UKIP leader Neil ‘Liar and Cheat’ Hamilton, with anti-migrant campaigners at Stradey Park Hotel in Llanelli
Having stirred up the racist pot in Llanelli, which they claim now hosts their largest branch in the country, UKIP is trying to capitalise by holding a ‘general election hustings’ in the town at the end of the month and has issued a challenge to other parties to attend.
Well, firstly, it’s fair to say that even given their recent growth in the town – centred on a campaign against asylum seekers being housed in the Stradey Park Hotel – they really don’t have the weight locally to insist that other parties trot along at their beck and call – and so far, it looks like none will.
They have been put off, amongst many other things, by UKIP’s choice of venue: they are back at Stamps, a city centre bar for which, as we wrote a few weeks ago, they seem to have a fondness. It hosted their “Unite the far right” meeting last August, when Ann Marie Waters spoke along with party leader Neil ‘Liar and Cheat’ Hamilton.
But it’s a place with a bit of a reputation as well: Ethan Smith, its Director, had difficulty re-opening the place after the Covid lockdowns. He tried to bring in his chum Jordan Parry as bar manager. That fell apart when it was discovered that Parry’s probation conditions wouldn’t allow it: he was fresh out of jail for his part in a major cocaine importation conspiracy.
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”.
All the same, UKIP clearly feel at home there.
An additional embarrassment, arising since UKIP’s success in milking anti-migrant fears in the town, is the court appearance of Voice of Wales (VoW) founder Dan Morgan. VoW is little more than a UKIP surrogate, and Morgan was being touted as the party’s Llanelli candidate in the next general election. Until, that is, his recent conviction as one of the main culprits in a massive PPI-refund call centre scam which robbed hundreds of victims of many hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The trail judge described the call centre operation as a “deliberate, planned fraud carefully structured and fraudulent from its inception”.
Voice of Wales website, unashamed, still features Dan Morgan (left)
Morgan, to widespread surprise, was sentenced only to 6 months in prison suspended for 12 months. UKIP have, so far, remained silent on the matter.
And no survey of UKIP in south Wales would be complete without an update on activist and former councillor Paul Dowson, from Pembroke. Dowson, a regular feature in the party’s racist campaign just up the road in Llanelli, was recently convicted for working as a security guard at a pub in Tenby without a license.
Not the most serious offence in the world, you might think, but in sentencing him to over £3000 in costs and fines, the magistrates may have had an eye to his previous convictions, which include assault causing actual bodily harm, possessing a controlled drug (twice), driving whilst disqualified, obtaining property by deception and possessing a class B drug.
His career as a UKIP councillor came to a sorry halt in August 2022, when he was disbarred from holding public office for three years for spreading false and scurrilous allegations against his opponents.
All par for the course in the increasingly sordid world that is UKIP…
Further afield, preparations are in hand for UKIP’s upcoming Patrons’ Dinner in London on 9 December, where the guest speaker is none other than Talk TV right wing gobshite Andre Walker.
Walker is best known for his role in the investigation into the suicide of Tory activist Elliott Johnson in September 2015. Johnson, who was in a relationship with Walker at the time, took his own life after being bullied by another Tory activist, Mark Clarke, a former Parliamentary candidate.
In a suicide note he accused Clarke of bullying him and Andre Walker of “betraying” him. Walker was secretly recorded telling Johnson that he was a ‘fucking dickhead’ for making a complaint about Clarke’s behaviour to the party.
A few years earlier Walker had been forced to resign as a political adviser to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead after a fellow train passenger recorded him having a phone conversation where he talked of organising a smear campaign to get rid of the deputy leader of the council.
All round nice chap, then…