in the future.
What it overall shows however is the changing world we live in. The pull a party can gain from having famous Internet personalities is something to marvel at, showing huge progress from the days of traditional celebrities announcing their support for a political candidate or party.
The old celebrity class is losing favour with the masses, especially the various entertainment personalities showing signs of mental collapse over the likes of Brexit and Trump, and the appetite for more rational and fresh voices in politics is growing. Whether UKIP or For Britain can use this to their advantage is yet to be seen.
(Articles reflect the views of the author, and not necessarily those of Luke Nash-Jones, The Red Pill Factory, or Make Britain Great Again.)