UKIP, UAF and reporting

UKIP London Rally

Yesterday UKIP had a rally in central London and the UAF protested it, as apparently they think that UKIP are a racist and fascist party. Normally I don’t go to part political meetings and in fact yesterday was the first one I’ve been to as an adult, so despite not being a UKIP supporter the prospect of UAF based amusement dragged me up into town. I’m not going to bother talking about what UKIP said, as that’s been badly covered by the mainstream media and besides it was the usual rally the troops sort of deal – so if you don’t like UKIP you’ll accuse it all of being staged and if you support UKIP then it’s just stuff you’ll likely agree with. Instead I’m going to concern myself with the coverage of the vent and the protesters. Regular readers of this blog (both of them) will know that generally I don’t think that much of protesters, and UAFs efforts last night haven’t made me change my mind. UAFs megaphone was audible from quite some distance away, but sadly what they were shouting wasn’t terribly intelligible even close up. The police had the UAF group across the road from the UKIP event queue but even that close their message wasn’t well delivered – it really isn’t enough to just have a megaphone you also need to know how to speak. From what I saw the UAF protestors were less ethnically diverse and at least as middle class as the people queuing to get into the UKIP event. Their message seemed to boil down to three key points:
UKIP are a fascist party
UKIP are a racist party
Immigrants are here to stay
With of course a side helping of accusing everyone in the queue of being all manner of bigot.

They really didn’t make much of an impact and once actually inside the venue were completely inaudible. I’m not quite sure what they were trying to achieve with the demo, as they weren’t saying anything that hasn’t been said repeatedly in the main stream media before, they were a substantially smaller crowd than attending the UKIP event and had no actual rebuttals to UKIP beyond the aforementioned accusations.

The coverage of the event by the mainstream press has been rather enlightening, especially given all of the claims from that press that UKIP are a one man show. There were quite a few speakers over the course of the evening, it lasted 2 hours after all, and I think only 2 have been quoted beyond Mr Farage. Of course he is the UKIP party leader so it’s expected he’ll get more words written about him, but it really was hardly a one man show.

Taking an one line report first from the Huffington post, from the headline:
“Hecklers Cause Chaos At Ukip London Rally”
and much of the tone of the article you’d thing that it had been a stunning success for the UAF. There were no traded insults whilst I was in the queue, quiet mocking of the UAF but no shouting, the hecklers inside all decided to heckle early and didn’t have their act together.
“hecklers shouted ‘racist’ as each speaker took the platform.”
Erm, no they didn’t they tended to shout towards the end of the speeches. There may have been about a half dozen groups of hecklers there were more speakers, so the UAF ran out of hecklers well before the half way mark. It also really isn’t terribly smart to get apparently middle class white youths to accuse mixed race/ethnic speakers of being racist. I’m not quite sure how the huffington post can say:
“Hecklers popped up at every speech,”
(emphasis mine), when they previously admit
“None remained to heckle Farage by the time the Ukip leader came onstage.”.

Talk of hecklers infiltrating the event are also rather implausible given the security I suspect they actually did the same as me and shelled out a fiver for a ticket on line.

Keeping up the spin we have the BBC with an impressively well framed photo. Taken at about the same time as the photo at the top of the page the BBC managed to get this:
ukip bbc version
Looks like a very predominantly white group from the BBC point of view, yet pull back ever so slightly and a slight move to the right of frame gives you this picture by the Telegraph which show a rather different mix of people around Mr Farage:
UKIP Telegraph
As they all want to keep the focus on Mr Farage and those ever so photogenic hand gestures I doubt anywhere will show the full picture of all the candidates in the diversity that UKIP were wanting to demonstrate.

Reward for best reporting probably goes to The Express

Just to complete the round up the Independent has some video, and doesn’t mention the heckler and protest that much. Though does as with the other reports continue using the same few examples to illustrate the “string” of UKIP related figures that have come in for criticism. Which I do tend to think doesn’t stack up that badly against the other parties when you consider the UKIP “string” includes supporters, random party members, local Councillors and statements made by those same people when they were actually members of other parties. Those other parties not seeming to have a problem with them at the time.

As I suspect many people who have been at random demo’s in the past few years have come to suspect the reporting of the mainstream media from those events, I can’t say that they’ve done any better in terms of actual accuracy with this event. For me at least the tactic of accusing UKIP of being X and then saying the fact that they spend so much time denying that they’re X is proof that they really are is getting really very very tired indeed. If UKIP are as evil incarnate as the likes of UAF would have us believe then I’d have thought there would be some actual policy items or official statements that could be attacked, rather than just name calling and the really rather small “string” of statements that get repeatedly recycled.

Finally for another perspective on the events of UAF Vs. UKIP Katabasis has a few words.

update spiked also have an interestign take on the UAF Vs. UKIP fun and games.

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