A war of words has broken out between the British National Party and other political parties after a membership drive by the BNP in Llanelli.
The BNP accused the major parties of "puerile and pathetic name-calling" and blasted them as "the failed gang of political parties, who are directly responsible for the state of Wales and Llanelli today". And the BNP denied being racist.
"We are quite simply realists, not racists," said councillor Kevin Edwards, organiser of the West Wales British National Party. He added: "It is in the public domain that 30 per cent of Welsh children are being brought up in homes with incomes below the poverty level."
He was speaking after BNP leaflets circulated in the town, which declared "billions given away to foreigners, while child poverty eats at the heart of Britain", were roundly condemned.
But Llanelli's Plaid AM Helen Mary Jones hit back at the BNP. She said: "We all know that the economy is in a difficult state, but we can't solve the economic problems of our country by blaming migrant workers from other countries poorer than our own. We have known for a long time the British National Party is trying to dress up its message of division and racism in respectable clothes. The people of Llanelli and Wales are not going to fall for this."
Independent councillor John Jenkins said: "The BNP are playing politics with people's fears and are only making it harder to have a sensible debate about the problems they inflame in their literature. However, they have no relevance in Llanelli. They have made fun of our town with some of their awful sites. Their rent-a-mob of activists sent to the town ahead of the European elections are completely irrelevant and should be ignored."
Llanelli's Labour MP Nia Griffith accused the BNP of stirring up "discontent and strife in our communities".
"I think we have to take a very strong stand against any parties which are seen to be using racist tactics," she said. "What we are not hearing from them is anything about a constructive way forward. We know these are very difficult economic times, which is why there have been a number of significant steps taken by the government over the past couple of months to try to give support to those who might be unlucky enough to be losing their jobs."
She said the Treasury was putting pressure on the banks to pass on rate cuts, and help was being given to smaller businesses, those who might be losing their jobs or who fear repossession of their homes, as well as those worried about their savings.
Ms Griffith said: "What we need at the moment is concerted action and not stirring up trouble with ill-founded nonsense."
South Wales Evening Post