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#WhyImVotingUkip is a Twitter hashtag launched by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), a rising right-wing political party described by some as the British counterpart of the United States Tea Party, that was subsequently hijacked by the critics in May 2014.
On May 20th, 2014, two days before the local and European Parliament elections across the United Kingdom, UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) candidate Donna Edmunds posted a tweet with the hashtag #WhyImVotingUkip, claiming that UKIP is the only party in the country that encourages world trade by cutting ties with the European Union. Immediately after, Edmunds urged other Twitter users to make #WhyImVotingUkip a trending hashtag.
#WhyImVotingUkip – Ukip is the ONLY party which wants to see Britain out of the EU, trading with the world again.— Donna InSussex (@DonnaInSussex) May 20, 2014
Let's get #WhyImVotingUkip trending guys!
— Donna InSussex (@DonnaInSussex) May 20, 2014
The hashtag was initially met with genuine messages of solidarity from other members of the party and its supporters, many of whom voiced their own reasons as to why they plan to vote for UKIP in the elections on May 22nd.
I'm voting UKIP because I want Britain to be a free and sovereign nation, not ruled by undemocratic EU bureucrats #WhyImVotingUkip— Cata (@CataNigra) May 20, 2014
The earliest known tweet mocking the hashtag was posted by Twitter user @jennywhojenny just a little over an hour after Donna Edmunds tweeted the hashtag. Soon, many other critics of the UKIP began flooding the hashtag stream with jokes about the party’s conservative stances regarding a number of policy issues, from immigration and sexual orientation to social welfare and Europeanization.
That evening, Twitter user Dylan Martell posted a sarcastic tweet mocking the party’s association with white, heterosexual men. In 48 hours, the tweet gained over 930 retweets and 560 favorites.
#WhyImVotingUkip: because no political party is standing up for the white, middle-class, heterosexual male, and that needs to change.— Dylan H Martell. (@TorySwing) May 20, 2014
On the following day, the @UKIP Twitter feed posted a photograph of UKIP leader Nigel Farage with the caption #WhyImVotingUKIP.
UKIP (@UKIP) May 21, 2014
News Media Coverage
In the coming days, several news sites published articles about the hijacked hashtag, including Vice News, Mirror,BBC News,IBI Times, BuzzFeed, The Week and The Guardian. According to the Twitter analytics site Topsy, the hashtag was tweeted upwards of 325,000 times in the first 72 hours.
#WhyImVotingUkip Because I'm worried black people will start breeding with gay people and we'll create a master race of amazing dancers— James McMahon (@jamesjammcmahon) May 21, 2014
#WhyImVotingUkip Being mixed race, I'm intrigued which half of me will be thrown out.
— Rohan Sivajoti (@FE_Rohan) May 22, 2014
#WhyImVotingUkip because not even my cats speak English and there's two of them and one of me and I feel marginalised in my own home.
— Thomas Jennings (@24framescast) May 22, 2014