Neil Hamilton AM: The Future of Wales Must Lie With UKIP
Over a year has passed since the National Assembly Elections. In that time, the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union and the British public have returned to the ballot box twice. The first, for the local elections in May and secondly, rather unexpectedly, for June’s General Election. Furthermore, we have witnessed fascinatingly turbulent elections in the United States and on the European continent. Some said politics used to be boring, well, the last 14 months have challenged every aspect of that claim.
It cannot be denied that 2017, thus far, has been particularly difficult for UKIP. After our historic victory on June 23 last year, the unwanted General Election in June only exacerbated these difficulties, exposing some of the fractions within the party. There is a general assertion that the party has been a victim of its own success. To some extent this is true, but do not believe the media and the establishment’s premeditated claim that UKIP is dead.
In Wales, UKIP’s five Assembly members do battle with the political establishment on a daily basis. Since our arrival in May 2016, the Labour Party, Plaid Cymru and the Conservatives have received a wakeup call. From the Assembly’s creation in 1999, they have existed together in political harmony. Occasionally they disagree with one another for the sake of the electorate but make no mistake, behind closed doors they continue to coast along on the same course, unwaveringly pushing the agenda of the established political class.
UKIP Wales has offered a new perspective, challenging their attitudes to multiculturalism, mass-immigration, overseas aid, the education system, the Welsh language and costly renewable energy projects. The response from the opposition parties to UKIP debates in the Senedd has only demonstrated their unwillingness to accept, that on these issues, they have failed to abide to the will of their constituents, and at every opportunity have purposely obstructed the voices of the people they claim to represent.
Beyond our efforts in the Assembly, the structure of the party throughout Wales is developing. Despite the uphill struggle of the General Election, UKIP members from Cardiff to Colwyn Bay showed their dedication to the party’s cause and campaigned selflessly in the face of towering odds. As leader of UKIP’s Assembly Group, my influence outside our parliamentary duties and constituency work is restricted, however, it is inspiring to bear witness to the unconditional hard work of many party members throughout Wales. I will do all that I can in the months and years ahead to support local branches and grow their membership.
UKIP is entering a new chapter in its history. Next month we will have a new leader. He or she must make it their mission to unite the party, and most importantly, assemble UKIP into a force that will challenge the establishment in Westminster and the devolved institutions. In the meantime, UKIP in Wales will continue to be the voice for the ordinary hardworking man and woman, long forgotten by the political class. Our Assembly Members, ably supported by loyal branch members will become the domestic shop-window for the party, and will demonstrate the necessity for UKIP in an uncertain and forever changing political climate.