UKIP Launch European Election Campaign – World Passes It By
I suspect that yesterday afternoon, when Nigel Farage was on the phone to his European Election campaign team, nobody thought very much of the rumours starting to circulate about David Moyes.
They were wrong. Instead of today’s news being focussed on Nigel, pint in hand, fag in mouth, telling anyone who was prepared to listen that he had the only solution to the problems that membership of the European Union bring us, information about the person who runs a football team has overtaken all his plans.
I’m no fan of the ever-widening scope of the EU. I certainly don’t like the effect of unelected EU Commissioners creating laws that affect me, my family and my business. As a young man, I voted for the first time in the EEC Membership Referendum. Like most people, I voted for a Trade Agreement. I didn’t vote for law-making bodies. I didn’t vote for open borders and no immigration controls. I certainly didn’t vote for people who have not paid into our tax system to be able to come here and claim benefits as soon as they get here.
Governments need to plan for the future. It is no secret that large migrations of people put massive pressures on local infrastructure, whether that is housing, schools, or roads. Additionally, services get stretched when the population grows faster than provision can keep up.
We have to have an approach to immigration that prevents the potential for large numbers of economic migrants turning up because conditions are better here than in their country of origin. A system that imports the right skills, helps people who aspire to get on by coming here, like so many people I know have, but turns away those who just want to take advantage of our services whilst not contributing to the economy.
One of my neighbours started a business last year. He and his wife made pate and he took it round local delicatessens to see if they wanted to buy it to sell on. It quickly became fairly successful and sales grew week after week.
Obviously, he had told the local Council so they could come and check the hygiene of his cooking facilities. They passed with flying colours. However, they also said that he had to comply with an EU Directive – a law made by the European Commission – which said some of his output must be sold directly to the public.
This regulation is ignored by most nations in Europe – but the net effect is they have had to cease production – not because they were producing something that customers didn’t want, or because they failed to meet hygiene standards. They were put out of business by an artificial mathematical calculation designed by officials in Brussels.
They are now claiming benefits instead of paying taxes.
It’s cases like that of my neighbour’s that make me want to be able to look at my country’s relationship with the EU again. I want to redevelop that relationship, so the nonsense is removed, but the advantages of having a trade area with clearly defined benefits to all nations encapsulated in a new way of doing business with each other.
During the latter part of the last decade, anybody who voiced these views was described as “racist” – a thoroughly undeserved epithet for the vast majority. There is a clear distinction between being concerned about something as obvious as service capacity and prejudice against a fellow human being on the grounds of where they were born.
Thankfully, for most people, the debate has moved on and there is clarity about the policies being offered by different political parties. It will be no surprise that I am a member of the party that wants to renegotiate our relationship and put the results to the people of this nation in an “In/Out” referendum.
Whilst the news agenda has passed Nigel by today, we’ll no doubt hear more of the message that we know is the UKIP approach. To listen to them, every single unemployed person in an EU nation is either heading here already, or making plans to come here. It is possible to spend a huge amount of money on (insert as necessary) Police/Schools/NHS/Defence, whilst at the same time lifting tax thresholds for some people or cutting tax rates for others. It is entirely feasible to wind the clock back so you don’t need rose-tinted spectacles any more.
For every question, UKIP will have an answer. However, what they don’t like – what their policies simply will not survive – is the second question. How precisely will they act to reduce immigration? What will they do about people already working in the UK who are paying taxes and contributing to our GDP and community life? Just where will the extra money come from to cut taxes whilst at the same time increase spending?
There is no doubt a considerable amount of work is still required to overcome the mess the Conservatives inherited from the last Labour Government. Yet real progress has been made. Growth is up. Job numbers are up – and most of the new jobs have gone to people born in this country. Wages are rising, inflation is falling. There is real benefit in a long term economic plan. Non-EU immigration is falling and people who have avoided deportation by using the courts as a delaying tactic have found this Government’s approach to be far more resolute than its predecessor.
So when people think of UKIP, perhaps they need to look beyond the beer and the fags, to think about more than the simplistic rhetoric.
UKIP is a one-trick pony when all is said and done, wholly based on their attitude to EU Membership. Yet the one thing most people want when it comes to Europe is a referendum – the one thing you can guarantee Nigel Farage is simply unable to deliver, either now, or after the next General Election.
Yet the Conservatives not only can, but they will deliver a referendum in 2017 if David Cameron is Prime Minister – and nothing Nigel Farage or UKIP can say will beat that.