UKIP and why I’ll be voting for them

Those of you who don’t live in the EU have probably escaped the fact that on May 22, a large proportion of us are going to vote for our representatives in the European Parliament – our MEPs.

I have been asked on several occasions how I plan to vote, and why. I plan to vote UKIP, and these are my reasons why.

UKIP is the party of choice

Labour, the Lib Dems and Greens aren’t interested in giving anyone a choice about membership of the European Union (EU), or the creeping autocracy we find ourselves increasingly living under. These three parties stand for increasing amount of EU interference in our daily lives, with more power for EU officials and departments.

The Conservatives have some good rhetoric regarding the EU, but that’s all it is – empty words. David Cameron has a demonstrable track record of not delivering on promises regarding Europe (anyone remember his “cast iron” guarantee?) and he has already stated in a small and overlooked (at least in the UK) part of the Spanish press that if the UK electorate did vote to leave the EU he would simply ignore the result. His noises about Europe are born out of fear of UKIP’s increasing popularity and the prospect of rebellions and defections from his own more Eurosceptic back-benchers and grass-roots members.

Even if we assume that David Cameron plans to make good on a small part of his pledge to “reform” the EU in the interests of the UK, he has no power to actually deliver on his promise. Changing the way the EU operates requires majority agreement of the member states, and I don’t see the other countries simply allowing Dave to change things as he wills. The Conservatives have been a spent force in Europe since Thatcher was ousted from the party back in the early 90s – a vote for Dave is a vote for the status quo.

One of UKIP’s major arguments is that we have never actually had a referendum on membership of the EU. Those with their feet firmly rooted in the campaign to remain part of the EU are quick to point out that we voted in 1975 to remain part of the European Economic Community (the EEC) which we had joined in 1973. This is true, but what they don’t point out is that the EEC as it was in the 1970s is a very different animal to what the EU is now. The EEC was, essentially, a multinational trade agreement for disestablishment of borders across the continent, allowing freedom of trade in a single Europe-wide market. This was a sensible idea, and one that even the most staunch anti-EU people would probably still vote in favour of today. The EU is a supra-national government and political organisation, passing laws on a daily basis that affect hundreds of millions of people across the continent and the world at large.

No one in the UK has ever voted to be a member of the EU: membership is simply something that mutated over time. Considering the EU likes to say that it stands for democracy and freedom, and that its representatives like to trumpet that line as often as possible, you’d think they’d be more willing to listen to dissenting voices, rather than try to stifle criticism of their organisation.

If you want to actually have a meaningful choice about whether to stay in the EU, UKIP is the only political party with the resource and the will to deliver it.

UKIP is not racist

There have been a number of incidents reported in the press recently regarding some badly chosen words by UKIP members and representatives, which the more mainstream political parties have tried to spin (with the aid of the mainstream media) into a story which portrays UKIP as institutionally racist. This is nonsense.

I’m not going to deny that there are a few “bad apples” amongst UKIPs members, and that some of those may eventually pass through to stand for the party as a potential candidate. However, UKIP is a growing political party that, as yet, does not have the networks and resources that the larger parties have which enables them to “weed out” these more undesirable individuals. Even so, there are still a few that make it through the filters of even the Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems:

These are just a handful of stories that have been in the press recently: if you’ve a mind to go looking, there are other examples. You might not have seen too many of them, though – it’s as though only stories which discredit UKIP and its candidates and members make the mainstream media; those which affect other parties never make it past the sidelines.

I’m not seeking to defend those people mentioned in the links above, nor those people who purport to represent UKIP with their unsavoury rhetoric and ideals. I’m simply pointing out the double-standards in the reporting of these incidents.

A lot of the racism claims that are levelled against UKIP come from their policies relating to increased control of immigration. This has long been a staple response of those on the left of the political spectrum: whenever anyone mentions controlling immigration in any way, they point their fingers, their mouths all frothed in rage and scream “RACIST!”.

This is nonsense.

It has never been racist to acknowledge the fact that migrants have an impact on the country they move to, both positively and negatively. It is also true that, due to the UK economy being stronger than a lot of the other countries in Europe, we are a more attractive prospect for migrants looking for work or a new start, and this is evidenced in statistics:

migration-chart

The chart above was generated using statistics from an ONS report (PDF) and shows the levels of migration over time (in thousands), along with a trend line for net migration: more people are now arriving in this country than ever before. When these people arrive they are going to need:

  • To get about – this will have an impact on our already over-burdened road networks (if they drive) or our public transport networks (if they don’t)
  • To look after themselves – this will have an impact on our already overstretched GP surgeries and A & E departments in hospitals
  • To find work – this will place an additional burden on the labour markets, potentially driving down wages and removing competition from employment markets. Those that can’t find work will need benefits or support, placing further burdens on our overstretched benefits systems
  • To send their children to school – the competition for school places is already fierce, and there aren’t enough to go around, without adding extra people to already oversized classes and placing further demands on our education system and its support staff and teachers
  • Somewhere to live – in most cases, people arriving in the country won’t have the resources to buy their own houses, meaning they will either be renting (driving up demand for rental accommodation, and hence prices) or they will need social housing, driving up demand for this already scarce resource, and placing additional burdens on the local authorities whose job it is to support them. Those that can’t buy, rent or get social housing for some reason will probably become homeless and live on streets, which will have an impact on crime levels, as well as have complications for their health

It is not racist to want answers to these issues, and to have mechanisms in place to allow those people newly arriving into the country to integrate into society as quickly and seamlessly as possible. Stifling debate about these issues only serves to further the duration and level of their impact, both on those newly arriving into the UK and those people already here who have to help deal with the situation.

UKIP is not about shutting the doors and stopping people coming into the UK. It is about placing a moratorium on migration to the UK to allow us to address the issues we already have with those that are already here, and make preparations for those that want to come here, before opening the doors.

At present, the only people we can control coming into the country are those citizens from countries outside the EU: we have no control over how many EU citizens can move to and live in the UK, and this strikes me as being very strange. Control over your own borders is the right of every sovereign state, and one of the primary duties of any government, no matter what colour rosette it wears.

Let’s stop this nonsense relating to wanting to talk about immigration being racist and start answering some of the questions that immigration poses us. You can’t deal with a problem by brushing it under the carpet and pretending it isn’t there, and that’s all the other parties seem intent on doing.

UKIP is the only party that treats people like responsible adults

No one can have missed the constant, creeping nanny-state mentality that we had to endure under the 10 years that Labour were in charge of the country, both under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Far from slashing red tape, Dave has continued to introduce nannying rules, some from EU legislation and others of his own making.

Just this past week, Labour have said that if they win the next general election (to be held in 2015) they will introduce legislation to force people to get fit and control what they can eat and drink. In the last decade the political classes have stopped viewing the electorate with the fear and respect they should be viewing us with (we control their fates with our votes, after all) and instead have shown nothing but disdain and disrespect towards us. We are not intelligent people, capable of rational thought and our own decision making processes, we are dumb cattle who must be herded along and told what to do for our own good.

UKIP does not stand for this brand of politics. UKIP treats voters with the respect they deserve: if you want to go down the pub and have a pint, that’s fine; if you want to eat a pizza while watching the football, that’s fine; if you want to nip outside for a quick cigarette, that’s fine. The electorate doesn’t need more control and more shepherding, it needs more freedom from government and nanny state interference in our daily lives. UKIP are the only party that will give you that: the other parties simply insist on furthering their own surveillance of you and your daily life, and furthering their regulation of you and your daily life.

This is not how a free country should be.

UKIP is not the party of fear, it is the party of optimism

There have been several reports in the mainstream media recently, featuring sound-bites from pundits and politicians stating that UKIP is the party of fear. This is, again, simply not true.

We are all exposed to fear every time we see an advert in the press or on TV: if men don’t keep their facial hair a certain way, women won’t find them attractive; if women don’t wear a certain brand of make up, men won’t find them attractive; if you don’t use a certain type of tooth paste, you won’t have nice teeth; if you don’t wear designer glasses, people will think you’re a social misfit. The culture of fear is all around us, and its what drives us to consume.

Politically, these people are saying that UKIP’s desire to leave the EU is spreading fear about the future: I say this isn’t true. While it is certain that we do conduct a large amount of business and trade within the EU, that is largely because we are restricted by EU laws preventing us from trading elsewhere without going through the EU first. A withdrawal from this arrangement could see us trade more freely with emerging economies in India, China, Japan and the rest of Asia, as well as with the Commonwealth and the United States. Any trade conducted with the EU would still be there – after all, if the market for our goods and services is as large as we’ve been told, it won’t simply disappear by magic overnight.

A withdrawal from the EU will free us up to trade as we want with who we want, and remove reams of red tape from those companies that don’t trade within the EU but still have to meet their exacting regulations and standards. This will allow those business to grow and develop, getting larger and moving to new markets and increasing productivity, wealth and employment. Leaving the EU does not mean mass job losses, it means mass job creation!

Far from being the party of fear, UKIP is the party of optimism: the other parties are the parties of fear – they want you to be afraid of the change that UKIP stands for because they want you to help them maintain the status quo and their own control over the machinery of government.

In conclusion, if you want a proper, meaningful choice in how this country is governed and the direction it should go in, vote for UKIP. Because they are the only party with the will and the means to give you that choice.

ukip

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