EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sargon Of Akkad Talks UKIP, Brexit, Farage & Batten
Speaking exclusively to Kipper Central last week, prominent YouTuber and now UKIP activist Sargon Of Akkad gave his thoughts on the latest developments both within UKIP and on Theresa May’s Brexit deal, revealing for the first time his take on the Nigel/Batten debate and giving a unique insight into why UKIP’s Youthquake has taken place.
After a brief chat, we very quickly got stuck in with politics, starting with the question that everybody in UKIP has been asking for years; if YouTubers like Sargon are so popular (particularly among younger audiences than UKIP’s), why is this not translating into UKIP membership when we agree so much in terms of policy?
He explained: “There are a few issues; any parties that could have been considered to be classical liberals, like Vince Cable and the lib dems are relatively close but they seem to have a very bizarre interpretation that I can only assume stems from the fact that they’re becoming kind of an establishment party since being in government with the Conservatives because I can’t see the justification for remaining in the EU while the EU is so unaccountable.”
Expanding upon the solutions to this problem, Sargon added: “I always had a soft spot for UKIP coming up to the referendum. I thought they were a very useful pressure group; I was glad they existed, and I was glad they forced the Conservatives to do the right thing. But of course, the Conservatives backslid as soon as they could.
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“UKIP, I think, is going to have to fulfil the destiny that has been laid out for it and develop into a multi-fasted, full-spectrum political party because people understand it to be the Brexit pressure group – and it should still be that – but I think that Gerard Batten has signalled that he wants to start taking on the illiberal forces within our country and start rolling them back and I think primarily that means attacking political correctness and the insidious march of progressive ideology through our institutions. But honestly, I don’t think any party other than UKIP is capable of doing it.
“UKIP should – and this is a very British way of looking at it – take the attitude of ‘don’t be a zealot.’ Be calm, be contemplative and be reasonable. Understand that your political opponents and your opposition have a point. Pick up on what’s true about what they’re saying and combine it with what you’re saying rather than just giving the hard-line ideology stance of privatising everything or opening all the borders or anything like that.”
Turning next to the topic none of us can get away from lately, Brexit, Sargon discussed why it so crucial that Brexit is not only delivered but that it is delivered properly, and how that can be achieved. He said: “The core of liberalism is accountability. This is why Western liberal democracies don’t produce tyrannies. They’re very, very good at keeping the people above you in check. Every four or five years you’ll vote them out if they’re particularly egregious in some way.
“To me, the EU just appears to be adding extra layers of distance between the demos and the person holding the authority which is the antithesis of the liberal project. I can’t understand why anybody who calls themselves a liberal would be in favour of remaining part of a multinational unaccountable union like this; it just seems to drive against the entire point of liberalism itself.”
In particular, Sargon took great issue with the EU’s latest Article 13 which sought to restrict online content across Europe, explaining: “The fact that they want to do this in secret is entirely my problem. Why do they want to do this in secret? the only answer I can think of is that the public would have opposed what they were going to do, had they done it publicly.”
But, of course, Brexit can only be delivered by the government of the day, led by our “worthless” Prime Minister, about whom Sargon remarked: “Theresa May appears to stand for nothing at all; she appears to have no moral compass. When Corbyn beats his bird-like chest and says ‘Is this right?!’, she has no choice but to say yes because she doesn’t appear to have her own morals; she seems to be borrowing her morals from the Labour party, which means Theresa May is effectively a socialist for all intents and purposes. Even if she will say she doesn’t agree with policies, she can’t adequately explain why from a philosophical position.”
He continued: “As we saw with the Conservative manifesto, her moral compass is bizarre and out of touch – bring back Ivory trading, bring back fox hunting – what on earth was she thinking?!
“Merkel will outright laugh at Theresa May’s proposals. The latest proposal is very reasonable but they will just, within the day, decline it and say ‘no, we’re not happy with this’ because they feel like they have the upper hand during the negotiations so something has to be done about this. We have to reverse this trend.”
However, no government can be brought down with online criticisms alone; it takes political action to change the course of politics, which led us onto our next topic; UKIP. Explaining why the three YouTubers joined the party of Brexit, Sargon said: “We chose to join UKIP because UKIP lines up with our values closest of all. I think it’s time for the sensible but muscular classical liberals to come back and to start pushing back on far-left ideology, collectivist ideology. We’re individualists; we do not want group rights, we do not want censorship, we do not want the continuing raising of taxes. We want the country to prosper, we don’t want it to be controlled in the way that the socialists are trying to gain top-down control of not only this country but all of Europe through the European Union. I’m tired of it!”
He added: “I assumed that I’d be able to make videos and influence people and given enough time and a large enough audience, things would gradually change; and I think given the time they will. But the problem is that Brexit is being handled pathetically by the Conservatives and this is upping the ante for everyone. This is important; this is the most important thing Britain’s done since WW2 so getting this right is more important than anything. Showing a firm hand to Europe I think is the most important thing because the European Union is not a stable entity at the moment; it’s actually on very unstable foundations. But for some reason, the establishment media wish to display the EU as if it’s some titanic, monolithic, vast empire that can never be defeated.”
On UKIP’s relatively new leader, Gerard Batten, Sargon explained: “I have to say, I’m very impressed with Batten’s gravitas and sense. What I like most about him is that he seems to be just a regular guy and he’s prepared to look at these things reasonably and make sensible decisions rather than hard-line ideological decisions but he’s still coming from a classical liberal ideological framework.
“I think Gerard has a particular kind of air about him that is very credible and I think works very well with people of my parents’ age in the middle class; he’s not a hysterical radical, he’s not screaming and shouting and banging his fist on the table. He’s just making the points that he thinks are valid – and I think they’re valid too. I think he was a fantastic representative of what UKIP should be aiming to be.”
Sargon went on to address the recent storm of media outlets accusing UKIP of being “far-right”, saying: “When I see UKIP being described as ‘far-right’, I’m just like, how? How exactly are they far right? It’s never explained. I don’t even think the media have a definition for ‘far-right’ because they don’t call UKIP ‘Nazis’ because everybody knows they’re not. UKIP, in fact, are the only party, as far as I’m aware, which actively prevents ex-BNP or EDL members from joining. I mean, there are ex-BNP councillors in the Labour party. I don’t know where the charge of being ‘far-right’ is being levelled at and I don’t think they’ve got a definition for it.
I put it to Sargon that the accusation of ‘far-right’ is simply thrown at anyone the far-left don’t like, and he responded “It’s kind of a lazy thing to say so I don’t want to fling that out but I can’t disagree with you when you say it. It really is a catch-all ‘they are opposed to us, therefore they are far-right.’ To me, that sounds very much like an accusation levelled by the far-left against centrists who they view – because they are so far left – as being on the far-right because frankly, they’re lunatics.
“You can see the fear in the attacks that they’re sending us; crying everyone’s a Nazi and ‘oh God look it’s the far-right!’, just calm down! I think they are very much afraid of what’s happening.
“When the Guardian start freaking out and publish five articles in a day about the ‘evil YouTubers’ joining UKIP, that’s a very good sign!
“I’m so glad they gave us the label of free speech extremists; I would never have thought of calling myself a ‘free speech extremist’ – I mean, I am because I believe in free speech but I would never have coined it myself!”
Moving on more specifically to the topic of free speech within British Universities, Sargon discussed the root causes of the censorship often seen in educational institutions, arguing: “It’s got nothing to do with the far-right and everything to do with the far-left! The far-left have been very cunning in their subversion of Universities in the Western world. It’s quite awe-inspiring to watch how effectively they’ve been and it’s time to accept that they’re here and they’re doing damage.
“The fact that I can use the words ‘censorship’ and ‘British Universities’ in the same sentence is a disgusting thing.”
Going on to highlight the differences between independent YouTubers and the mainstream media as well as the impact of the internet and social media on politics, Sargon said: “I think the internet is effectively going to give us a revolution like we saw with the printing press where information is going to available to people at the click of a button anywhere in the world and it’ll be bypassing the gatekeepers in the media. The problem we have is that the media has formed a gate-keeping class and you’ll see this happening from both left and right attacking people like myself, Paul Joseph Watson and Count Dankula on the same angle that the far-left has been attacking us before the media even noticed who they are. It’s because really they don’t care; they just know that they don’t have control over us. We’re free to follow our own consciences whereas they have corporate paymasters.”
When asked why young people who are supporting and following Sargon but not UKIP, he said: “I think a lot of it is to do with personality; I think people are less interested in party politics and more interested in people they can personally hold accountable and therefore they can trust them to be credible. I only answer to my audience, and my audience has very standards and very high expectations of me.
“The YouTubers are going to help UKIP understand the new digital environment and flourish in it. I’ve to Gerard about this at length and he seems very happy for us to be the social media vanguard to be putting the word out. I’ve got some plans myself to produce some more easily digestible intellectual content that’s suitable for the internet that will be easy to share; sort of thing that people will see and enjoy watching.
“We are already having an impact with the article 13 campaign and with the recent spike in UKIP membership which I hear is still going – the nice UKIP youthquake you’re having and I was told there’s a backlog in membership applications as well!”
Finally, moving on to the topic we’ve all been waiting for; UKIP’s leadership – I put the classic ‘Nigel or Gerard’ question to Sargon. It is worth noting that this interview took place before Nigel’s recent statement that he will stand for UKIP’s leadership if Brexit is not back on track by March next year. Sargon responded: “I have to say I saw Nigel Farage the other day on his LBC show say that if Brexit wasn’t delivered by 2019 he’d return to frontline politics and if I had to speak from a tactical perspective, I think Farage would be the best man on branding alone. Everyone knows who Farage is, he’s very popular. Assuming he didn’t want to come back as UKIP leader, I think Gerard would do very at the very least having him as an adviser or a spokesman.
“I think I would have to be tactical and vote for Farage. I’ve got a personal affection for Farage because I like what he did. To me, Farage is a quintessential Englishman – he saw something that was wrong and just dedicated his time to fixing it and then as soon as he thought it was fixed, he said ‘Right, I’m retiring. I’m not here for my own glory, I’m here to get the job done.’ Unfortunately for Farage, the job hasn’t been done. I honestly thought when Theresa May first took it up that she was making all the right noises; I assumed she was taking motivation from Margaret Thatcher – a woman who wasn’t for turning. […] I think I would have to side with Farage because of who he is, but I wouldn’t want to have to make the choice. They’re both different but very good at being what they are.”
Before closing up the interview, I asked Sargon if he had any intentions to stand for UKIP leader in future if Nigel and Gerard both stepped down. He said: “Why do people always ask me that?! I’ve no plans to formally get into politics.” I pointed out this reply wasn’t a yes or a no, to which he said: “That’s correct, it wasn’t a yes or a no!”