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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is this the real face of UKIP?

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage is in the Western Mail this morning claiming that his party is now in favour of retaining the Welsh Assembly and that he is relaxed about the institution getting more powers, including control of policing.

Farage says he was embarrassed at his party's campaign at the last Assembly elections and that he plans to do better next time, starting with the Anglesey by-election.

Oh, there is a by-election? And in an area where this sort of Damascene conversion might play well.

The UKIP leader does not miss a trick. I doubt if it will do his party any good though, anymore than his controversial campaigning in a Scottish Parliament by-election earlier this month. That is because UKIP has an image problem, and one that is encapsulated in this article in yesterday's Independent.

The paper says that Nigel Farage is facing further questions about Ukip’s vetting after it emerged that two of his party officials attended a demonstration organised by a far-right group:

The chairman of Ukip’s west London branch Vanessa Crichton and chairman of the Hillingdon branch Cliff Dixon attended an anti-EU protest organised by the British Patriots Society, which has strong links to the English Defence League (EDL).

The tiny group was set up by Sara Roocroft, a former Ukip member. She has expressed support for the English Defence League in the past and its website was registered in the name of a senior EDL figure, Steve Simmons.

The BPS has posted messages online warning of conflict with the Muslim community in retaliation for the Woolwich attack. One message on the group’s Facebook site states: “If nothing is done then the servicemen and women and those who support the troops will take matters into their own hands… And if they want a war then Bring It On!”

The question is, which is the real face of UKIP? In answering that question it should be noted that it is far more common to see senior UKIP officials involved with dodgy right wing groups than it is to see them arguing in favour of devolution.

I've campaigned hard inside UKIP to reverse the disastrous anti-devolution policies and I'm happy to see that it's changed in Wales as well as in England. Wales needs a eurosceptic, pro-devolution party to vote for rather than the coalition of left wing europhile parties that are currently in power.

It's a bit disappointing, but not entirely unsurprising, that you've chosen to cherry pick bits out of the article in the Independent that suit your agenda but leave out the bit that says that neither of the two UKIP members referred to were aware of any EDL involvement in British Patriots Society and neither have anything to do with the group, they just went to an anti-EU event some time ago.
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