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UKIP – have voters spotted their mistake yet?

August 4, 2016 10:00 AM

Last May saw the election of seven UKIP Assembly Members to the National Assembly for Wales via the regional list system to the dismay of every other party and most of those who didn't vote for them.

Those who voted for them presumably saw them as something different, a party who stood up for the "ordinary" man in the street, whoever that is supposed to be. Pictures of Farage knocking back a pint in the pub were meant to convince them that he understood the working class, he was on their side. UKIP would "deal with" immigration and make us all proud to be British again. They would push to leave the EU and pour billions into the NHS. Catchy soundbites persuaded many that they were the party they could rely on. They may have provided an alternative but they are certainly not a credible one.

The rest of us regarded them as racist opportunists with no practical plans or ideas, caring only about furthering their own ideals. Further right than the Tories they are certainly not representative of the working class.

We are now almost three months into the new Assembly, their true colours have been shining through and it is all falling apart quite spectacularly for UKIP.

Just days after the election the cracks were showing as Nathan Gill, the man who had led their campaign, was shoved aside and replaced as leader by Neil Hamilton, in a move condemned by Farage. Hamilton, a former Conservative MP, was disgraced by a "cash for questions" scandal, something voters seem to have overlooked when looking for a "new" politics.

UKIP's South Wales Central AM Gareth Bennett, who represents the area covering RCT, hit the headlines prior to the election when he blamed immigrants for the state of Cardiff streets. In June following the referendum vote he showed the nastier side of his nature again when a constituent emailed saying "Congratulations on your disastrous result for Wales. Very simple and specific question: What will happen to Flying Start funding?"

Mr Bennett replied ""We will shortly find out. Sorry the result of our democratic vote evidently didn't go the way you wanted - but that is the nature of the democracy. If you can't cope with it, move to Venezuela." Hardly the behaviour expected from an elected representative.

Hamilton, in between tv appearances with his ever present wife, who has employed on an Assembly salary, retreats to his mansion in England. Yes, despite representing Mid and West Wales he still closes to live in Wiltshire.

Under current rules he is not entitled to claim for a place or overnight stays in Cardiff as he lives outside Wales and the remuneration board rules do not cover such an eventuality - after all surely a Welsh Assembly Member would live in the country?

There has been a suggestion of a - Hamilton has said he sees no reason to move. A yes, a breath of fresh air to politics indeed.

The latest internal row between their AMs is again over Nathan Gill. Mr Gill is an MEP as well as an AM. He claims two salaries and claims he can do both jobs, although quite how is anyone's guess. His fellow AMs have now called upon him to resign as an Assembly Member. Presumably nobody thought how this would work out before the election and voters didn't consider it a problem. Yes definitely a new kind of politics!

UKIP are a complete shambles made up largely it appears of a group of individuals whose first thought is for themselves. Voters will hopefully see what a mistake they have made in letting this bunch into the Assembly.