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Alexandra Phillips Was Head of Ukip Media But Payola Seems To Be Wales!

Posted by Greg Lance - Watkins (Greg_L-W) on 24/11/2015

Alexandra Phillips Was Head of Ukip Media But Payola Seems To Be Wales!

Posted by:
Greg Lance – Watkins




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Alexandra Phillips Was Head of Ukip Media But Payola Seems To Be Wales! Surely this is hardly an apposite move for Ukip’s head of media – unless it is likely to lead to being parachuted into a key seat in the Wales election race!

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Big Interview: Gloucester’s Alexandra Phillips – UKIP’s head of media

By CitizenNews  |  Posted: November 24, 2015

  • Alexandra, 31, has spent the past few years – the period of the growth of the party from the fringes to a significant force in UK politics – as head of media at UKIP.

The party’s leader Nigel Farage must be the best-known MEP ever in this country and is probably the second or third best known, and most and least liked politician in the country.

It’s all pretty extraordinary.

And some of that incredible rise to prominence is down to Gloucestershire girl Alexandra Phillips.

Alexandra, 31, has spent the past few years – the period of the growth of the party from the fringes to a significant force in UK politics – as head of media at UKIP.

And it seems a pink Cadillac might have had a role in persuading her to join the party and leave her growing career in TV journalism.

Alexandra said: “We weren’t a particularly political family, although we were always encouraged to discuss things and make our views known around the dinner table.

“My older brother Jonathan and I had a game when we would just say ‘Margaret Thatcher’ and sit back and watch the sparks fly – my mother Leslie is on the left of the political spectrum and my stepfather, Johnny, who I call dad, is on the right.

“So it was a bit of a game for us just to say her name and sit back.

“But I was always interested. For some reason, as a small child I liked Tom King MP – there was a political programme on TV I’d watch when I got home from school and I just really liked the way he scrunched up his face when he sat on the benches.

“And oddly enough now, especially considering the party I work for, I loved the word Maastricht. I don’t know why I loved it, but I remember cutting it out and sticking it to my noticeboard.

“I was never a student politician. I studied philosophy and literature at Durham University but my goal was always to become a journalist and I always wanted to go to Cardiff University’s journalism school – it was one of the best in the country.”

Alexandra worked for spells in India and China and Ghana before going to Cardiff for her postgraduate course in journalism and, while covering the 2007 Welsh Assembly elections, made her fateful first meeting with Nigel Farage.

“I was following him on the campaign for my final piece for journalism school and he was with the late Dai Llewellyn in a pink Cadillac, with a bottle of champagne.”

Despite Alex saying her piece wasn’t necessarily that complimentary to the party, when UKIP first asked her to work for them, she refused.

“I was still totally focused on being a journalist and went to Newcastle to work for ITV Tyne Tees, back where I went to university, then came back to Cardiff to work for BBC Wales.

But the party was not to be denied and a few years later Alexandra jumped ship from the BBC to go to work for UKIP

“People thought I was bonkers, going to work for them. But I thought there was a really interesting narrative, I thought that UKIP were going to be the story of politics following the last election.

“I am personally Eurosceptic, but I was also attracted by the overall philosophy of working in the interests of the voter. I didn’t find the party a joke at all, I thought it was going to be a really interesting political narrative.”

Alexandra was once the subject of a rather tart mini-profile on the Conservative Home website, which highlighted a social media posting she made which said that she worked as head of media “for Nigel Farage and UKIP”, It made some mileage of her apparent priorities given the order in which she listed the leader and his party.

But for someone who has done so much to promote Mr Farage, she has a very interesting view of the way he and his party are presented

“Nigel is hugely fascinating but the way the party is presented in the media isn’t really truthful. I see a group of really normal people, not fringe types at all.

“But it’s a Catch 22. People say it’s a one-person party and it’s only Nigel Farage. But then if we try to put someone else up for Question Time or an interview or a political programme, they say no, they want Nigel. And then everyone says that it’s only Nigel in the party. It’s like the broadcasters want someone to have a high profile already – but they’re not prepared to have anyone on to give them that profile.

“It was very interesting during the campaign for the Eastleigh by-election, I was able to say to them, ‘No, you can’t have Nigel, but you can speak to the candidate, or to another senior member, or MEP.

“After the 2014 European elections, which we won in the UK we were saying that. But they still want Nigel Farage. It can be frustrating and I think it’s a bit lazy journalistically. There’s a wealth of talent in the party, but it’s hard to get coverage for that.”

Talking of her background, Alexandra added: “It’s important to say how much Gloucestershire has shaped me in my career and politics. It’s never been a heartland of either party, especially Gloucester, so there’s always been a political conversation, there’s always a discussion of the ideas. And I went to High School for Girls in Denmark Road and Sir Thomas Rich’s school at sixth-form and I think of myself as an Old Richian.

“And going to a grammar school gave me so many opportunities, and that’s why we want to bring them back.

“Both Conservative and Labour hate grammar schools, and won’t talk about selection but they are excellent and I think I wouldn’t be where I am without having gone to a grammar school.”

I challenge her a little on this – suggesting that nobody has a problem with grammar schools, per se, but the issue is what you do with the youngsters who fail to get in at 11. In the past they were shunted off to secondary moderns and treated as factory fodder.

I wouldn’t have imagined that Alexandra especially boned up on education policy for a conversation with me and yet she said: “We need to change the whole education system, so that we have selective education and better vocational education, to give everybody the best chance. It’s not just bringing back grammar schools but improving vocational education to get rid of the stigma for it.

” The drive to send everyone to university started by the Labour Party has done great harm, and the idea that vocational education is less valuable has, too. We need a broad education system which provides the best for the individual.”

At the moment Alexandra is running the media operation in Wales leading up to the Welsh Assembly elections in May.

And she’s clearly very comfortable over the bridge.

I ask whether she’d consider standing herself.

“I’m thinking about it, certainly. There’s a whole process to go through, but I’m not ruling it out and I think my TV experience e would be useful. If I did stand I think I’d like to stand where I am now in Cardiff. It’s something to consider.”

Who knows what will happen to UKIP? Maybe Nigel Farage will be remembered for the brevity of his prominence. Maybe not.

But I wouldn’t bet against hearing more from Alexandra Phillips.

To view the original article CLICK HERE


Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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