Politics

Cardiff UKIP Candidate Ethan Wilkinson interview

Tell me about your political career so far.

It’s been quite redundant until now. I was a long-term supporter of the Conservative party. Until very recently I had started an internship with Alun Cairns who is the MP for the Vale of Glamorgan. I have been a supporter of UKIP for quite a long time, I just didn’t realise that I associated so many policies with the new manifesto that they brought out. I realised they were the party that represented the majority of the views that I have. So I joined the party at the end of the December, I’ve done the assessment centre and I’ve just been selected last week as the parliamentary candidate for Cardiff North.

 

Why do you think you’d be a successful MP for Cardiff North?

I’m very different to the other candidates. Cardiff North is a very interesting constituency: it’s the most marginal seat in Wales. The incumbent Conservative MP won by 134 votes and now all of the candidates are brand new so it’s an exciting race. I’m the only candidate who is a lot younger. I’m 24 and a current university student. I’m married and have a child. So all of these different things allow me to identify with quite a lot of people. I’ve also set up my own company and speak three languages. I feel that I’m part of that new generation of young voters: voters who want change. Who better to make change than the person who desires that change? So I feel that one of the attributes I have which most politicians lack is honesty. I really want to be honest in everything that I say and do.

 

Why do you think UKIP policies in particular represent Cardiff North?

Something that has come up quite a lot on the doorstep is that people feel like they’ve been let down by the local leaders, the Labour led council and the Conservative MP. UKIP is the only party that is offering a change- that we would have more money if we left the EU. There have been cuts some of which were very necessary by the government, but the average person doesn’t feel like their lives have been made better, they just think cuts have been made to essential services like libraries. They don’t feel like their wages are going up and everything is going down. UKIP policies are going to help people feel the difference.

 

You mentioned we would have more money if we left the EU. Wales takes a lot of funding from the EU so how would Wales manage without that?

It’s important to remember where that funding comes from. So at the moment we pay £10 billion a year, which is roughly £65 million a day. And that money is reallocated back, so it’s money we’re putting in anyway. We would have that £10 million pounds a year and we want to cut the foreign aid budget by £9 million pounds a year, so that’s an extra £19 million pounds a year.

 

Despite having that money, UKIP wants to reduce Barnett Formula spending, so how would any of this benefit Wales?

UKIP want to see a massive change to spending and these difficulties were highlighted by the Scottish referendum. UKIP hasn’t come out with any specific policies on the Barnett Formula but they want to look at alternative solutions and ultimately they believe the UK is better together. They want to strengthen through devolution the powers that are available and look specifically at the spending.

 

Farage has said recently that he will scrap tuition fees for STEM students. What degree are you doing and do you think it’s fair to disparage against other degrees?

I am studying Italian and Spanish. I’ve done modules in politics and I’m currently in my fourth year. The reason UKIP has come out with this policy is because they’ve looked at where we have the skill gaps in the jobs the economy is looking for and identified that we have a shortage of doctors and nurses and within this digital era we have a lack of people with IT skills which the economy is looking for. So in these jobs we do have to recruit abroad and then there are people here who are unemployed and have to look abroad. So UKIP as an incentive is saying that subject to academic performance, the fees will be wavered so that we can fill that skills gap.

 

What do you think about Douglas Carswell’s remarks that UKIP needs to be taken seriously as an internationalist, multicultural party?

I’m not too sure what you’re referring to exactly but I know that as a party UKIP does appeal to a broad range of people. There are many claims that UKIP is racist but as a young voter, someone who has lived abroad and lives in a multicultural city, I don’t think that is a fair assumption or evaluation of the party. The party’s policies really appeal to a wide range of people from different faiths, colours and backgrounds. It’s important to remember that in the European Elections, that UKIP came first and gained 20 per cent of the vote.

 

There are certain policies in UKIP which many people feel are backwards looking and cause concern: bringing back smoking in pubs and legalising firearms. Do you think any of these policies are relevant to Cardiff?

Thinking about Cardiff specifically and on a personal level, I’m not sure. I’m not a smoker. With that, pubs would be required to have a separate room for smokers, which would be well ventilated. It’s not imposing the rights of other onto other people. UKIP is a party which recognises that people can make decisions for themselves and they want to roll back the nanny state and let people make those decisions for themselves rather than the government saying ‘you have to do this’.

 

UKIP have said they will scrap the department for energy and climate change and scrap green subsidies. Is UKIP denying the existence of climate change?

UKIP is the only party saying we need to have a very diverse energy market. Looking at the UK we have communities with different resources. In communities in which fracking would be of the most benefit then we will have fracking there and subsidies for the people; the same with places that would use traditional oil. We should have a very diverse market and utilise the resources available.

 

As a Mormon, where does the line lie between your religious beliefs and UKIP’s libertarian outlook?

Religious freedoms is something I’m very passionate about. I think there’s the issue that people shouldn’t infringe on each other’s rights. There is something called moral agency whereby people can make their own decisions about what the right thing to do is. UKIP is the only party which I feel allows you to exercise your rights.

 

Would your religious beliefs affect your political views?

The Mormon Church supports all basic rights. The marriage issue is difficult because obviously the Church believes in traditional marriage and doesn’t think the government has the authority to say.

 

So on gay marriage for example; would you follow the line of the Church?

Personally, I believe in traditional marriage.

 

Do you have anything to add or say about yourself?

I really believe that UKIP is the party that is best representing the views people have. I think it’s important to recognise that UKIP recognises there has been some silly people in the past. However, the media is very biased and other parties have people saying very silly things too. I can say from personal experience, that UKIP is attracting some high calibre candidates. I’ve been surprised by the intensive process I’ve had to go through to get here. I’ve had a four hour interrogation about policy, public speaking, media role-plays. UKIP are taking this seriously now. The important thing is UKIP’s official policies and these are policies that people actually believe in.

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  • Perhaps the “bad press” is a result of most of the press being in the pocket of either the Labour or Conservative parties.

    UKIK might only represent in your words a “minority” but I can assure you it is a sizeable minority

  • If the UKIP’s official policies are those that ‘people actually believe in’, then why do they have such bad press? Surely they can’t be simply misunderstood by a certain amount of the population? What’s also surprising is that if these polices are truly believed in by the population, why are no other parties pressing for the same ideas? With this in mind, UKIP seems to represent the minority.

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