The Abolish Question

Christopher Harries

At the last election for the now rebranded Welsh Parliament, UKIP managed to secure sufficient votes to gain seven representatives. In the years since that election, the UKIP group has fragmented. Some have chosen to go independent, others left to establish a Brexit Party group and one became the first Cardiff Bay representative for the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party.

Is The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party sincere in its mission or has the party been infiltrated by some with ulterior motives?

Formed five years ago as a single-issue political party, The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party managed to secure over forty thousand votes at the elections for the devolved institution. Since that election, the name of the institution has changed leaving the party with a seemingly redundant name something that seems to amuse devocrats and Welsh nationalists. Yet this does not faze the party as the name to them is merely semantics and the underlying mission remains the same.

As the next election draws closer what can we expect from the Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party? If social media is anything to go by, then we can expect the party to adopt a robust form of campaigning. In recent months, the party has run a belligerent form of social media effectively cowing the media into giving them coverage. This belligerence on social media is often aimed at provoking a reaction from the Welsh nationalists to expand the reach of the message. Eye catching graphics are often deployed to make a point or to drive the wind up process.

Any chance for election surely is on the regional list so the party must aim to deliver a campaign that engages the maximum number of people despite limitations as a result of lack of party infrastructure. Membership for the party was only introduced in June. Social media may indeed be helpful in this regard, but could it also be an echo chamber that imbues a false sense of confidence?

The party has in recent months been bolstered by some defections from the Welsh Conservative Party, while they have also gained several former candidates from the Brexit Party. These additions may give additional political nous to the party, however some of the individuals do leave you wondering the sincerity of the party towards its end goal. One of the recent additions had been trying to join the Welsh Conservatives with aim of being a candidate yet they now lambast the welsh Conservatives over their stance towards devolution. I suspect that some who have chosen to join may actually see project very differently to the founders and see merely an opportunity to get on the Cardiff Bay gravy train.

One of the biggest impediment towards a breakthrough is ultimately the addition of Gareth Bennett MS. A figure who has consistently courted controversy, to embrace such an individual leaves the party at risk of being sullied by association. In addition to the Gareth Bennett factor, the party is also now competing against two other overtly devosceptic parties in UKIP and The Brexit Party which is likely to rebranded by the time of the election.

I also suspect that the stock answer of abolition to every question posed may have its limitations. When the electorate poses questions about health or education will such an answer suffice or will the electorate expect more detail? Fundamentally this approach could hamstring the ability of the party to truly make a breakthrough.

Can The Abolish the Welsh Assembly Party manage to run a campaign that enables them to differentiate themselves from rivals or will they suffer from a split devosceptic vote?

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