‘Independent’ councillor for Trevethin ward in Torfaen Louise Shepphard will by now be familiar to page followers https://www.facebook.com/FRWWales/posts/577002049481413. Regret to report however that Louise Shepphard isn’t the only councillor in Torfaen who associates with people with far right associations – another is the councillor for Greenmeadow ward in Torfaen Jason O’Connell https://www.facebook.com/greenmeadowward/.
But what’s perhaps even more concerning about Jason O’Connell is that he isn’t a non party independent councillor who’s taken up with supporters of the DFLA and the far right For Britain party (like his good friend Louise Shepphard) – Jason O’Connell is a councilor for a major party….. in this case the Welsh Conservative party. Furthermore rumour has it he intends to put himself forward as a regional list candidate for the Welsh Conservatives at the next elections to the Welsh Assembly in 2021.
We publish here screen grabs from O’Connell’s own accounts on GAB and facebook. GAB we would remind readers is described thus on wikipedia “known for its mainly far-right user base. The site has been described as “extremist friendly” or a “safe haven” for neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and the alt-right”.
In a post on GAB (pictured) Jason O’Connell urges Tommy Robinson to open an account on the Alt Right friendly platform saying he “would bring 100s of thousands if he started to use this platform”. And in another GAB post (pictured) he praises an appearance on Good Morning Britain by the Alt Right racist icon Ann Coulter, who of course infamously shared materials on twitter from the neo fascist party Britain First, and who was recently in the news for her racist tweets about an asain https://www.indy100.com/…/ann-coulter-twitter-eric-hananoki… (also noteworthy Jason O’Connell couldn’t resist slipping in a sexist remark about Coulter’s appearance while he was about it) .
While his facebook pages – this is his other one https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=688232552 – regularly feature the aforementioned Louise Shepphard and the notorious DFLA Torfaen based far right activist Dave Simpson. In one post (pictured) O’Connell talks about ‘working with the homeless’ with Shepphard and Simpson – given what we know about the kind of ‘work’ Dave Simpson’s been doing with the homeless https://www.facebook.com/FRWWales/posts/561228861058732 we shudder to think what kind of work exactly Joseph O’Connell might have been doing with him.
Bizarrely Jason O’Connell also tells labour supporters he’ll be removing them from his facebook list (pictured) along with “anyone with even remote connections to far left wing groups”. While we’re sure it will come as some surprise to many people living in Torfaen that the Greenmeadow ward is apparently a hot bed of ‘far left’ activity we can’t help but notice Councillor Jason O’Connell seems to have no trouble openly associating with people like Dave Simpson who have demonstrable links with far right groups https://www.facebook.com/FRWWales/posts/562482454266706
In recent days there have been a spate of reports of instances of islamophobia, anti semitism and expressions of support for far right thug Tommy Robinson among tory party members https://www.independent.co.uk/…/tory-councillor-tommy-robin… all of which has prompted the party’s former chair Baroness Warsi to declare that the conservative party is “institutionally racist” https://www.theguardian.com/…/tories-suspend-14-members-ove….
Baroness Warsi has also warned that the Conservative party faces ‘ukipification’ unless it takes concrete steps to investigate members with far right links who have joined the party in numbers in the last couple of years (we note that Jason O’Connell’ was an independent until announcing on his facebook he was joining the tories last september – pictured).
The Conservatives responded to these recent reports we’ve mentioned by suspending and investigating the members concerned. Clearly if they – and Welsh tory leader Paul Davies – are serious about addressing these concerns then they should suspend and investigate Jason O’Connell as well and do so as a matter of urgency.