First Swansea UKIP branch to target energy fears
THE UK Independence Party has taken its first stride into Swansea by forming a city branch.
Existing members of the party, which was founded on the idea of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union (EU), met at Morgans Hotel in the city centre to form a local committee.
They then identified issues on which to campaign locally, including renewable energy and, in particular, wind farms.
Newly-appointed branch secretary Andrew Woods said: "Ultimately, we are against being dictated to by the European Union, but our goal is to focus on local, community issues.
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"Things like wind turbines are very relevant for this area, but they do not work.
"None of us are professional politicians. I started work in IT, and I'm just a normal guy. But normal, decent people have been let down by the professional, political class, as have England and Wales.
"The European Union is the flagship policy, because the UK has been abused by the relationship.
"A lot of money is taken out, and we get very little value back."
Mr Woods, a business continuity manager, said that although the membership locally was small at present, he hoped the party would be able to tap into disenchantment with the EU, and would be looking to target areas such as the public sector.
He added: "The European Union impacts on all our lives, and yet a lot of things are not working as they should be.
"Look at the education fiasco with the GCSEs, or crime and punishment.
"It is about time something was done for normal, decent people."
UKIP began its national conference in Birmingham last Friday.
Party leader Nigel Farage told delegates he was ready to do an electoral deal with the Conservatives in return for a promise "written in blood" of an in/out referendum on British membership of the EU.
The MEP predicted that Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg would be appointed a European Commissioner ahead of the next general election, leaving the Tories facing a possible coalition between Labour and the Liberal Democrats under a more left-wing leader like Vince Cable or Tim Farron.
Mr Farage said: "If an opportunity came which meant that we could get this country closer to walking through a door marked 'UK independence', if we had an opportunity to do something that was in our national interest, it would be silly not at least to consider it.
"Is that going to happen? I don't know. As the general election approaches, people will be looking for supporters.
"It could be Labour — more likely, perhaps, it will be the Conservatives.
Earlier this month Mr Farage lost his appeal against a £2,400 fine against his party for comments he made in 2010 while addressing Herman Van Rompuy, who had been appointed EU president.
Stunned MEPs listened as Mr Farage told Mr Van Rompuy that he had "the charisma of a damp rag" and the "appearance of a low-grade bank clerk".
He added that the Belgian came from "pretty much a non- country".