Local UKIP candidate 29-year-old Ben Roberts was welcomed when he spoke at Kingston University (KU) by posters captioned: ‘UKIP GO HOME – Immigrants are welcome here’ and ‘Stop this racist! NO to UKIP – blame bosses not migrants’ on Thursday 5 March.
Mr Roberts described UKIP as “a straight talking party”, he argued that “British politics needed shaking up”. His confidence noticeably dwindled after being grilled by his increasingly hostile audience.
“Kingston University shouldn’t oppress any viewpoint, otherwise it goes unchallenged and to me that’s a lot worse than it existing in the first place,” said Catherine Green, 19, Human Rights with Media & Cultural Studies Student.
Although Mr Roberts was not warmly welcomed, Swaction has not found a student who disagrees with UKIP candidates expressing their views at KU.
“UKIP have the right idea, but they are just going about it in the wrong way. Their motion is correct but they’re doing it for the wrong reasons,” said Jonny Knights, 22, History & Politics Student.
UKIP’s suspended MPs who have been called racist, xenophobic or homophobic were described by Mr Roberts as: “idiots”, “tits” and “muppets”, he reasoned that as a young party, UKIP does not yet have the adequate “vetting systems” put in place that other parties do.
When Swaction asked Armir Isufi, 22-year-old student of Pharmaceutical Science (MSc) what he first thought when he heard ‘UKIP’, he said: “Racism and white power. I don’t really know much, I don’t follow their agendas or anything like that, but from what I’ve heard they’re racist.”
KU will be hosting a final ‘Candidate Question Time’ free event at 5.00pm on Tuesday 31 March, where debate will take place between prospective parliamentary candidates competing to represent Kingston and Surbiton, from Green Party, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Conservative Party and UKIP.
To book a ticket for ‘Candidate Question Time’ visit: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/candidate-question-time-tickets-15450792737
To learn more about Ben Roberts and UKIP visit: http://ukipkingstonsurbiton.org.uk/tag/ben-roberts/.
By Tessa Neal