Letters From Wales: “What impact do you envisage UKIP having at the Assembly elections next year?”
Sam Gould: “Labour is unrecognisable now. We’ve done the analysis, and if our general election results were applied to the proportional voting system in Wales, we would have won 7-8 seats at the Assembly.
“An ITV poll in June put us at 8 AM’s next year.”
LFW: “Assuming you pick up some seats, because let’s be honest here, polls are hardly reliable just take the General Election fiasco, what part do you see UKIP playing in a Welsh administration next year?”
SG: “As I say, we are aiming to get between 8 and 10 seats at the Assembly. This is achievable. We are far more organised and have Mark Reckless overseeing our Welsh policy team.”
LFW: “What are you offering Welsh voters that is different?”
SG: “There are a large number of Labour voters who want to leave Europe. We are responding to this. The key question for Labour voters is this:
‘What has Labour done for you?’ When you ask this question on doorsteps people are stumped.
“Are Labour still looking after the working class? Are they protecting benefits? How is uncontrolled immigration protecting the working class? When you look at Welsh Labour’s handling of these things it’s atrocious.”
LFW: “Ok, UKIP thrashes immigration which is fair enough, but can we look at three principle areas where it could be argued Welsh Labour has totally messed up ie education, health and the Welsh economy?”
SG: “Labour’s record on all three has been appalling. Our detailed policies in respect of all these issues are being worked out as I speak.”
(Still some ducking here, but let’s give UKIP the benefit of the doubt.)
LFW: “Can we look at Welsh medium schools then, for a moment?”
SG: “You have to look at the fact that if you are learning a scientific subject, say physics or biology in Welsh, you’re limited if you want to become a doctor. The technical vocabulary isn’t there. You have to relearn everything in English.
“The debate on the Welsh language needs to happen. Yes it needs to be protected and yes it is part of our culture but the lengths to which it is being pushed on young people in schools for instance, is not necessarily to the benefit of pupils or their education generally.”
LFW: “There is of course the cost to the taxpayer? To date £2.2bn to S4C alone, for example.”
SG: “As I say, the whole issue must be properly and openly debated.”
JR: “UKIP is always accused of being highly nationalist, do you think that the growth of Welsh nationalism post devolution is making Wales more introverted, backward looking and insular?”
SG: “Of course it is, no argument.”
LFW: “Would you get into bed with the Tories?”
SG: ”We won’t go into coalition with anyone in the Assembly. We’ve made this very clear. What we might do and we will make this decision after the elections, is enter into a pact on a policy by policy basis in order get some of our key policies through.”
LFW: “If the Tories pick up more seats which they might well do, it could mean that together you hold the balance of power at the Senate?”
SG: “What you are referring to is a rainbow coalition of some sort, so my previous answer stands. I firmly believe that Welsh Labour will be in a minority after the Assembly elections. We are Labour’s biggest threat and Carwyn Jones knows this.”
The voice of the people? A real chance for change?