A conversation with the hopeful president of Aber’s UKIP society
‘Not everyone is a hardcore ‘kipper, some are just a bit curious’
With the UK set to decide if it’s in or out of the EU within the next two years, the Eurosceptic camp have never been within closer reach of their goal. I sat down with the would-be chairman of Aberystwyth Young Independence, Andrew Wilmot.
Andy, a Computer Science and Business Studies second year talked to us about all things Farage, his array of UKIP swag and to find out what kind of barriers he and his fellow ‘kippers have been faced with while trying to establish a society based around the often controversial political movement.
The society are on their way to official formation. “We’ve submitted all the paperwork, including the list of our 12 members (under union policy 10 members are required in order to become an official society). The last set of union staff were vaguely co-operative but we couldn’t get the members in time.
“Whilst there’s been a trend amongst other students’ unions in not allowing the establishment of UKIP societies, we reckon we’ll be fine here. We’ll find out by next week.”
Surprisingly, they have quite a diverse range of political stances amongst their membership. “We have a mixture”, Andy explains.
“We have some that aren’t affiliated with any party, we have a couple of Tories who are in the Eurosceptic camp, we have a few card-carrying UKIP members including myself. Not everyone is a hardcore ‘kipper, some are just a bit curious.”
So why are otherwise none-UKIP aligned undergrads turning their eye to Farage’s camp? “Amongst university students, it tends to be criticisms of the way in which the EU handles democracy. A lot of people view it as very undemocratic, which is why they become Eurosceptic in the first place.
“We actually have a few pretty left-wing members as well. The point is that we are the only party which is openly, entirely Eurosceptic, and that tends to be the key thing. We do get people who disagree with a lot of UKIP policy, but they join from a Eurosceptic angle as that’s our main point.”
The society’s main focus is, obviously, a political one but there would be other events. “We’d have weekly meetings, as at the moment we’re very busy deciding who’s going to be our Welsh assembly candidates, we’ll be campaigning pretty hard for that later on in the year. Other than that we’re looking at doing bi-weekly socials, not just with other UKIP students but with students from all parties, particularly Eurosceptics.”
Keep an eye out for the Eurosceptic social in Yokos later this term, then. Well, it depends on the number of Eurosceptics in Aber really. “There’s a handful, but it’s interesting because in the general election we actually got more votes in this constituency than Labour, and came close to getting more than the Tories.”
Andy is unsatisfied about how people see the common ‘kipper. With all the bad press UKIP tends to get in the national media, it’s inevitable that Andrew gets some adverse reactions when he outs himself as a ‘kipper in Aber.
“Oh God yes, we get that a lot. Since all the papers except the Express don’t like us, public opinion on us isn’t great. What I will say though is that we are one of the most tolerant societies out there;
“I was attacked by even the LGBT society for being bisexual, and I’ve not had anything like that in Young Independence. When we put up posters calling for an EU referendum, our house was egged, and there was actually an organised campaign of people driving around and vandalising our placards. People have even been attacked physically.”