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Monday 14 June 2004

UKIP - stealth radicals or voice of reason? [brit]

You'll no doubt be aware of the upset caused by the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) in the recent European Parliamentary elections.
The Big Three parties (if Charles Kennedy's assertion that we now have a three party democratic system is to be believed) have been left somewhat bloodied by the result, showing as it does that UKIP's message has struck a chord with the electorate.
To summarise, UKIP wants us out of the European Union, totally. I'm sure we'll all remember the broohaha around the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty, and it's at about the same time that UKIP arrived on the scene.
I am however slightly suspicious of any party which simply wants us to pull out completely of the EU. We've all seen and heard the reports from incredulous reporters and industry types as Brussels hands down another bonkers verdict (reference the Bendy Banana episode), but surely the European Parliament does a hell of a lot more than simply measure our fruit?
I think that's where the problem lies; and where UKIP's strength has come from - the electorate is simply none the wiser when it comes to the European Parliament, and when combined with the tabloid feeding frenzy that greets any new piece of legislation, amounts to a seriously damaging level of ignorance.
UKIP also have another problem - their election result is based on a single platform as I've explained. This simply isn't good enough for a party to be considered electable in terms of national governance; our membership of the EU whilst important in terms of what it actually means, is only one part of what our government has to handle.
There are points within UKIP's manifesto which I feel a kinship with; particularly the idea that the GBP£25m a day we pump into the EU could be better spent (for example, according to their figures, the same amount would finance the building of 100 hospitals a year). However, I'm less than sure as to their aspirations concerning immigration - which simply appears to be 'there will be none of it'.
Where do UKIP go from here? are they a flash in the pan (remember the Referendum party? no? point made).. or a real force to be considered?


  1. To assume you get nothing from europe in return for your 'investment' is amazing, and the fact that everyone just believes it is insane, but they do!
    One example, how many multi-nationals are here because of the proximty to europe, and the favourable trade conditions between EU contries. What about the EU nationals who are the employees in hospitals you will build, as no fucker here wants a low paid, messy job :) British exports to EU countries (a sizable percentage of the total exports I would guess) would become more expensive, less competitive, fucking up how many SME's. What about the millions given to farmers and fishermen, to keep a roof over their heads (*grumble*) while I dont like the policy, I know some people from farming areas at home, and many people would be fucked without these 'handouts' - even if they are shit in the grand scheme of things.
    That 20% of you here in England would prefer to basically be an island with no connections to anyone to speak of is a bit sad in this day and age..

  2. we have a more sane version over here, that also took a big chunk of votes. and this 'party' is only 4 months old. phear.
    now, this is not a get out of eu party, but they think eu should stay a trade thing. that the power over our laws etc should stay national.
    they have to be taken seriously though, its a democracy after all.

  3. One of the problems, as I see it, is that the turn out for the European elections was astronomically small. If people cannot be bothered to vote for their chosen candidates for the right reasons for local government - then how the hell are they supposed to care about some nebulous parliament over in Brussels?
    It's seems to me that the only people who can be bothered voting are those which are onboard the tabloid anti-Europe bandwagon. Anyone else that suspects that Europe will be good for the country, almost certainly doesn't care enough to vote for some candidate they've never heard of.
    Yet the undeniable trend we're seeing is that more and more people are becoming sufficiently xenophobic and anti-immigration that the fringe parties are picking up votes. It's probably nothing to worry about considering that these one-issue parties will never be a serious polical force. What they do those, is force the major parties to consider how much of the vote is there in the fringes.
    I would predict, and indeed I think many others would also, that the real consequence of these elections will be that the Tories will veer off to a stronger Euroskeptical standpoint. They've been haemorhaging the mainstream for years but they cannot afford to use lose this strengthening right-wing vote as well.
    Other than that, I absolutely agree with you that the most damaging aspect of all of this is that no one knows what Europe actually means. It's hard enought to engage the public with politics more highbrow than the sleeze variety as it is, let alone when the scope and size of it has been increased dramatically and relocated to a country that many of us regard as the most boring nation on Earth.

  4. I should point out that I don't support UKIP; I'm just curious as to what others think.
    £25m a day per year is a serious stack of cash; now of course the 'for hospitals' earmarking is nothing more than UKIP tapping into the general resentment over the state of the NHS and scoring points there. I'm sure £25m a day could be better spent upgrading the salaries of low income core services workers like nurses and fire brigade officers.
    I don't however expect to hear anyone from Eire decrying the EU's existence; after all, their EU ougoings are vastly, hugely, massively recompensed by the enormous EU incomings.

  5. How can you complain about the £25m a day without knowing what we get back?
    Vagga raises a good point with regards to labour. I spent last weekend in the delightful grip of the NHS, from a healthcall clinic through to the hospital. It seemed to me that the majority of the staff were black, lending weight to that argument that we need immigrants to do the jobs which the British don't want to do... (And of course their kids get a proper education and then end up competiting with our kids for the 'real' jobs, which I think is bloody fair enough)

  6. its national pride and fear for poor nations. who the fuck wants to get less money or even lose their jobs because of 3rd world eastblock workers comes over to work for half the cash?
    and over here we got some real issues with power in eu. we are 9 million. we got fuck all to say in votes. yet we got massive natural resources. for the people in northern sweden its a fucking long way to brussels.

    3 large PDF's with all the facts and figures you can handle about the EU
    First, you will find that there not actually a country called eire, there is one called Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland, and its a pretty poor attempt at an insult :)
    Second, we now give in more than we take from the EU, thats the whole point UKIP miss, help others to get up to standard and share the burden - so neeeeerrrrrrrrrrr

  8. As far as the trade conditions etc, don't a few places like switzerland get most of those benefits without being in the eu?
    Personally, I am in favour of the links with europe, but the way that the pro-europe politicians portray the decision as totally in or totally isolated is fairly annoying.

  9. It's really more complex than that though, isn't it. What we're trying to do is foster a prosperous domestic market through helping the new countries attain the same sort of wealth and industry which Western Europe has. With that done, suddenly the domestic economy is that much bigger which is a hugely significant thing. You need to compare Europe to the US to get a sense of how useful it is to have a massive domestic economy.
    That's what all this thing is about, having Europe which can stand toe to toe with American and the Far East in terms of trade and industry. Right now a lot of that is going to involve handing money to the new states to get their infrastructure up to scratch.
    Many will regard that as charity and prefer to spend the money locally instead. It's short sighted and misguided. A strong Europe means cheap products, jobs for all and a very exciting place to live and work.

  10. It's not an insult.. sheesh. Was it or was it not referred to as Eire not so long ago? Anyway, evidently I'm not the only one who still refers to it as Eire!
    We're also arguing over something which is completely irrelevant; since I don't think anyone here actually supports UKIP :) However, the UKIP platform is fairly typical of a single 'dumbed down' issue one; they've mentioned the pound (who cares what our money is called, so long as it's worth what it's worth), health and immigration, and effectively planted all the associated problems at someone else's door.
    I'm also not complaining about the £25m a day, but I am right in saying it's a serious stack of cash and I am right in saying that keeping that cash in country can only be a good thing. Of course, the money probably buys us a truck load of things, but I've no idea what they are.
    The complete polarization of the Europe debate is infuriating; either we are IN Europe or we're OUT of Europe and as far as les politicos would have us believe, that's our only choice.

  11. I keep seeiong £25m a day .... not sure where that comes from, but just out of interest don't we spend something like 50 times that on hospitals already ?

  12. Most of the bleeding heart liberals make arguments like - Our health service is shit, let's spend more money on it instead of some other thing! Easy option isn't it. Easy to do, easy for the public to understand.
    Of course, just throwing money at a problem is irresponsible, inefficient and lazy. How many parties do you hear saying 'We're going to reform middle management and improve efficiency!' Not many...