Archiv für die Kategorie „What to do about UKIP?“

UKIP/Tory Rhetoric on EU Immigration

Donnerstag, 30. Oktober 2014

Will Hutton in The Observer, Sunday 26th October 2014, writes that “Ukip/Tory rhetoric on EU immigration strikes at the very values that make us quintessentially European“.

“The Ukip/Tory story that Britain?s greatness was built on independence from Europe is a fairytale. We are as much part of our continent?s history and evolution, and share its values, as any other European country. Arguably, we are the quintessential Europeans.”

“It is hardly ever said, but the EU, for all its frailties and imperfections, is an important and noble endeavour. It stands for the best of our civilisation and its Enlightenment values, even with its commitment to the free movement of peoples. It now needs friends. Time to stand by it.”

Surely appearing to mirror the rhetoric of UKIP is not the way to attract those key swing voters in the middle political ground who decide general elections? The UKIP talk of emulating countries outside the EU such as Switzerland and Norway does not stand up to scrutiny on immigration. Both as part of their trade agreements with the EU must allow freedom of movement and both have proportionally higher rates of immigration than the UK.

Conservative Party should beware UKIP Bigotry

Montag, 27. Oktober 2014

Read this thought-provoking article for the Conservative Party by Adam Bienkov writing in politics.co.uk:

“History has shown that the Tories can only win a majority by appealing to a broad range of voters across the country. This is how they have won majorities in the past and they abandon that aim at their peril.”

http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2014/10/27/the-bigotry-of-ukip-is-swamping-the-conservative-party

Thank you Mr Carswell – by Robin Baker

Freitag, 19. September 2014

Thank you Mr Carswell (the former Conservative MP for Clacton and now UKIP candidate) for leaving the Conservative Party. We are better off without you. To see why, let us look firstly at the blog you have published as a new member of UKIP:

?We need change in our relationship with Europe.
When we joined what was to become the European Union all those years ago, we imagined we would be joining a prosperous trading block. In the early 1970s, it accounted for almost 40 percent of world economic output.
Today it accounts for a mere 25 percent. In a decade, it?s expected to be down to 15 percent.?

Yes, and a very good thing this fall in the EU?s share of world economic output is too. The EU has 7.3% of the world?s population, does Mr Carswell really think that our share of the world?s wealth should be more than three and a half times our share of the population? This change results from the strength of economic growth in the emerging economies and that is to everybody?s benefit: firstly because economic disparity between the poor and the rich is dangerous for world stability, secondly because we should be glad to see the world?s poor becoming less so, and thirdly for the selfish reason that the richer they are, the more they will be able to trade with us and so increase our prosperity as well.

Mr Carswell should be aware of one simple illustration of how the world has changed. When we joined the then EEC in 1973, the price of oil was some $2 – 3 per barrel. Today it hovers around the $100/barrel mark. Does he think that this should not have changed the balance of economic wealth?

He then followed this blog with an article in the International New York Times, which repeated that inanity from the blog and added:

?Instead of using primaries to select candidates for parliamentary seats, party hierarchies parachute in those whom they favour.?

The only reason I can think of for Mr Carswell to use a foreign newspaper to write such rubbish about his own country, is because most of its readers will not recognise that his remarks are simply untrue. The decision on the selection of Conservative parliamentary candidates was previously always made by a general meeting open to all members of the local party. True, Party headquarters has, on occasions, tried to parachute in a preferred candidate from outside, but these attempts have generally failed, indeed for a candidate to be known to have HQ support has been the kiss of death. But the Party is now more and more moving away from the ?local Party members? system to taking these decisions by ?open primaries?, i.e. a primary in which any elector in that constituency may vote whether or not they are Party members. Two Conservative MPs elected in 2010 had been selected in that way and a number of candidates have already been chosen by that system for the election in 2015.

The Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election caused by Mr Carswell has been chosen by such an open primary, this was done on 11th September, a week before Mr Carswell?s article was published. There was, however, one candidate who was parachuted in by his party hierarchy for this by-election. The UKIP candidate for Clacton had already been selected, by local UKIP members. When Carswell defected from the Conservative Party, that candidate was unceremoniously booted out and Nigel Farage parachuted in Douglas Carswell to fight the seat.

One other lie in the New York Times article, which says: ?Most Laws made in Britain this year emanated from the European Union.? Mr Carswell may no longer be an MP, but he can still read reports by the House of Commons Library, a highly respected and independent source of information. They have studied this question and found:
?It is possible to estimate the proportion of national laws based on EU laws. In the UK, over the twelve-year period from 1997 to 2009 6.8% of primary legislation (Statutes) and 14.1% of secondary legislation (Statutory Instruments) had a role in implementing EU obligations.
It is possible to justify any measure between 15% and 50% or thereabouts. This includes olive and tobacco growing regulations which are unlikely to have much impact in Britain.?

We do not need Mr Carswell?s shallow thinking in the Conservative Party, nor do we want his lies. He is highly suitable for UKIP, where such thinking is a requirement for membership. That is why, Mr Carswell, the Conservative Party is better off without you. Thank you for leaving the Conservative Party.

Robin Baker

Nigel Farage is just Russell Brand for old people?

Mittwoch, 30. April 2014

Here’s a challenging article on UKIP leader Nigel Farage from Alex Massie writing in The Spectator blog:

“Nigel Farage is a phoney. There is a simple solution to everything that ails the United Kingdom: leave the European Union and, to all intents and purposes, close our borders. Then we shall enjoy a new Golden Age.

It is an illusion wrapped in a lie inside a fraud. No such solution presents itself. In the unlikely event Mr Farage got his way almost every problem this country faces would remain intact ? and remain as impervious to simple solution.”

“Instead of smearing themselves with tar and feathers, mainstream politicians should remind populists that they do the hard work of politics: representing constituents, reconciling competing claims and taking an interest in dry corners of legislation that affect people?s lives. Most politics is necessary drudgery. Seen from this angle, the ?elite? are the people who get their hands dirty. And populists who damn the whole spectacle from cosy sidelines are the truly decadent ones.”

Are the arguments of UKIP and the SNP that different?

Sonntag, 20. April 2014

According to David Aaronovitch writing in The Times, (Nigel) Farage of UKIP is shorthand for those in the UK, including around a third of Tories, who want separation from the EU; (Alex) Salmond of the SNP is a figurehead for those in Scotland who want separation from the UK. The writer finds it increasingly hard not to see the similarities in their arguments:

– The UK (Scotland) has been diminished by its association with, or absorption into, a larger grouping represented by “Brussels” (“Westminster”) that rule and rule badly.

– The people of the UK (Scotland) did not vote for Jose Manuel Barroso (David Cameron).

– UKIP praises Switzerland as a model non-EU country while the SNP/Scottish manifesto mentioned Norway 57 times and that “small, independent nations of comparable size to Scotland are the world’s happiest.”

– Both camps share a common language of complacent and ill-founded reassurance: It will be alright. They’re just bluffing. Britain (Scotland) is too important to the EU (UK) for them not to allow us to separate on our terms.

Reference: Farage and Salmond want you to live in Outopia, David Aaronovitch, The Times, Thursday April 17, 2014

Does Nigel Farage want to join the Conservatives?

Dienstag, 31. Dezember 2013

Here’s an interesting article on the UK Independence party (UKIP) from The Telegraph of 31st December, 2013:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10542611/Does-Nigel-Farage-want-to-join-the-Conservatives.html

Cameron’s Negotiation With EU (for comment)

Freitag, 29. November 2013

It has been suggested that I write about the concessions Cameron should attempt to wrest from the European Union, as a preliminary to the holding of a referendum on EU membership.

This is a very difficult challenge. Cameron has up till now been very circumspect in revealing his intentions in this respect because, it is said, they are going to be regarded as too minimalist to satisfy his backbenchers and too minimalist to counter the threat from the UKIP in the 2015 elections. These considerations may result in his waiting till after the election to reveal his hand.

What are the areas in which he is most likely to make his demands?

1) A limitation of the strictures regarding Human Rights? The Government has probably already achieved all it can expect in this area.

2) Protection against measures limiting the freedom of the City’s financial market, on which Paris and Frankfurt cast envious eyes, by, for instance, requiring a universal vote so that Britain would have a veto to exercise.

3) Greater freedom to institute measures limiting immigration. This is probably the issue of greatest concern to the electorate and the one to which other countries would be most responsive. His first step is to make welfare measures unavailable to people immigrating with too inadequate financial prospects, aimed chiefly at Rumanians and Bulgarians.

4) Surely, restrictions of the powers of the Brussels administration to impose bureaucratic regulations in the spheres of labour laws, food standards etc. which are probably the major cause of public dissatisfaction with membership of the EU.

5) The expansion of the EU mandate to cover free exchange of services, not just goods.

Cameron is probably caught in a real dilemma. There is little sympathy with Britain’s cause among other members of the EU. Merkel has expressed some feeling of common cause and the Netherlands have evinced some desire to limit Brussels powers but they only want to limit further extension of the powers, not to carry out major revisions.

There is little sympathy among Britain?s EU partners for its demands for yet more exceptionalist treatment. And why would they want to satisfy Britain’s demands for it, knowing that she may subsequently choose to leave the Union anyway?

There is one possible area for hope. There is a desire among countries led by France to carry out greater consolidation of the Union, probably necessitating a revision of the Treaty. This would require a universal vote, which would greatly strengthen Britain’s bargaining position.

One last thought. Surely the one most vital consideration is that of trade, remembering that 50% of our trade is with Europe. It is significant that virtually all of our captains of industry are opposed to our leaving the EU. Some people claim it would be ?a gift to the French? as it would discourage foreign investment in Britain by US and Asian investors, if Britain lost assured access to the European markets.

Michael Webster

Referendums

Donnerstag, 27. Juni 2013

British Conservatives in Paris members and friends debated the following motion on 25th June, 2013. A brief summary is given of the main points made by the speakers for and against the motion.

Motion:
The referendum as an instrument of government is incompatible with parliamentary democracy.

For: Robin Baker (Proposer)
The debate in the UK for a referendum on EU membership ignores the associated impact on British democracy. Sovereignty of Parliament is the key constitutional issue here. A referendum should not be an instrument for key decisions on major issues as this is the role of Parliament for which such a mechanism already exists. Referendums are no way of measuring public opinion and indeed have been referred to as the device of dictators, whereas legislation passed by Parliament can be more easily reversed.

Against: Alex Carroll (Proposer)
Parliament represents the opinion of the people voting for MPs only on the day (last time they did not vote for a Coalition). People deserve a direct say from time to time and particularly on EU membership with many MPs for and against in all the major parties (even Europhile Labour). Sometimes trust the people to decide, most of these having some education. A referendum can, therefore, be a rarely used, instrument to demonstrate the will of the people (including the silent majority). Remember, there are no rules binding MPs to accept a referendum decision taken.

For: Michael Webster (Seconder)
The referendum is the tyranny of democracy. An EU referendum with its potential negative impact on Britain?s EU trade and seat on the UN Security Council (with France/UK representing the EU) is difficult for the average voter to understand. The public can be fickle and quickly influenced by events, with referendum decisions sometimes difficult to undo e.g. as California finds with its tax laws.

Against: Dominique de Biasi (Seconder)
France?s presidential democracy refused a referendum on « mariage pour tous » even though the people were demonstrating in the streets. The people should be allowed their democratic say through a referendum on such an emotional and divisive issue which also impacts personal religious convictions.

Result
Following some lively interventions from the floor both for and against, the motion was defeated with 8 votes for and 12 votes against.

Join the debate
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The Younger Generation of Voters – by Michael Webster

Samstag, 8. Juni 2013

An interesting addendum to the article in The Economist, from which I quoted in a recent submission on the need to rejuvenate our Party (PM Cameron?s relations with the old Tories), appears in this week’s (June 1st/7th) Economist: The strange rebirth of liberal England. It discusses the rising liberal attitudes of the 19-to-34 year old generation in Britain.

They hold more tolerant views on gay marriage and immigration than their elders and are more opposed to governmental interference in their lives. They do not share the same degree of pride in the creation of the welfare state as the “baby boomer? generation and are much more inclined to believe that it leads to a demotivation to work.

The young tend to be ahead in adopting the trends of the future and are, of course, the voters of the future. But they tend not to be heard in a political world where the average age of an MP is 50 and in the House of Lords the average member is 69.

Michael Webster

Merkel “to lobby for UK membership” of EU.

Freitag, 17. Mai 2013

David Cameron is facing renewed pressure over Europe after Angela Merkel has said she would lobby for “our British friends” to remain in the EU.

The head of the CBI John Cridland has also warned that the “inward-looking” tussle over Europe looks like a “diversion” from promoting growth and competitiveness.

Voters also appear unimpressed, with a poll showing 64% think Mr Cameron is motivated more by tactics than principle when it comes to Europe.

But leading eurosceptic Peter Bone is pleased with the new focus, telling The House magazine it has put Parliament at “the centre of the political debate”.

Following the strong showing of UKIP with some 25% of the vote in the recent local council elections, this could just be viewed as the eurosceptic wing naturally pressuring Conservative party strategists to now try and “Out-UKIP UKIP”. However, this can lead the party into the dangerous and emotive waters of Immigration, not necessarily a vote winner in swing seats at a general election and when the Economy, Employment and Healthcare are considered much more important issues.

Mr Cameron also has to respond to the perception of voters that he is motivated more by tactics than principle when it comes to EU membership. Noting that Mrs Thatcher in her prime was not necessarily liked but respected for her conviction in getting things done, the prime minister now has the opportunity to show more conviction & leadership on Europe given the powerful and influential helping hand that Chancellor Merkel has extended to him.

As open trading nations, there is a natural alignment of interests between Britain and Germany in taking maximum benefit from “deepening” the current single market in Europe and removing structural obstacles to competitiveness and growth. The opportunity is there for the Uk to benefit from a strong partnership with Germany, given the current imbalance in economic power and influence within the traditional Franco-German axis.