Thursday, January 02, 2014

I Don't Understand #2-UKIP

Over the festive period I had conversations with a couple of Eurosceptics, people who I regard as intelligent and pleasant people. Both tried to convince me that voting UKIP in this year's European Union elections will help extricate us from the costly charade that is the EU. They claim that UKIP 'winning' the EU elections will definitely help extricate us from the EU. But I still don't understand how.

It seems quite simple to me. The European elections will elect MEPs. There are around 750 MEPs in total. The UK elects 73 MEPs. To 'win' the election UKIP would have to get 326  MEPs elected. Even then the European Parliament doesn't have the power to expel or allow a member state to leave.

Even if all 73 UK MEPs elected were UKIP they would still not have the power to extricate us. It is only our national parliament that can effect our withdrawal.

UKIP MEPs have some of the poorest attendance and voting records in the European Parliament, largely down to their belief that they are not there to make the EU work better, but to campaign in the UK for withdrawal. I know, because I used to work for a UKIP MEP. But, apart from Farage popping up on Question Time now and then, when did you last receive any information from your UKIP MEP? Indeed, when, apart from at election time, did you last receive any communication from UKIP? Apart from withdrawing from the EU can you, without using Google, name a single UKIP policy?

I was a member of the Anti-Federalist League in the '90s, but didn't keep up my membership when it morphed into UKIP. Although they then had a policy of not fighting EU elections I wasn't convinced that a single issue party could achieve independence for Britain. After a rethink I joined UKIP in 2000, not resigning until after the NEC elections early in 2009. I am more convinced than ever that the party is a lost cause.

If you like statistics this website has all the results from the last EU elections in 2009. Interesting UKIP only increased their vote by 0.3% on their 2004 results. The Tories meanwhile improved on their 2004 result by 1%. In terms of votes UKIP got 2,500,000 Tories 4,200,000. With Labour 6.4% down on 2,400,000 it's hard to see UKIP outperforming both this year. Indeed, I would put money on Labour beating UKIP this time around. Even the Lib Dems, the most pro-EU of the mainstream, could rally and pull back their losses in 2009, their by-election results don't support the theory that their involvement in the coalition will see them wiped out.

What's the point of electing people to a parliament that they believe to be powerless, that they then don't engage in and that they ultimately want to withdraw from? And all that for a salary of £70,000pa plus very generous allowances. Nigel Farage, before becoming a highly paid MEP in 1999, played a key role in changing UKIP's policy of not standing in European elections.

How will voting UKIP send a message to the EU? If voting against the EU's wishes in national referenda are ignored (Ireland, France, Denmark, Holland) how will a few more Godfrey Blooms make a difference?

I don't understand.


Anonymous said...

There are two big reasons to vote UKIP at the Euro elections. Firstly, as you say UKIP are standing for 73 UK seats but their are other Eurosceptic parties standing across Europe also likely to get a strong vote. Flood the EU chambers with Eurosceptics.
The other reason for voting UKIP is simple. The EU is working on its plans to form the United States of Europe between 2016 and 2020. If you want to remain British you have to use every opportunity to vote to support the only party against this plan.

Gregg said...

So there we have it, yet another sheep bahing the UKIP line. So go on, how would what you suggest make a jot of difference? If you can't put forward a logical defence of your position please don't comment.

Stuart said...

What really annoys me about the Euro elections is that you're forced to vote for a party list instead of an individual candidate. Just as an example, I'd like to vote for Dan Hannan (in the Euro or any other parliament) but to support him I'd have to vote for a list that was most comprised of standard issue Tory drones.

Daz Pearce said...

You're quite right - and I'll credit you with waking me up regarding the great UKIP swindle to a large extent.

Euro elections are an opportunity to stick the V's up at the political class and the EU without taking the risk of having someone even worse than what we already have as your MP or local councillor.

It's a bit of a free hit, but enables either legitimate opposition to be bought off and turned native, or a phoney/controlled opposition to emerge, depending on your perspective.

When I look back at their past, with the benefit of what I've read on here in the last two years or so, the biggest clue as to their sincerity or otherwise comes from the Kilroy days, easily the most interesting chapter in their history.

For all his faults (and there were many) RKS was deadly serious. His mission - DESTROY THE TORIES.

Immediately after announcing this at the UKIP Conference (logical enough in a two and a half party system as there needs to be a vacancy) all of UKIP's financial backers withdrew their cash.

Now that's quite revealing...

Anonymous said...

It's quite simple really. Voting UKIP sends a powerful message to the other parties and denies them a vote.

Voting for the Tories or Labour simply reinforces their pro european views.

Gregg said...

You really are thick Anonymous. No wonder Farage is laughing all the way to the bank with dumbos like you around. Is that really the best you can come up with? Hardly Einstein are you? Sends a message? So does writing to your MP.

Gregg said...

You're right Daz. Every time UKIP take a step forward there is a cock up. Bloom isn't thick but look how he wrecked their conference. They've just corralled thousands of people into a cul-de-sac, thousands who could have made a difference in the Tory Party. But people are like sheep, as we know.

Daz Pearce said...

I'll respectfully disagree with you about the Tories - they're a pro-EU party who have done more than anyone else to take us further into the political project.

Gregg said...

It's a fact Daz that the overwhelming majority who have wasted their time on UKIP would have been in the Tory Party and could have had real influence. As you know I'm no lover of the Tory Party so have no axe to grind.

No Anonymous I'm not a Tory. Just showing your ignorance yet again, thanks for proving my point about you.

Edward Spalton said...

I "saw the light" rather before you - in 2000 and left UKIP after giving it my all for six years.
Nonetheless I will vote UKIP this time. Apart from abstention, there is no other way to register my view of the EU.
As other correspondents have pointed out, you only get a choice of party list. In the East Midlands, the Conservative MEP Roger Helmer was one of the most effective critics of the EU. But if you voted Conservative, you got the others on the list too - most of whom were obedient lobby fodder. Roger, of course, is now in UKIP. I stood against him for UKIP in 1999 and our views were pretty well identical except that he would not/was not allowed to say "out"

Incidentally, until 1999 it was UKIP policy that candidates should stand for EU elections but not take their seats. Mea culpa! I was one of those who voted for the change to the present policy on the basis that we could not expect people to vote for us if we would not work for them. In fact, there is very little that MEPs can do for constituents. The whole set up is designed to make them well paid ambassadors FOR the EU TO their constituents and obedient cogs in the legislation factory. Taking seats off the Lib/Lab/Con will raise the temperature and frighten them not a little. On balance it will do far more good than harm. It is a disappointment that UKIP has not made better use of its15 years representation in the EU parliament to do deeper research and develop more thought out policies. But we are where we are.