UKIP bashers have seized on Nigel Farage’s words at the UKIP conference this week and have decided that he’s no longer a eurosceptic.
What he actually said makes perfect sense:
I think we have got to change some of the things that we have been saying and some of the things that we have been doing.
Because I think too often it’s been easy to characterise UKIP as people who just knock and knock and knock and knock – we say this is wrong, we say that’s wrong.
We have not been offering good positive alternatives and what I want us to do is to paint a vision of a 21st Century relationship between Britain and our European neighbours.
To attract more mainstream voters, UKIP needs to offer an alternative to the eurofederalist Liebour, Lib Dum and Conswervative Parties. Not just an alternative party to vote for but an alternative to eurofederalism.
The vast majority of voters are opposed to our continued membership of Federal Europe but they continue to vote for the big three, all of which support a federal union in Europe. Why? A lot of it can be put down to the way people vote for a particular party without even knowing what their policies are simply because they’ve always voted for the same party, their parents voted for the same party and/or because they don’t like Liebour/Conswervatives (whichever is the opposition). But some of it has to be put down to the kind of people who say “yes, I agree we need to be out of the EU but …”
We can’t ignore Europe, it’s the continent we’re part of and we do a lot of trade with the rest of Europe. This does not mean we have to be ruled by an unelected foreign quango but it does mean that we have to be realistic about how far we can distance ourselves from Federal Europe. UKIP can’t just say “we want out of Europe”, they need to be able to tell people what kind of relationship we’re going to have with Federal Europe when we get out. Will we aim to cut as many ties as we can with Federal Europe and concentrate on trading with the Commonwealth and the US? Will we aim to do more trade with Federal Europe? Will we have a customs union?
Instead of saying no to ever closer union, no to the euro, no to the European arrest warrant, no to an EU Olympic team, no to an EU armed militia; UKIP needs to offer an alternative. We don’t need ever closer union because our society, constitution and values are incompatible with those of our neighbours. We don’t need the euro because our economy is different to the rest of Federal Europe and we have already seen how damaging it is to the eurozone economies. We don’t need a European arrest warrant because the continental legal system is inferior to and incompatible with our own legal system and we can sign extradition treaties with those neighbours who we trust to treat our citizens fairly. We don’t need an EU Olympic team because only countries compete in the Olympics and Federal Europe isn’t a country. We don’t need an EU armed militia because we can police ourselves with our own civillian police force.
Farage is on the right track. UKIP does have that air of negativity about it because, let’s face it, the central theme of UKIP policy is negative – opposition to the idea of being part of a Federal Europe. If voters perceive UKIP as negative then their opinion of UKIP will be negative as well and that will be reflected in the ballot box.
DK said much the same thing …
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