UKIP 2012

I’ll come clean – I wasn’t anticipating having to write a post with this title. The fact that UKIP is coming after Plaid means that we’re onto the first of the three parties to taste the sweet nectar of success in May’s elections. And how frustrating for Plaid! They’ve been grinding away in Penarth for donkeys’ years with no success and along comes UKIP at the first go and waltzes into power.

UKIP polled 13% in the seats it contested. That’s pretty respectable in my mind – and only marginally less than the Liberal Democrats (although the Lib Dem result may have been an average for all seats, contested or not). But Kevin secured votes from 40% of the Sully electorate, so he spectacularly outshone his peers around the UK. There were 12 UKIP candidates in Wales in the May elections, with two getting elected. On a proportionate basis, that’s probably better than most parties. But the thing with putting up few candidates is that you pick and choose where you think you stand the best chance.

So are we looking at a glorious future for UKIP in Penarth?

I was pretty surprised when I heard that Kevin Mahoney had been elected in the first place – as you’ll see here and here. So first off let’s be clear that this pundit is fallible and has a track record of underestimating the electoral attractiveness of UKIP. But I really can’t see UKIP going anywhere in Penarth; in fact, I imagine Kevin will have a bit of a fight on his hands in 2017 (assuming the Conservatives and/or an independent other than Bob Penrose puts in a bit of spadework). And my thinking on UKIP’s limits follow two lines of reasoning.

Firstly, they don’t seem to have an electoral strategy other than picking up votes from disaffected Conservative voters. By which I mean right-wing Conservatives. Certainly the Conservatives themselves appeared rattled by UKIP’s performance in May and the recent polling in Wales clearly demonstrates they have most to fear from UKIP. I know that UKIP supporters will point with disgruntlement at that poll and say that they are a credible alternative to the establishment parties. But at the moment, despite gaining Wales’ fourth MEP slot, I don’t see their polling translating into seats at local authorities in 2017.

Secondly, they’re a fringe party, and we know this because their policies aren’t subject to the usual forensic scrutiny that other parties come under. You can check out their policies for the local elections here. But in the week we found out that the entire Greenland ice sheet started melting, a party that wants to “close the climate change department” is hardly a party with a strong moral compass. And it’s a party that wants to wrest control for the UK from Europe but not wrest control for Wales from the UK (seemingly the reverse). Talk about cognitive dissonance! Because it’s the only party in Wales that wants to abolish the National Assembly (or “replace Assembly Members with MPs”). And does their “scrap state promotion of multiculturalism. We are British” have any implications for the two cultures we have in Wales?

Enough! I think we’ve got the picture that this is a very right-wing party with a peculiar lack of strategic policy-making which is unlikely to make inroads into the more moderate and left-wing politics prevalent in Wales and Penarth. And being a fringe party means that they struggle to find anyone willing to stand in their name, and I’d be surprised if anyone from the Penarth/Sully area would be willing to stand under the UKIP flag. After all, Kevin himself lives in Barry.

There’s actually a third reason for being confident that UKIP won’t make inroads into Penarth. I’ve tantalisingly mentioned this reason before herehere and here, and I do intend writing a post about it because it’s got huge implications for local democracy.

7 Sylw

Filed under Plaid Cymru, UKIP, Vale of Glamorgan Council

7 responses to “UKIP 2012

  1. Kevin Mahoney

    Although living in Barry I was brought up in Sully and live approximately 150 yards outside the ward boundary down the Bendricks, which being separated from the rest of Barry by the docks has always held a bit of a niche location in addition to the local kids always being in the Sully school catchment area.

    I make no apologies for not being able to currently afford to live in the village that I grew up in and indeed am grateful for being able to actually be part of the housing chain at all given the plight of so many, so again no apologies there and am delighted to now be able to represent and give something back to what I consider to be my ‘ home village’ as it has played such a large part in my life.

    I would like to think that being a local lad gave me an advantage over a sitting councillor from Penarth with no links to Sully and two other paper candidates from Labour and Plaid who live nowhere near the ward and again have no links with the area and who didn’t even have the basic courtesy to bother attending the area during the election period.

    As regards the climate change scenario I note that you failed to mention that the incredibly thick Greenland ice sheet’s top surface refroze within hours of the reported ‘incident’

    I don’t think that any one denies Climate change ( the weather changes every day) but thankfully many of us wish to see INDEPENDENT evidence and debate.

    Not one sided faked or jaundiced evidence from discredited members of the largely internationally state funded IPCC.

    You, like many appear to have dismissed the little faux paus of the climate unit at East Anglia University who supply much of the government quoted climate change claims spouted by World Governments and the IPCC who as you will recall were recently caught out destroying evidence and data that undermined their findings.

    A very real inconvenient truth which the formly named Global warming lobby seem to have conveniently obliterated from their memory banks.

    I still remember myself and my fellow Stanwell school mates being scared half to death in the 70’s by scientists insisting that we were facing an imminent ice age, many of these being the same scientists who have been telling us that we will be burning in hell for the last 15 -20 years or so.

    The truth of the matter is that I am prepared to consider any independent evidence or debate on any subject but after being lied to on so many occasions in the past I simply do not take at face value anything presented to me by British governments of any hue and thankfully according to every recent poll on climate change neither do an increasingly cynical British public.

    Cheers

    Kevin Mahoney

    Keep up the good work

    • Thanks for your response Kevin. Given your local connections that might help explain why the result in May went the way it did.
      I notice that you’re “prepared to consider any independent evidence or debate on any subject”. However on climate change, where the evidence is so compelling that even former sceptic Professor Richard Muller has now come round (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19047501) after research part-funded by climate change denialists the Koch brothers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koch_family), you seem to consider that 99.9% of climate scientists around the world are engaged in some sort of programme to publish “faked or jaundiced evidence”.
      You’re coming across like a conspiracy theorist to rival Lembit Opik…

  2. Kevin Mahoney

    Thankfully I don’t think that anybody could rival Lembit Opik.

    I’m not sure that I have claimed that around 99.9% of climate scientists around the world are engaged in in some sort of conspiracy programme at all.

    What I do observe however is the all domineering IPCC which consists of 4,500 scientists only 63 of whom are acknowledged climate scientists having their views promoted as as indisputable fact yet when recently 33,000 scientists of whom 9,000 are peer reviewed climate scientists put their names to an opposing view this information was barely reported in the press.

    Only in the last month or two the most senior German government climate scientist (his name escapes me right now) quit the IPCC claiming that he could no longer stand the lies and deceit emanating from the IPCC.

    Which again illustrates why I just don’t just automatically take the word of scientists who rely on governments for their present and future funding as the definitive last word.

    BTW I’m not fixated with the climate debate and would leave the presentation of claimed facts to others, it’s just that you brought the subject up.

    As regards your other claims of UKIP being a ” very right wing party” for me there is no right or left wing just right or wrong.

    if UKIP policy of scrapping Trident or the abolishing of tuition fees makes them right wing in your eyes then so be it.

    As the president of a large branch of the GMB unions boilermakers section in South Wales I have for some years now given up my time in order to help out our membership of employed and unemployed welders, fabricators, riggers and platers and their families including widows each and every time help is needed.

    Unlike the ‘paid’ union brothers and sisters who require financial reward before providing their assistance I do this on a voluntary basis in order to help others, in contrast to the many champagne socialists and members of the House of Lords littering the Plaid and Labour party membership lists…….. if that makes me a ‘right winger’ in your eyes then so be it also.

    Cheers

    Kevin Mahoney

    • Thanks Kevin. I’ve had a look into your assertion on the 33,000 scientists http://www.petitionproject.org/ . There are a few reasons they’ve been “barely reported in the press”. Firstly, the whole premise is a joke. The ‘article’ on which the petition is based is not peer-reviewed, and nor could it be because it’s not based on an objective or empirical understanding of climate science. Secondly, you state that 9,000 or so of the signatories are ‘peer-reviewed’ climate scientists. Peer review is something that applies to research, not individuals. And how do individuals let the petition organisers know of their qualifications? Oh, they just tell them. So that’s ok then. Have a look at the ‘qualifications of signers’ page and tell me how you figure that 9,000 of these so-called scientists are climate scientists.
      Yet again you claim “I just don’t just automatically take the word of scientists who rely on governments for their present and future funding as the definitive last word”. But you’re happy to take the word of non-scientists spouting total claptrap as “the definitive last word”?
      In future I’d be grateful if you’d provide references for your assertions. I eventually found reference to Vahrenholt, someone who works for the second biggest energy company in Germany and who confesses not to have any expertise in climate science http://www.skepticalscience.com/fritz-vahrenholt-duped-on-climate-change.html. He has no peer-reviewed articles on climate science. His association with the IPCC is as a reviewer of the renewable energy section, not climate science.
      I’m not going to give this pathetic strand of climate denial any more airing in this thread Kevin. Your climate credentials are not known to me but I’m assuming them to be nil – particularly given your stance. Come up with some peer-reviewed evidence to refute the current best knowledge on global warming and I’ll see if it’s worth giving them some space on the blog.
      On where your party stands in the political spectrum, you might not have an opinion on where it is, but the very notion that only one main-stream party (the most right-wing one) has concern about losing votes to UKIP speaks volumes.

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