UKIP leader Gerard Batten on Twitter talking about an article in the Guardian about him and the party.
Normally I wouldn’t advertise the Guardian but I don’t think this will do me any harm. It’s a funny old world where one is called ‘hard right’ for defending our traditional freedoms, democratic & legal systems. But that’s the hard left for you.
The Guardian writes – Ukip’s new leader, Gerard Batten, has reiterated his intention to move the party towards the hard right by urging people to read the Qur’an so they can “educate” themselves about the threat posed by Islam. I think they now use the phrase ‘hard right’ not ‘far right’ as the answer to that is ‘not far right, just not far wrong’.
“I draw attention to the problems that the Islamic ideology brings to our country, and I think that’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do,” he told BBC Two’s Daily Politics.
Batten, who took over in February after the removal of Henry Bolton, repeated his belief that Islam is inherently antisemitic and the Labour party is deliberately tolerant of the prejudice in order to attract Muslim votes.
A longstanding Ukip rule barred entry to former members of the British National party or the English Defence League, a hard-right, anti-Muslim street group. However, Batten appears to be openly courting such support. Last week, he took part in a long video interview with Tommy Robinson, the founder of the EDL, for Robinson’s YouTube channel.
Asked on Daily Politics about his opinion on Islam being necessarily antisemitic, Batten said this was the case. “Absolutely,” he said.
But he denied he was being anti-Islam, saying: “It’s anti-Islamic ideology. I have nothing against individuals, I take people as I find them. But the ideology of Islam is inherently antisemitic.”
Challenged by the Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran, who was also on the show, Batten told her: “Maybe you should read the Qur’an and the Hadith and educate yourself.” Turning that patronising left-wing phrase back on the left-wingers; I like it!
After reciting a passage from the Hadith, an Islamic holy text, which he said backed his view, Batten rejected the idea that only a tiny proportion of Islamist extremists believed this “They are not extremists, they are literalists, who take it literally. Most Muslims don’t, thank goodness, but a lot of people do take it literally,”
Batten said he was not concerned about potentially stigmatising Muslims in general, and said people should learn about the threat posed by the faith: “No. If anybody doesn’t know the truth of this, go and buy yourself a copy of the Qur’an and the Hadith and read it yourself.”
He hasn’t backed down on his views, which I admire, AND he has proved Nick Lowles of Hope not Hate writing in the Independent newspaper wrong. In February Lowles wrote, thinking wishfully
Ukip is finished after electing Gerard Batten…Ukip’s extraordinary general meeting was everything you’d expect from a dying party. The party is now a bad joke, haemorrhaging support and money.
In then choosing Batten to hold the helm, though, the party has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous. . .
…poll revealed that a worrying 52 per cent of people distrusted Muslims following last year’s terror attacks, so with rising tensions and as Brexit gathers pace, we expect anti-immigration sentiment to be replaced with anti-Muslim views,
Since February UKIP’s membership has started to grow again and is gathering apace and Batten’s appeal to members raised £300,000 which paid a legal bill and saved the party from insolvency. Local elections are tomorrow and I have three votes; the one UKIP candidate and two of the proven local independents will get them.