UKIP has suffered a remarkable implosion since 2016, when the Eurosceptic party won seven seats in the Welsh Parliament (Senedd).
Despite being thoroughly tainted by bigotry, incompetence and internecine struggles, the party is limping on under the leadership of disgraced former Conservative MP Neil Hamilton, who is also the sole UKIP figure elected to the Senedd in 2016 to stand again for the party this year (Islwyn constituency and South Wales East region).
Despite being ostensibly more moderate than other recent UKIP leaders, Hamilton has increasingly embraced far-right elements as he scrambles to keep the party afloat. For example, UKIP Wales claims it was “honoured” to have the endorsement of the “legendary” Godfrey Bloom, a UKIP founder member who quit the party in 2013 after a number of scandals, including referring to countries that receive overseas aid as “bongo bongo land”.
In conversation with Bloom, Hamilton voiced his intention to transform UKIP into a more “radical” and less “politically correct” vehicle. Perhaps this is why Hamilton is fielding, defending and actively campaigning for a variety of Islamophobic and conspiratorial candidates with histories of far-right activism.
For example, UKIP is fielding Dan Morgan (Swansea East constituency and South Wales West region) and Stan Robinson (South Wales West region and Swansea council by-election), the hosts of the far-right Voice of Wales broadcast which was banned from YouTube in March. As revealed by Far Right Watch Wales, which has highlighted the extremism of Robinson, Morgan and other UKIP figures, the party welcomed the pair in December despite their known histories of far-right activism.
The group has gained a degree of notoriety for livestreaming from the Penally army camp where migrants were housed in the latter part of 2020, jumping on a wider trend among the British far right last year. Robinson and Morgan were joined in Penally by Paul Golding, the leader of the thuggish anti-Muslim street gang Britain First, best known for carrying out “mosque invasions” in the UK.
The Voice of Wales broadcast has hosted a variety of far-right figures, including Golding, members of the Proud Boys, disgraced British reporter Katie Hopkins, and the anti-Muslim extremist and serial criminal Stephen Yaxley-Lennon (aka Tommy Robinson). UKIP councillor Paul Dowson, currently standing in the Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire constituency and Mid West Wales region, has also appeared on the show.
Stan Robinson has previously received press coverage for claiming that a Sky News presenter “needed castration with a rust blade”. Hamilton defended Robinson after a series of bigoted messages, including retweeting a post calling migrants “parasites” who should be “arrested” or “shot” in order to “stop the invasion”.
Hamilton has also been out campaigning for Sebastian Ross (Wrexham constituency and North Wales region). The Polish-born electrician is the Vice President of Wolność in London (also known as KORWiN), a far-right group headed by the Polish politician Janusz Korwin-Mikke. Korwin-Mikke has a long history of extreme and authoritarian actions, including calling democracy the “stupidest form of government ever conceived”, posing in front of a Confederate flag, and opposing women’s suffrage on the basis that “Evolution has ensured that women are not too intelligent”.
Faith Matters reported in 2019 that Ross had claimed that some Jewish people were using guilt to weaponise antisemitism, in order to raise money for those monitoring it. Alongside Korwin-Mikke and other antisemites, Ross also spoke at a far-right “freedom picnic” in Bury in September that year.
Ross has spent his campaign stoking fears about COVID-19-related restrictions in the UK, claiming that “Every aspect of our lives was taken over by the fascist state”.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, a number of UKIP candidates in Wales have pushed racist conspiracy theories. For example, Stan Robinson has posted material promoting the Kalergi Plan conspiracy theory, a variant of the white genocide theory which alleges that there is a deliberate plan to undermine European society by a campaign of mass immigration and miscegenation conducted by sinister (and often Jewish) elites.
Clive Easton (South Wales Central region) has also previously voiced his support for the Kalergi Plan theory, and Paul Campbell, UKIP’s Elvis-impersonating candidate (Cardiff and South Penarth constituency and South Wales Central region), reposted a screed to his Facebook claiming that “Britain is committing ‘genocide suicide by allowing our nation to be a world hotel so the rest of the world to dump their jetsam and flotsam of the society onto us, to house, feed and breed, and pay for til te end of time!! !!”
Hamilton himself has used racial language during the campaign. For example, last month he claimed that:
“When [London Mayor Sadiq] Khan bleats on about ‘diversity’, what he really means is ‘fewer white people and less British culture’”.
“Wanna see a legitimate insurrection group…it’s called the Taliban,” wrote one user in a far right Telegram group. “Wanna see a legitimate insurrection…it happened over 11 days in August…
The public social media accounts of Cllr Tim Wills contain the standard fare of an enthusiastic Conservative borough councillor, with posts showing him canvassing for…