Peculiar bedfellows

Last June the Guardian reported that Ukip had welcomed a trio of Twitter trolls, Carl Benjamin (Sargon of Akkad) being one.

Ukip has allowed a trio of social media activists linked to the “alt-right” to join the party.

The arrival of Paul Joseph Watson, Mark Meechan – better known to YouTube viewers as Count Dankula – and Carl Benjamin, who posts videos as Sargon of Akkad, will alarm some senior Ukip members already concerned at the struggling party’s direction under Gerard Batten.

All three are vocal on social media, with large followings and often controversial views. Watson, who has 875,000 Twitter followers, is a senior editor at Infowars, the US-based website that deals partly in conspiracy theories, such as arguing that the Sandy Hook primary school shooting was a hoax.

Watson describes himself as a “classical liberal”, but mainly offers posts condemning immigration and Islam, and seeking to bait leftwingers.

“Classical liberal” in the sense of xenophobic and bullying; ok.

A spokesman for the group Hope Not Hate, which monitors far-right groups among others said: “There are attempts afoot to forge an alliance between extreme figures who have made their names online, those involved in electoral politics, and those out on the streets, around an anti-Muslim and pro- ‘free speech’ agenda.

“In following the path he’s chosen, Batten is leading Ukip down a dangerous route, and the acceptance of figures such as Watson is further evidence of this.”

Oh don’t worry, they’re classical liberals.

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