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Friday, 12 July 2013


UKIP’s policy on devolution was written by David Campbell-Bannerman after consulting with me.

UKIP’s then Leader, Roger Knapman (whom Nigel Farage has since expelled), said to me that he could see that the English Democrats had got an issue which had traction (the devolutionary unfairness to England). He said that he thought either, as he put it, he could “do something about the issue” or “do something about us” and he said that he was going to try and do something about the issue first!

The outcome was that David Campbell-Bannerman was deputised to write UKIP’s manifesto on devolution. David's instructions were to tinker as little as possible with the UK structure, whilst giving a nod in the direction of devolution to the Nations of the UK. His solution is their current policy, which is that each country will only elect MPs to Westminster, but on certain days of the month those Westminster MPs will go into separate huddles and be the “Parliaments” of England, Scotland and Wales respectively. Obviously this policy has a particular difficulty in Northern Ireland, but is also completely unacceptable to most politically minded Scots.

In Wales, however, I think support for the Welsh Assembly and for separate Welsh representation is rather less well developed than in Scotland. It is in this context that it is interesting to see the BBC article below and if you click the link you can also hear the radio interview with the Leader of UKIP Wales indicating that he is not happy with their current policy and wants to go back to their previous policy - which was to abolish the Welsh Assembly!

Personally I would not regard this as practical politics but it is certainly interesting to see that a leading figure in UKIP in Wales is willing to contemplate a UKIP split after the next EU election.

It also tells you a lot about the direction of travel in UKIP on the “nationality question”.

At one time we were told that UKIP might adopt a full blown and proper English Parliament as a policy, rather than their current half-hearted “Grand” Committees. This article clearly puts paid to that story - which always seemed a little unlikely given the significant numbers of Unionist Scots in prominent positions and/or as funders of UKIP!

Here is the full text of the BBC story and if you follow the link below to the BBC web page you will be able to hear the recording of the radio interview with Mr Bufton.

UKIP MEP John Bufton's Welsh anti-devolution party idea

Wales' UKIP MEP has floated the idea of an anti-devolution party after disagreeing with his leader Nigel Farage over the Welsh assembly.

John Bufton, who is standing down as an MEP next year, said Mr Farage was "relaxed" about devolution but he was "totally opposed" to it.

Mr Bufton said many in Wales objected to the assembly and perhaps there should be a party to represent them.

He told BBC Radio Wales the UK needed fewer politicians, not more of them.

Mr Bufton, a former Powys county councillor, pledged his loyalty to UKIP until he stepped down as an MEP but refused to say whether he would support the party in the long term.

“There are a lot of people out there in Wales who are still very much opposed to the Welsh assembly and there needs to be, perhaps, a party to represent them” John Bufton MEP UKIP, Wales Speaking on Sunday Supplement on BBC Radio Wales, he said UKIP's current policy was to abolish assembly members and allow MPs to come "back to Wales then one week a month to do the work of the assembly".

"I'm one of the old guard I've always been opposed to the assembly and still am," Mr Bufton said.

"What Nigel Farage, our leader, has come out and said in an interview in the last few days is that he's relaxed about devolution, policing and new fiscal powers. Well, I'm totally opposed to that.

"I personally believe that we don't need to be doing this. We need to be different from the other parties. We're basically going to be the same as those so there'll be no difference at all."

'It's madness' He added: "There are a lot of people out there in Wales who are still very much opposed to the Welsh assembly and there needs to be, perhaps, a party to represent them.

"It's up to the members and the leadership to decide which way we go with this, but if they take Nigel's lead on this then there will be a vacuum, there will be a vacancy and my view is if we have this vacancy there is room for another party.

"It's still very early to say which way things are happening in Wales and what I decide to do, but people who know me well have known that I've campaigned against the assembly from day one and I believe we still have to have an opposition.

"It's madness to turn around and throw the towel in and say: 'Yes, let them get on with it.'"

Mr Bufton fears the Welsh assembly will ultimately lead to Wales' independence and the break-up of the UK.

He is also opposed to an English parliament.

"We've had a debate in the party for some time regarding an English parliament, again this is Plaid Cymru's policy, and I am again opposed to that," he said.

"I believe the taxpayer is paying far too much money for politicians. We need a lot less and not a lot more and if we have and English parliament as well that's another tier of politicians."

Mr Bufton said he intended to complete his term as a UKIP MEP, adding that "what happens in the future is another matter".

Mr Farage said in the interview with Wales Online: "I am relaxed about devolution. I am relaxed about a federal future for the UK."

Click here for the link >>>


  1. Robin,

    UKIP are Marxist Eurabian Anglophobes. They are deceivers like Lib Lab Con.

    1. I'm no fan of U.K.I.P. or its leader but slinging long "ist" and "phobe" words at them is not consistent with the notion of "Grown-up Debate".

    2. I haven't a clue what "Marxist Eurabian Anglophobe" means. Like Clive, I don't believe that use of such terms, which no-one understands, helps, but Ukip is in the same boat as Lib Lab Con.
      The difference is that Lib Lab Con know what they are doing, but Ukip as a party hasn't any idea and is divided between the majority who confuse Britain with England and swallow the party line that there can be devolution to England with an English Parliament, and the minority including John Bufton who realise that devolution to England is not possible because the UK could not survive it intact.
      It can be no coincidence that Mr Bufton lives in Wales, where the devolution/independence debate has been going on for longer.

  2. John Bufton's logic is quite right. The UK as a unitary state is the only way it can operate. Northern Ireland has been an exception, because it has not been in competition with the rest of the UK (and it's little bigger than a city council). Following devolution to Scotland and Wales, a conflict of interest between England and the devolved nations has been created. A federal UK would be unstable because of the size of England versus the rest. A devolved England is a non-starter. The only solution is an entirely independent England. That is something Ukip will not accept. So, they will be forced back to the logic of Mr Bufton's position. Having experienced devolution, the other nations want more. That leaves England with no other option, and Ukip up the creek without a paddle.