Ukip stands right-wing Tories for Welsh Assembly

Ukip stands right-wing Tories in Welsh Assembly elections

Dave Reid

Ukip has selected right- wing ex-Tories Mark Reckless and Neil Hamilton to head regional lists for the Welsh Assembly elections this year.

Because they are standing in the proportional representation section of the election they stand a very good chance of being elected – unless the working class movement opposes them.

Arch-Thatcherite Reckless has been chosen to stand in South Wales East, one of the most deprived areas of western Europe, which was devastated by Thatcher’s attacks on the coal and steel industries in the 1980s.

Hamilton has been selected to stand in Mid and West Wales. He was an extreme right-wing Tory MP famous for being implicated in the cash-for-questions scandal in the 1990s. Even more scandalously he supported the privatisation of the NHS and education and is opposed to trade unions and child benefits.


The selection of these two candidates potentially exposes the anti-working class nature of Ukip and its misleading propaganda.

The party recently sent out a leaflet entitled “Save Our NHS, Say No to TTIP”, but is in fact led by two right-wing opponents of the NHS. If elected, they would work with the Tories in Westminster and Cardiff to destroy the NHS in Wales.

Because Ukip poses as an anti-establishment party it has succeeded in winning the ear of some working people who are disenchanted with the corrupt establishment parties.

However, it is very difficult for Welsh Labour to truly expose and defeat these Tories. In the valleys of south Wales there is an even greater disillusionment with the main parties after years of Tory attacks and New Labour neglect in these areas.

In last year’s general election Ukip came second in four of the eight constituencies in South Wales East and gained about 17% of the vote overall. If repeated in the Welsh Assembly elections, it could get two of the four ‘top up’ seats in the region.

Part of this growing support for Ukip has been the media’s incessant anti-immigrant rhetoric, but that too is bound up with lack of decent jobs, low pay and cuts to public services.

On many issues the majority of its voters are to the left, not just of the leadership of Ukip, but of all of the establishment parties – they are closer to Jeremy Corbyn.

One YouGov poll showed 78% of them support the renationalisation of the energy companies, 73% renationalisation of the railways, and 57% want zero-hour contracts banned. Over 80% of Ukip voters think big business takes advantage of ordinary people.

Ukip can only be countered by a radical alternative to the austerity and austerity-lite of the main parties. However, Carwyn Jones and the Welsh Labour leadership are very much part of the austerity consensus, passing on Tory cuts to working people in Wales with a ‘what-can-we-do?’ shrug.

The NHS in Wales has borne the brunt of these cuts as Welsh Labour has cut the number of A&Es from around a dozen to just five in south Wales. So Welsh Labour will find it hard to attack Reckless and Hamilton on their closet opposition to the very concept of the NHS.

What is needed is a clear anti-cuts, pro-NHS alternative. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition in Wales has no choice but to take up that task and to link up with the hundreds of genuine socialists who have joined Labour in Wales to support Jeremy Corbyn.