Friday, 15 April 2016

UKIP attempting to steal some of our clothes

My letter in last Monday's Evening Post, questioning the logic of voting for UKIP candidates when a direct vote for or against the EU was available in June, was penned before I heard Mark Reckless's interview by Vaughan Roderick last week. In it he clearly made a pitch for Liberal Democrat votes by stealing some of our long-standing policies.

He says that more matters such as fisheries (and agriculture! - he is clearly unaware of what powers the Assembly already has) should be devolved. He is a democrat who wants to get powers down to the lowest possible level so that people can have more influence and control over their own lives - an ambition which could have been taken straight from Liberal Democrat programmes.

In view of his voting record on devolution, I am still not convinced of his sincerity on this issue.

Martyn Ford, UKIP's representative on the IWA/Evening Post South Wales West hustings last Wednesday is unrepentant. He was forthright in his view that devolution to Wales was economic nonsense, that there was no real unity to the principality and that it would never catch up with the rest of the UK financially.

I see that Welsh UKIP leader Nathan Gill does not trust the Assembly either. The manifesto he launched on Friday also includes the bringing back of grammar schools (which inevitably means the return of secondary moderns, or whatever other name UKIP would paint sink schools with). I have some sympathy with his limited abolition of tuition fees in essential subjects, but he will find that the electorate will reject this when they realise that the cost of the policy would mean fewer young people overall going on to higher education, as Liberal Democrats did in 2010.

I searched the manifesto in vain for any green policy.

The facts are that the few good things in the UKIP manifesto are already in ours and are more certain to be delivered if we are elected, and that what makes UKIP distinct is outwith the Assembly's powers. If people really want to leave the EU (and I hope to have something to say about that after 5th May) they should use their vote in the June referendum when it will have real power to affect Brexit. In the Welsh general election, they should look to candidates who have the best interests of Wales at heart.

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