As if things weren’t bad enough down in Llanelli, in South Wales, with the far right stoking up racist feeling in the town, UKIP now plans to hold a public meeting there, jointly with the far-right Voice of Wales, featuring anti-Islam campaigner, Anne Marie Waters.
Waters, UKIP’s Justice spokesperson, was only recently re-admitted to the party – just three days after UKIP lifted its ban on former members of nazi organisations joining up. She had previously been leader of For Britain and involved in Pegida with Tommy Robinson.
The Llanelli meeting, the night before UKIP’s annual conference 60 miles down the motorway in Newport, will be held at Stamps, a city centre bar which is a bit of a favourite with UKIP – they used it for a “Unite the far right” meeting last August, when Waters spoke along with party leader Neil Hamilton. It is a place where they clearly feel welcome and at home.
That’s perhaps not surprising: the Director of Stamps, Ethan Smith, had difficulty re-opening the place after the pandemic shutdowns. First, he tried to bring in his friend Jordan Parry as bar manager, until it was discovered that this was prevented by Parry’s probation conditions – he had just come out of jail for his part in a major conspiracy to import 2kg of cocaine in 2020.
Then Smith tried to transfer the license to another friend, Aaron Coelho, but police objected on the basis that Coelho’s sister had also been involved in the cocaine importation and was, in fact, the girlfriend of the principal villain in the case.
Ethan Smith himself has 12 convictions for various offences, though he was not involved in the drugs case and claims to be “a reformed character”.
Neil Hamilton and Ann Marie Waters address August UKIP meeting at Stamps
Recent events in Llanelli have been deeply troubling and UKIP are plainly planning to aggravate and capitalise on the volatile situation there. The local Stradey Park hotel was earmarked as for accommodation for asylum seekers since last May, and ever since there has been an escalating campaign against it, fuelled by outside activists from far-right groups
A fire was set in the hotel two weeks ago, and firefighters and police who attended were attacked with fireworks. Six people were arrested, from as far afield as Cleveland and Peterborough. The local Labour Party office has also been attacked and an attempt was made to burn it down.
Voice of Wales, co-sponsoring the meeting, is run principally by Dan Morgan and Stan Robinson. Morgan is a bit of a political newbie who only came to far right politics during the Brexit campaign. Robinson, however, is an old hand, who boasts of involvement in far-right groups going back to the Freedom Association’s union-busting Operation Pony Express in 1977.
Stan Robinson and Dan Morgan
There’s clearly an affinity between VoW and Stamps: the Stamps Facebook page has only two “likes” and one of them is from VoW.
Tomorrow 8th October: Searchlight urges local anti-racists to support the Llanelli Unites Community Fun Day at Selwyn Samuel Centre & Lliedi Suite starting at 12.00 noon.