Ukip leader Gerard Batten has defended the party promoting a leading alt-right figure to run in European parliamentary elections next month.
Carl Benjamin—known as “Sargon of Akkad”—is the party’s lead candidate for the South West region.
Batten dismissed as “satire” Benjamin’s tweet that he “wouldn’t even rape” Labour MP Jess Philips.
He sent the tweet in 2016 after Philips had said threats of rape online had become “somewhat par for the course”.
Benjamin, who is a prominent supporter of Nazi Tommy Robinson, was one of a number of alt-right figures who joined Ukip last year.
They included Mark Meechan—known as “Count Dankula”—who was fined for teaching his dog to Sieg Heil on hearing “Gas the Jews”.
Batten had to rule out Robinson running as a Ukip candidate last week.
The party’s traditional conservative wing stopped a rule change last year to lift the ban on former members of the English Defence League and the British National Party (BNP) joining.
Robinson was a member of the BNP and founder of the EDL. He still made Robinson his personal adviser on child sexual abuse.
Batten has spoken at far right rallies organised by Robinson and his supporters.
Most recently the two organised a 3,000-strong “Make Brexit Happen” rally on Whitehall, central London, last month.
Robinson’s speech focused on far right and antisemitic themes.
After the rally Batten posed with convicted gun-runner Frank Portinari, who led the London branch of the Ulster Defence Association sectarian murder squad in the 1990s.
Batten still hopes that openly turning to the far right will further revive Ukip’s fortunes.
But Ukip is competing with other right wing forces in its bid to capitalise on the Tories’ Brexit crisis.
A YouGov poll last week showed Ukip on 14 percent in the European elections—one point behind the new Brexit Party led by Nigel Farage.
It is largely made up of right wing Brexiteers who jumped ship from the Tories.
Supporters of Stand Up To Racism protested outside the Brexit Party’s launch rally in Coventry last Friday. Right wing forces are hoping to make gains by grabbing support from the Tories.
A recent by-election in Newport West saw Ukip nearly double its vote while both Labour and the Tories lost support.
The far right are also hoping to gain standing in the local council elections.
And because of the proportional representation voting system, parties can win seats with smaller share of the vote in the European parliament than in general elections.
Anti-racists need to unite across Remain and Leave lines to make a stand against the far right and racist forces in the European elections.
Anti-racist march in Southall
Anti-racists plan to march through west London on Saturday of next week.
It comes on the 40th anniversary of the police murder of Blair Peach. Blair, a member of the Socialist Workers Party and Anti Nazi League (ANL), was murdered by police on 23 April 1979.
The fascist National Front had called a public meeting in Southall, west London, to drum up support ahead of the general election.
They had come third in local elections in London and hoped to intimidate Asian people in the area.
The ANL backed a counter-demonstration.
Blair was hit over the head by an officer from the Special Patrol Group, a riot squad in the Metropolitan Police, and died in hospital that evening.
None of the six officers involved in Blair’s death—Alan Murray, Anthony Richardson, Raymond White, Michael Freestone, James Scottow and Anthony Lake—have been held to account.
The march will also remember Gurdip Singh Chaggar, killed in a racist attack in 1976.
UN slams dire conditions for refugees
The United Nations (UN) has slammed the French authorities for the “dire conditions” refugees are living in.
Hundreds are trapped in northern France and Belgium.
Leilani Farha, a UN special rapporteur for housing, said, “The government of France must prohibit the repeated and systematic evictions of persons living in tents and informal settlements.”
“They result in inhuman or degrading treatment.”
Farha added, “People in Calais are being compelled to live in really dire circumstances, having already endured harrowing journeys there involving violence and extreme conditions.
“The evictions every 48 hours are unequivocally a violation of the right to adequate housing.”
The refugees have fled war, poverty, dictatorship and climate chaos—and face increasing barriers by the European Union (EU) and its member states.
Some 64 refugees have been allowed to come to Germany, France, Portugal and Luxembourg. They were stuck on board the German charity Sea-Eye’s rescue ship, the Alan Kurdi, for more than a week.
The ship had been blocked from docking by the Italian and Maltese governments.
Stand Up To Racism and Care4Calais are organising a solidarity delegation to Calais on Saturday of next week.
It’s not just charity, but building a movement in Britain that stands in solidarity with refugees. The only solution is to open the border and let the refugees in.