Cornwall might be on the periphery of the UK, but when it comes to UKIP it is central to their plans – and for those of us who keep tabs, an interesting barometer of UKIP fortunes. ‘Kipper’ success in the Duchy was at one time promoted heavily by the party, after it ‘won’ the 2014 EU elections with 37% of the vote in the county, it also returned the party six seats in 2013’s local elections.
Cornwall: Lots of elderly retirees, and by the sea. Perfect Ukip territory, you’d think.
The county has a unitary authority council running it, and there is high support for a Cornish assembly that would maximise devolved powers replacing the existing system, and although UKIP are against it, at one time they conceivably could have won seats in the proposed ‘parliament’.
It’s also one of just two UK regions (along with South Wales) in receipt of generousEuropean Regional Development Funding (ERDF) worth around £500m over six years.
This money has been used to fund infrastructure and education, however, UKIP wish to do away with it and despite claims they would replace it we’re yet to see any costed, serious, plans.
With the news that UKIP Cornwall Councillor Mark Hicks has quit, the party’s local representatives have fallen to just two, from the original six.
We have already covered the situation with racism and anti-Semitism in our previous articles, and with UKIP’s utter unprofessionalism and repeated gaffes in Cornwall we feel they are totally unelectable.
This should be a warning for anybody considering voting for UKIP as their local representative.
Here is our run down of UKIP’s Cornish Council failures.
MICHAEL KEOGH – Elected to a ward in the Falmouth and Truro area, Keogh became the first of the six to quit just months after the election. No official explanation from UKIP was given but rumours circulated about his health issues, which we are told were legitimate.
VIV LEWIS – Lewis claimed he was a paper candidate who just happened to get elected (by 12 votes) and in his mid-eighties when he came to office. Immediately involved in public bout of racism, he claimed he couldn’t be racist because he had “been to the West Indies on holiday”. He resigned in 2015 and his seat was won by Labour. Mr Lewis passed away in January of this year.
HARRY BLAKELEY – Blakeley a former brewery manager resigned from his seat just weeks after the general election, triggering a by-election at additional cost to the tax-payer. His tenure as a Cornwall Councillor was marred by several embarrassing gaffes (full blog post on them soon) including illegally allowing travellers onto private land, and a string of very strange episodes involving his ‘protégé’ the notorious Cornish BNP activist, Rosie Ward.
MARK HICKS – A “strange individual” who we are told was “never seen” at UKIP events and functions. Turned up for council votes but did nothing else of note. We’re also told Hick’s “goes everywhere with his parents”. He stood down suddenly citing “personal reasons” using a facebook message to write to the leader of Cornwall Council.
DEREK ELLIOTT – We’re told Elliott is a “solid councillor and a good chap”. A 2010 PPC who had a good profile in his constituency, he was pushed aside for ‘big draw’ Bob Smith, a personal friend of Nigel Farage for the Camborne/Redruth target seat. Still remains a Cornwall Councillor but we are told he won’t be running again in 2017.
STEPHANIE McWILLIAMS – Long term UKIP insider and former party health spokeswoman who has done the rounds on regional and county committees. Led the council election campaign on a pledge to oppose house building, but then voted for a 45,000 increase anyway. A lame duck since the housing vote, McWilliams was also involved in the anti-Semitic cover up in St Ives (see our previous articles) which caused donors to withdraw £100k in funding and support. We’re are also told she “did nothing” to support her general election candidate. She has since resigned her chairmanship of South East Cornwall and does not plan to seek re-election in 2017.Cornwall – a little microcosm of how Ukip works.
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