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Did Carl of Swindon — aka Sargon of Akkad — just destroy an entire political party? An analysis, with memes

Fake news — or all too real?

By David Futrelle

The results are in for the European elections, and as a confused American I have no idea what they mean, for the UK or Europe as a whole. (I’ll leave the explanations to people who understand this better than me.)

But there’s one thing that’s clear to even me: Barring a miracle, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), is toast, and a good part of the blame for that rests on the shoulders of YouTube-blabber-turned-UKIP-candidate Sargon of Akkad, aka Carl Benjamin of Swindon.

UKIP earned a whopping 3.3% percent of the vote, winning the party a grand total of zero seats in the European Parliament. In Swindon, Sargon’s home town, the party scored a little better, but the dropoff in votes for UKIP from the last elections was even more humiliating than in the country at large.

To be fair, most observers agree, the real cause of UKIP’s implosion was Brexit kingpin Nigel Farage’s defection to his brand-new Brexit party, which came in first in the election, boosted by all the former UKIP voters who defected with Farage.

But Sargon definitely didn’t help. Indeed, he may have driven the final nail into UKIP’s coffin. Over the course of his brief campaign, Sargon managed to embarrass himself and his party so thoroughly that neither may ever recover.

He began his candidacy by doubling down on a rape joke directed at a Member of Parliament, and spent much of his time answering questions about the joke and other horrific comments he’d made in the past — including a pretty creepy take on pedophilia (“it depends on the child”).

Also, he got milkshaked, and at one campaign stop he was pelted with fish.

But it wasn’t just Sargon who was constantly getting asked questions about his rape joke and other awful statements; other UKIP candidates spent so much time dealing with the Sargon issue that a top party official told the Guardian yesterday that she thought

Ukip’s EU campaign has been overshadowed by Sargon of Akkad’s disgusting comments and rape jokes and things he has said in the past. That’s very much marred Ukip’s reputation.

Naturally, Sargon’s many detractors online — of all ideological stripes — reacted with glee to his massive failure, prompting one person to post this meme highlighting this rare moment of agreement between Twitterers and the trolls of 4chan.

And then there were these memes:

On Twitter, the jokes and comments were mostly clean, if not always polite.

https://twitter.com/MrCruelWorld/status/1133004726453194752

Things got a little more … intense on 4chan’s /pol/.

Here are a couple of fans defending Sargon and fellow far-right election-loser Tommy Robinson:

We didnt elect Tommy or Sargon

We dont deserve our country. The masses are cattle, brainwashed by the fifth column. We need to be annexed by the US
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Gijoel
Gijoel
2 years ago

He didn’t get milkshaked once, he got milkshaked four times.

Snowberry
Snowberry
2 years ago

How do we really know he’s a reverse King Midas? He might just be one of those people who show up when things are already turning to crap.

Which, as signs go, isn’t really any better.

Bina
2 years ago

Brexit was a wrexit even before he came along to bobble it up further. The man’s as useless as udders on a bull.

Except, of course, when it comes to risibility.

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
2 years ago

Lmao literally 0 seats. Dearest leader he is not.

C4twoman
C4twoman
2 years ago

The UKIP has been a running joke for years, even before their flirtation with racists and the sewers of the Internet. In the Irish language political comedy, “Crisis Eile”, [about a disgraced member of the Dail (Irish Parliament) sent to Brussels], the British EU presence is represented by a manic UKIP politician obsessed with his “Bacon Rolly Polly” motion. The UKIP’s direct effect on Irish politics is nil and they think it’s worth mocking.

If only the real UKIP was so whimsically and harmlessly amusing.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee

I’ve been taking a much needed partial break from the news lately, but good to see this.

Space Oddity
Space Oddity
2 years ago

To be fair, UKIP was already collapsing before Carl of Swindon and his felt alt-right edgelords signed on–they got 2% in the 2017 General Election, and have had a lengthy series of embarrassing leaders over a fairly short span of time, most notably Gerard Batten’s immediate predecessor Henry Bolton, who was forced to resign due to an affair with a racist Page 3 girl. (Yes, really.) It’s just this turned out to be treating your mortal illness with strychnine.

Tovius
2 years ago

“Neo-Jacobin” Well that’s a new one. I’m not sure what it says about them that they have to reach back to the French Revolution to describe their conspiracy-theory ladened boogeyman.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
2 years ago

And in a sign of how brave these manly alt-right nitwits are, Tommy Robinson didn’t just get beaten, he got beaten so badly he snuck out of the count room rather than have to be there when his trouncing was officially announced.

Neutral_Good
Neutral_Good
2 years ago

And the alt-right does what does best when they have to wear their asses as hats: Feast on their own and disavow ever knowing the person.

Thomas Pain
Thomas Pain
2 years ago

Article only serves to reinforce writer’s/ reader’s prejudiced opinion re ukip and Benjamin; hence reads like merely so much more globalist propaganda.

Moggie
Moggie
2 years ago

I haven’t been able to take as much pleasure as I would have liked in UKIP’s implosion.

At this election, UKIP served, in an Overton Window kind of way, to make Farage’s new vehicle seem almost respectable. Farage, who is known to have been in contact with Steve Bannon, and who has now topped the poll in almost every constituency with a “party” which has no members and no declared manifesto. He’s now demanding a place at the negotiating table, and could be in coalition with the Tories after the next general election.

I know Farage is a difficult person to take seriously, but I fear we ought to start thinking of him less as Roderick Spode, more as Oswald Mosley.

Lainy
Lainy
2 years ago

Dude looks like Al from home improvement.

Scanisaurus
Scanisaurus
2 years ago

Is anyone else reminded of that scene in the Lion King where Scar gets eaten by his own hyenas?

Kevin Rooney
2 years ago

To be fair, most observers agree, the real cause of UKIP’s implosion was Brexit kingpin Nigel Farage’s defection to his brand-new Brexit party, which came in first in the election, boosted by all the former UKIP voters who defected with Farage.

Good analysis, but you forget one important thing: Farage defected and formed the Brexit Party for the same reasons that people like Carl of Swindon joined it in the first place. Farage may be very right-wing, but he’s a single-issue wonk, and his baby is Brexit. He thought that UKIP was getting taken over by the alt-right, the tipping point for him coming when Gerald Batten appointed Tommy Robinson to a leadership position, and he felt that this was staining the image of Brexit and causing it to become associated with extremists.

As for the overall election results, as an American looking at The Guardian‘s coverage, I’d say it’s a wash. Both Labour and the Conservatives lost big, the former leaking support from Remainers who defected to various pro-Remain parties, and the latter from Brexiteers who defected to the Brexit Party. Overall, however, the combined vote of the pro-Remain parties — the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, Change UK, the SNP, and Plaid Cymru — exceeded that of the Brexit Party and UKIP; while the Brexit Party got the largest number of votes, that’s because it consolidated virtually the entire pro-Brexit vote in a way that none of the pro-Remain parties did.

occasional reader
occasional reader
2 years ago

Yeah, well, it is hard to say that those elections went good (and this is damn an euphemism).
In term of “declared” far-right, UE Parliament has now 115 far-right members (indicated by the brown color on the graphics), and in my country, along with Italia and England, they made the higher score, which is a damn shame and clearly not reassuring.
If you add the nationalists, sovereinists and some “without label” members to those (which are so close to the far right that i can barely understand why they are not labeled as so), they make about 25% of the Parliament. It is closed to how many they had before (but bigger nonetheless), mainly because many nationalists and sovereinists just declared themselves far right this time (116 NatSov and 37 FR before, 115 FR and 58 NatSov now), so that remains clearly threatening.
That does not bode well for UE. Trump and Putine might be jubilating.

Kevin
Kevin
2 years ago

It just got even weirder.

(In the style of television talent shows) I bring you, in no particular order:

Alexandra Phillips, Green Party, South – East England.

Alexandra Phillips, Brexit Party, South – East England.

Yes, two separate people, with the same name, both of them elected, both in the same region – and with diametrically opposed positions on the whole sorry mess.

This remains interesting, in a ‘can’t stop looking at the trainwreck politics’ kind of way.

Herbert West
Herbert West
2 years ago

German seat distribution looks uncomfortably weimarian: no real big parties anymore, just three bigger ones, with a total of FOUR parties above 10%. If this repeats in the next federal elections, forming a stable government will be rather difficult.
In France the FN might actually win the Presidency next time.
We might as well take bets on who’s going to leave next.
Hungary? I say Hungary. The eastern european countries should have never joined anyway. They weren’t ready yet, and still aren’t.

Talonknife
Talonknife
2 years ago

So why does the Brexit Party have EU seats? Isn’t their whole deal that they want nothing to do with the EU?

Ooble
Ooble
2 years ago

@Talonknife
Yup. We haven’t left yet because our government can’t agree on a deal, or even whether we want a deal. The Brexit party basically ran on the promise that they will be really annoying to Europe (meanwhile they are collecting paycheques) until we leave.

I wish I was making this up.

Queex
Queex
2 years ago

@Kevin Rooney

“[Farage] thought that UKIP was getting taken over by the alt-right”

As I understand it, it’s actually the opposite. He’s an opportunist, but he’s been in cahoots with alt-right figures (particularly those that funded UKIP and now BP) for years. He left because he could no longer run the party as his personal fief, and disorganised, incompetent far-right members were spoiling his comfy little grift. He’s thoroughly a part of the far-right, capitalising on the willingness of the alt-right to follow any in-group charlatan, and making bank from destroying the country.

Specialffrog
Specialffrog
2 years ago

I agree with Queex. Brexit isn’t an end it is a means. People like Farage and Rees-Mogg have largely moved their own money out of the UK. They know Brexit will tank the economy and pave the way for deregulation and privatization ostensibly needed to deal with the economic crisis.

opposablethumbs
opposablethumbs
2 years ago

Farage is absolutely a Mosely figure, while being at the same time a pure grifter 100% in it for personal gain (as in, living in luxury on vast undisclosed donations from dodgy characters like Banks; taking his MEP salary (and future pension) while barely bothering to turn up).

Also – remarkably – the Brexit Party is technically not a political party at all (e.g. you can donate, but you can’t be a party member; it has no members). It’s a company. Which afaik Farage wholly owns.

The day he gets tired of it/it no longer serves his purposes, he can wind it up and keep all the money with no legal redress.

Ellesar
Ellesar
2 years ago

Thomas Pain: unless you are being satirical about Paine by knocking off the ‘e’ I find it pretty hilarious that you are using this user name.

The far right in Britain uphold what Paine rejected: the monarchy, the elite, ‘tradition’, etc.

As for prejudice – the word means ‘pre-judged’, and no one here has pre-judged the far right. We are well informed on the nature of the far right, and that is why we mock them.

Turan, Emissary of the Fly World
Turan, Emissary of the Fly World
2 years ago

I am only stating the obvious, of course, but if anyone needs help reading “Thomas Pain”‘s post: “globalist” in this context means “Jewish” (as in Stalin’s pet phrase, “rootless cosmopolitans”).

Citerior Motive
Citerior Motive
2 years ago

UKIP were pretty destroyed before he started, tbf. The Brexit Party has taken their mantle, and most of their high-profile ‘activists’, so the far right in the UK are far from defeated.

panzerboy39
panzerboy39
2 years ago

I think that its creepy you give this nobody any thought at all. It outs you as the leftist mirror-image of Sargon really, which in essence is just as bad.

Katamount
Katamount
2 years ago

Whatever the results indicate in the broader sense, I just hope this destroys Carl’s fanbase more than the YouTube and Twitter smackdowns already have. There’s no way sunk cost fallacies can overcome a defeat this humiliating.

I want this to serve as a lesson for dumb YouTube trolls: you might be able to fleece a bunch of reactionaries with more money than brains, but out in the real world, where people interact with each other and have real problems that need to be addressed through public policy, obnoxious debate “tactics” and 4chan buzzwords carry little currency.

Makroth
Makroth
2 years ago

@Thomas Pain

You mean it read like truth.

personalpest
personalpest
2 years ago

We dont [sic] deserve our country.

Wrong way around, asshole. Your country (and humanity in general) deserves better than you and your fascist friends.

@Moggie:

I know Farage is a difficult person to take seriously, but I fear we ought to start thinking of him less as Roderick Spode, more as Oswald Mosley.

Heed this warning, United Kingdom. A lot of people (including me) waited too long to take Trump seriously.

@Talonknife:

So why does the Brexit Party have EU seats? Isn’t their whole deal that they want nothing to do with the EU?

They probably want to destroy it from within, as Trump and the Republicans are doing to the US government.

Anon
Anon
2 years ago

The thing is, 4chan has always hated Sargon, and anyone else who shows their face and is open about their lurking, because its antithetical to the draw of 4chan and often leads to people who aren’t used to the environment showing up and demanding 4chan change to fit them.

Shadowplay
2 years ago

So why does the Brexit Party have EU seats? Isn’t their whole deal that they want nothing to do with the EU?

While the UK is in the EU, legislation gets passed that affects the UK. Kinda hard to oppose, amend, or slow walk it if you don’t have MEPs.

Makroth
Makroth
2 years ago

@Thomas Pain

Forgot to ask:

What’s your opinion on Soggy’s use of the word “even”?

Shadowplay
2 years ago

@Kevin

If you want to go even weirder, the Alexandra Phillips of the Green party is/was also an executive at everyones favorite manipulation company, Cambridge Analytica.

Lainy
Lainy
2 years ago

@ Thomas pain

Yes sugar, thank you for that intriguing incite and opinion that we’ve never heard before. 😒

Viscaria
Viscaria
2 years ago

Did you vote for ol’ Sargon, Tom? 😂

kupo
kupo
2 years ago

The thing is, 4chan has always hated Sargon, and anyone else who shows their face and is open about their lurking, because its antithetical to the draw of 4chan and often leads to people who aren’t used to the environment showing up and demanding 4chan change to fit them.

This is ironic coming from someone who goes by “anon” outside of 4chan.

Gipsz Jakab
Gipsz Jakab
2 years ago

@Herbert West

Hungarian here, checking in.

The prospect of Hungary leaving (Hunxit?) is an odd, mixed case. Orbán talks a big game about “fighting Brussels”, but on the other hand his oligarchy is built in large part on embezzling EU grants. That’s what his inner circle got rich on, so ironically enough he needs the EU at the same time he’s talking shit about it.

Anyway, to sum up the local results:

1. Fidesz + KDNP (Fidesz + Christian Democratic People’s Party) – 52%
Orbán’s own rabble, plus a handful of ultraconservative Christian bootlickers. They won big here, but it’s tempered somewhat by Orbán’s dream of a major, EU-wide right-wing victory not coming to pass.

2. Demokratikus Koalíció (Democratic Coalition) – 16%
Socialists in all but name. Led by Ferenc Gyurcsány, a former socialist Prime Minister who’s controversial in his own right, though still not even remotely as bad as Orbán. Decent policies, somewhat overshadowed by Gyurcsány’s person. Likely sucked a lot of votes away from the actual socialists, possibly because their campaign was headlined by Klára Dobrev instead of Gyurcsány himself.

3. Momentum Mozgalom (Momentum Movement) – 10%
The surprise result. Centre-left liberals (though keep in mind that a centre-left liberal in Europe would count as a flaming pinko commie in the US), started just two years ago as a movement that successfully forced a referendum to torpedo the costly 2024 Olympics application. They were known to be rising in popularity, but absolutely no one expected them to immediately skyrocket to 10% and get two seats.

4. Magyar Szocialista Párt + Párbeszéd Magyarországért (Hungarian Socialist Party + A Dialogue for Hungary) – 7%
The classic socialist party, assisted by a liberal microparty. Their biggest draw is arguably that said microparty’s president is Gergely Karácsony, the fairly successful and popular mayor of one of Budapest’s districts. They’ve been on the decline since 2010 and have hit their lowest point yet.

5. Jobbik – 6%
Formerly thinly-veiled Nazis, now marginally less far-right. They were one of the 2010 newcomers who made it relatively big, but they’ve shrunk to a fraction of their former size by now.

6. Mi Hazánk Mozgalom (Our Homeland Movement) – 3%
The actual Nazis who split off from Jobbik. Nothing else needs to be said.

7. Magyar Kétfarkú Kutya Párt (Hungarian Two-Tailed Dog Party) – 3%
The joke party who actually have some fairly sensible ideas and effective activism under the jokey facade. Actually featured on Last Week Tonight last year. Go watch it, it’s worth it.

8. Lehet Más a Politika (Politics Can Be Different) – 2%
The green party. The other successful newcomer back in 2010, but they’ve almost completely self-destructed this time, in no small part because of some nasty internal squabbles that ended up forcing out their two most popular members, Bernadett Szél and Ákos Hadházy. Not coincidentally, both of them, while formally independent, supported Momentum during this campaign, who likely siphoned away most of LMP’s voter base.

9. Magyar Munkáspárt (Hungarian Labour Party) – 0,5%
Literally communists, and completely irrelevant.

Pie
Pie
2 years ago

@panzerboy39

I think that its creepy you give this nobody any thought at all. It outs you as the leftist mirror-image of Sargon really, which in essence is just as bad.

Haha, nope. “This nobody”. Yet here you are, a brand new account, visiting especially to come and whine about the things being said about carl, brandishing your most fearsome “both sides” arguments and mean adjectives like “leftist”.

Carl doesn’t care about you, bro. Its kinda sad you’ve got anything at all invested in other people’s opinion of him. Just let it go; there will be another 2-bit atheoskeptic crypto-racist arsehole along soon enough, and maybe you can hitch your wagon to their rising star and maybe feel good about your petty, small minded hatred and bigotry again, for a little while.

Pie
Pie
2 years ago

@Katamount

I want this to serve as a lesson for dumb YouTube trolls: you might be able to fleece a bunch of reactionaries with more money than brains, but out in the real world, where people interact with each other and have real problems that need to be addressed through public policy, obnoxious debate “tactics” and 4chan buzzwords carry little currency.

Weeeell… yes and no. Out here in the real world people are apt to follow terrible people for terrible reasons entirely too often. The real problem for the likes of carl is that as a Big Name Youtuber it might be easy to assume that having one meeeeleon subscribers meant that one was clever, wise, charismatic, interesting, entertaining or all of the above.

Coming out of his normal echo chamber should have been sobering. I guess it remains to be seen.

Who?
Who?
2 years ago

@Herbert West: 4 Parties above 10% is actually normal for Germany. We have at the moment 7 Partys (2 of them beeing conected) that are in Parlament. That is more than the years before.
We are sending more Partys to the EU than to our national Parlament, because everythink that gets under 5% gets no seat. (there is one execption but that one is rare, the Leftparty was the last were it played a role) So this time more voters (12%) voted smaller partys, (I think at the last national vote there were only 4 %.
We have our problems: Every big party execpt the Greens ignoring the youth, every party execpt the Greens losing in that category big.
And the worst party is strong in a certain part of Germany.

Rabid Rabbit
Rabid Rabbit
2 years ago

@Talonknife

So why does the Brexit Party have EU seats? Isn’t their whole deal that they want nothing to do with the EU?

Same reason that here in Canada, the Bloc Québécois (separatist party) runs for federal elections, and was even the Official Opposition once, despite their main policy being separating from Canada. As Shadowplay says, it’s a way of affecting decisions made concerning the separatist part of the country (or EU, in the UK’s case), but also of making sure they can make their speeches on a broader stage.

And, of course, get paid. I seem to remember some heated discussions about whether Bloc MPs would still get their federal pensions if Québec did separate. The separatists all seemed to be in favor of that. I imagine Farage will insist on getting his if Brexit does happen, too.

Neither the Bloc nor the Brexit Party have the intellectual honesty of Sinn Fein, which runs candidates for Westminster in Northern Ireland, but whose elected members there refuse to take up their seats, thereby concretizing their belief about the illegitimacy of the institution. (It’s a bit different, of course, since the first two don’t deny belonging to Canada/the EU, but don’t want to anymore, while Sinn Fein’s point is that they already aren’t a part of it, but it’s still a pretty blatant comparison.)

Dalillama
Dalillama
2 years ago

@Naziboy88
You’re not fooling anyone. Go hug a cactus.

Lainy
Lainy
2 years ago

@panzerboy39

Oh aren’t you original honey. Go away now ya corn husk, no one wants you here.

Shadowplay
2 years ago

@Panzerboy

I think that its creepy you give this nobody any thought at all.

On the 0.001% chance you are actually being serious about this bit – ever ignored a cockroach for a day or so after seeing it? You suddenly got a swarm to deal with. They breed, fast.

numerobis
numerobis
2 years ago

Gipsz Jakab: one thing I found odd about Grauniad coverage was that they went on and on about centrists losing and greens and extremists winning … on the same article that said liberal democrats (like Momentum) were the block that grew the most.

Crip Dyke
Crip Dyke
2 years ago

You know how you deal with trolls?

Fire and acid. Otherwise they just regenerate.

It always requires fire and acid.

Herbert West
Herbert West
2 years ago

@Who?
Maybe I should elaborate:
What I meant with Weimar is not the total number of parties, but the lack of clear big players.
Weimar was usually ruled by a coalition of three parties who’s election results remind me uncannily of the results Union/SPD/Greens got.
And yes, there were four parties with more than 10% before, I kinda forgot this for a moment. But never with all of their results being so close to each other. It’s not unthinkable that a two-party government will become impossible in the next election.

Sherlock
Sherlock
2 years ago

Why Sargon Why!!!???

Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
Surplus to Requirements, Observer of the Vast Blight-Wing Enstupidation
2 years ago

@Rabid Rabbit:

Same reason that here in Canada, the Bloc Québécois (separatist party) runs for federal elections, and was even the Official Opposition once

I remember that, mainly because I was woken up the morning after election night by my radio saying “It was the Bloc!” to the tune of “Monster Mash”.

The surprising trumpy/brexity vote outcome before trump or brexit. Those were much more innocent times…