Every time I see Milo Yiannopoulos, the posterboy of the hipster alt-right in the United Kingdom and the United States, I’m reminded of the satirical Welsh character of Daffyd Thomas in the British sketch-show Little Britain, and his catchphrase, “The only gay in the village”. Except in the case of the Kent-born polemicist the phrase would be, “The only gay in the fascists”, delivered with an impeccable – if largely affected – upper-class English accent. That comparison sprang to mind once again following press reports that the conservative poseur has joined the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), the country’s small if once influential hard-right grouping. This adds to the list of internet “commentators” from the outer fringes of British politics who have now signed up for Nigel Farage’s former Brexit-enabling project, including such notorious provocateurs and conspiracy theorists as Paul Joseph Watson and Carl Benjamin, better known as the feminist-hating YouTube libertarian, Sargon of Akkad.
Of course, one would have imagined that the jet set Yiannopoulos would have found more congenial company among the digital racists who make up Europe’s burgeoning Identitarian movement, rather than the analogue “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” found in UKIP. And more specifically, with the would-be Instagram stars of Generation Identity United Kingdom And Ireland, the alt-right nationalist organisation in Britain which claims this island nation as part of its reactionary “British archipelago”. Perhaps he prefers the parochial to the international? And, our own Democratic Unionist Party aside, you can’t get more parochial than UKIP. Or maybe he’s not the fanatical culture war propagandist that he pretends to be, and like the character of Daffyd Thomas in the BBC television show, the persona is more about seeking egotistical attention than ideological affirmation?