Now that leadership favourite Steven Woolfe MEP has quit the party, UKIP’s future as a dominant force in British politics looks ever more uncertain. Its direction of travel had been unclear ever since its ultimate objective was accomplished in June with Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, which was followed by the resignation of its leering, guppy-faced but evidently, to some, magnetic leader Nigel Farage – now, his life’s work complete, free to carouse with the American far-right until they tire of his fruity limey ways as he sails down a Styxian river of liquor into death’s merciful embrace.
After Diane James MEP’s 18-day sojourn at the head of UKIP – immortalised in little beyond her horrifyingly, nails-down-chalkboard-level, stomach-churningly British demand, from her sole conference speech, that Theresa May “stop the faff. Stop the fudge. Stop the farce,” and “get on with” Brexit negotiations – Farage is now back as interim leader, although he has stated he has no interest in staying in the job for any longer than is necessary to elect a replacement. However, with the departure of Woolfe – seen by some as Farage’s natural successor, and endorsed by the party’s biggest donor, Arron Banks – exactly who that leader should be is anybody’s guess.
Well, I am anybody and, although as a member of the Labour Party it is not really my business to lend it, I believe that as their current crisis rages UKIP need all the help they can get. And, in fact, as a member of the Labour Party, I believe I am uniquely (along with half a million other people) qualified to offer advice on how to handle a deeply acrimonious internal rupture within one’s party. Therefore, I am ready to take the unprecedented step of endorsing a candidate in another party’s leadership contest – albeit one who has not yet got his name on the ballot, although hopefully upon hearing of my important intervention he will reconsider.
Mike Hookem is UKIP’s only way forward. Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber, Hookem is UKIP’s defence spokesman, representing a sector in which he has considerable experience, having served for four years in the Royal Air Force and nine in the Royal Engineers. He is, however, best known as the man who (allegedly) punched Stephen Woolfe right out of the party at a meeting of UKIP MEPs at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, although he disputes this, pleading that Woolfe “somehow fell off his own feet and fell into the room.”
According to Hookem, he had confronted Woolfe over rumours that he planned to defect to the Conservatives. Apparently incensed by Hookem’s line of questioning, Woolfe is said to have taken off his jacket and said, “let’s me and you take this outside,” – and I quote – “mano el mano.” “That was his words,” Hookem took great cares to explain in one interview, “mano. el. mano.” In the “tussle” that ensued, the savagery of which is not clear due to obfuscation on both combatants’ parts, Woolfe apparently “fell” and, according to Hookem, definitely did not hit his head, although he did collapse later that day and spent several more in hospital, and maintains that Hookem punched him in the face. It was reported that Hookem went on the run; although, as you can see above, he denies this. Woolfe now says he intends to press charges.
Asked why he agreed to go and have it out with Woolfe “mano el mano”, Hookem explained that it was a bad decision and one he regretted, but that “I’m from Hull. If you get offered out in Hull and you don’t go, you’re a bit of a wimp.” Also, he probably hates Tories and, as he’s had to be on his best behaviour as an elected representative of his area, hasn’t decked one of them in years. It’s never a great plan of action to keep your anti-Tory rage pent up to breaking point, because they can afford better lawyers than you.
Mike Hookem is classic Labour stock – the kind who left during the New Labour years but hasn’t been tempted back by Jeremy Corbyn, who detests the carping of privileged Tories but is, as Owen Smith identified, more “small-c conservative” than the Labour left, holding “legitimate concerns over immigration” and worries about defence, such as “What if Argentina, drunk off the support of Corbyn, decided to attack the Falklands again?” or his two articles for the alt-right/outright fash news site Breitbart where he frets about the prospect of an EU Army. He is the protagonist of every interchangeable Jonathan Freedland or Polly Toynbee column in The Guardian where they make the case that Labour could win back its (white, always white) working class heartlands in a heartbeat if only it were just that little bit more racist, and, of course, steered clear of any kind of recognisably left-wing economic policy.
Were Hookem leader of UKIP, Guardian Bigotry Correspondent™ John Harris wouldn’t even need to leave the paper’s King’s Cross offices to source his delicious vox poppy slices of homespun xenophobic wisdom. Knowing that UKIP was at last truly the party of the embattled, embittered white working class – like Labour, basically, but more racist – his journalistic output could transform into laudatory press releases reproduced almost verbatim from Hookem Head Office, laying out how, once we’ve kicked ’em all out, the jobs will come flowing back to forgotten, deindustrialised communities; how from Hull to Redcar the Northern Powerhouse shall spring to life, blossoming until it resembles the glossy techno-utopian future depicted in Spike Jonze’s 2013 film Her – a neon, high-tech dream where everybody happens to be white. Fully automated luxury racism, baby.
But a full-on embrace of social fascism – pitching slightly to the left of the likes of Freedland and Toynbee on economic policy – is only one aspect of the Hookem Doctrine. I have outlined the service that the strong leadership of Mike Hookem (with myself as his campaign manager) can offer to the far-right; roughly the same service Owen Smith – to name but one similarly irresponsible politician – was performing when he made up statistics about the amount of refugee children taking up places in his constituency’s schools: to help frame racial resentments as class consciousness. Likewise, those of a hawkish bent will appreciate how a Hookem leadership would defend our nation against expansionist aggressors such as Argentina and the EU. Hookemism, however, also has the potential to do some of the left’s work for it, and advance the cause of antifascism.
By (allegedly) punching Steven Woolfe in the face, Mike Hookem has set a strong behavioural precedent for their comrades on the far/hard-right (whatever you wanna call it, basically the lot that don’t like immigrants.) As it stands, the more people in UKIP that punch one another in the face, the better. With Mike Hookem as leader, a culture of violence would be nurtured in the party, and as Director of Communications I would encourage Hookem to participate in as much of the pugilism himself, “mano el mano”, as his schedule permits. Whilst Hookem unfortunately began the Great UKIP Punch-Up of 2016 by sparking out one of the party’s few prominent people of colour, the demographic composition of UKIP should thankfully see the vast majority of the violence take a distinctly white-on-white tone: a merciful antithesis to the surge in racist hate crime that has swept the UK since the Brexit referendum. Of course it is commendable when a good socialist re-educates a fascist with their fist, but fascists are miserable little wimps and love the police, and they will call 999 on you. We need socialists on our streets. It is imperative that we get as many fascists as possible punching each other in the face.
Due to the multiplicity of political perspectives in the very loosely ideological UKIP, many would be dissatisfied with Hookem’s leadership anyway, but the culture of violence would really inflame factional tensions and could see all kinds of horrible racists getting absolutely seen off by other horrible racists, who would in turn get battered by other horrible racists, and on and on it would go until they’d all put one another off racism for good. With any luck, the atmosphere within UKIP would spread to the various parties to their right, Britain First would all shoot each other, Jack Buckby would get smothered by one of the other two cunts in his shit little party with one of their Islamophobic cakes, and the forces of hate in the United Kingdom would self-combust once and for all. (Obviously hate is OK when directed towards the far-right. I really think this.)
But the sad electoral reality is that, were there no far-right fringe in Britain, their target audience, if they voted, would probably end up voting for the increasingly fascoid Tories. Labour can never outdo UKIP or the Tories when it comes to anti-migrant sentiment, and shouldn’t try, but if anybody can appeal to that weary Guardian stereotype of a working lad who used to work at t’ mill but now wiles away dole-queue days drinking a strong brew with twenty-seven sugars from his “Controls on Immigration” mug, it’s Mike Hookem’s UKIP. The party are currently experiencing a serious lag in the polls as a result of their internal turmoil. Like their former leader, many in UKIP are the kind of affluent, real ale-swilling, Daily Mail-reading tosser who’d live in Surrey, and if the new leadership are prepared to stick a hearty middle finger up to that demographic, they can really go for seizing that (white) working class vote.
(It’s always the white working class. Don’t even question it. Even though ethnic minorities are statistically more likely to be working class, white people represent a bigger proportion of the working class and population as a whole, thus their needs are prioritised in majoritarian electoral politics. There is nothing more reflective of an absence of an alternative to the economic status quo than when centrist parties call for controls on immigration, against their better economic judgement, and pitch it as an appeal for the – white, of course – working class vote. The function of the Labour Party should be to revolutionise the living conditions of the entire working class.)
My new close personal friend Mike Hookem holds some pretty abhorrent views on refugees, which should make him a perfect fit for today’s political climate. The BBC granted them ample airtime in August 2015, airing an eight minute segment in which Hookem scurries around the undergrowth near the Calais Jungle, hunting for refugees set on finding a passage to Britain. The 61 year-old man climbs up a fence, attempting to demonstrate how easy it is for a migrant to get over them, although he doesn’t personally make the jump (you wonder, as well, how many refugees attempting to scale the fence have Hookem’s extensive military training). When he and the BBC journalist eventually talk to a man who’s fled from Eritrea, Hookem has absolutely no sympathy for his plight, because he’s breaking the law. Hookem is a man of steel. Cold, cold steel. And a degree of coldness is absolutely necessary to do something like run UKIP, a party that actively makes the world worse by simple virtue of existing.
Further evidence attests that it would be severely unwise to mess with Mike Hookem, which I promise I am not doing now (seriously, Mike, let’s talk about the campaign.) When Woolfe quit the party, Hookem declared that “Woolfe’s political career was over the minute he showed disloyalty to the UK Independence Party and membership when he held talks to join the Tories.” I’m told that his formidable reputation precedes him in his Hull stomping ground, that “you never fucked about with that family.” A fierce defender of the imbecilic ex-MEP Godfrey Bloom, Hookem told two fellow UKIP candidates celebrating his expulsion from the party on Facebook that,
“You should consider your actions before slagging off party members on social media in fact I want to see both of you at the next regional meeting were Jane Collins and myself will consider your future in the party.”
Mike Hookem MEP is the man with the iron fist that can bring a party that’s coming apart at the seams into line. In a heartless world, riven with soulless conditions, he can at least give a deeply reprehensible party some heart and some soul, even if such a gaffe-prone figure might not necessarily be great for their electoral prospects, if you wanna take a certain analysis. It could even be argued that I may not necessarily have the right’s best interests at heart when I write this. But UKIP are in a precarious position right now, and desperately need a new strategy, as well as a punch in the face. Hookem’s opponents – as far as I know, Paul Nutalls of the UKIPs and some Breitbart dipshit – are political lightweights. There is nothing lightweight about Mike Hookem. When he throws his hat in the ring, it should be the easiest thing in the world to vanquish each and every one of them – mano el mano.
NB: Please nobody ever ask me to work on a political campaign. Especially you, Hookem. I don’t care if you’re prepared to go mano el m