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UKIP & Lib-Dems level-pegging on 11%
Date 10/04/2012 13:43  Author webmaster  Hits 1860  Language Global
By Roger Helmer MEP

A Survation Poll for the Daily Mail (April 8) shows UKIP and the Lib-Dems tied for third place at 11%.  UKIP in double figures and third equal.  OK, so one opinion poll doesn’t prove a lot by itself, just as two swallows don’t make a summer.  But this follows a period when UKIP has been heading up steadily (and attracting large crowds to public meetings).  And of course the Lib-Dems have been edging down fairly conspicuously.


It’s worth mentioning that while Survation treats UKIP fairly, a number of other polling organisations simply don’t break out the UKIP result — so their “Others” figures get so high as to make the whole exercise suspect.  Others apply tighter “likelihood to vote” criteria for UKIP than for other parties.  This could be because of pressure from large media clients who don’t want to see UKIP featuring in the results.
 
What I’m seeing more and more as a new UKIP MEP is that whatever seems to make sense to the man in the street, or the woman in the pub, also turns out to be UKIP policy.
 
Take Europe.  Most people want trade and cooperation with Europe.  Far from the Polly Toynbee caricature of eurosceptics as Little Englanders, we are the global traders — and we don’t want to be Little Europeans.
 
But most people also want to live in an independent, self-governing, democratic country.  They are angry about our inability, under the ECHR, to expel the most egregious criminals and terrorists.  They think it’s sheer madness — and they’re right.  If they work in the NHS, or the haulage or hospitality industries, they’re angry about the impact of EU employment policies.  If they work in the City, they’re angry that we’ve handed financial regulation to Brussels.
 
If they know about the cost of EU membership, they’re angry about that too.  UKIP loves to talk about £50 million a day, but that’s just our EU budget contributions.  Add in the vast costs of EU regulation, and it’s more like £250 million a day.  So UKIP’s policy of leaving the EU but maintaining trade links makes a lot of sense.
 
Or take energy.  Of course people are angry about the impact of wind turbines on local communities, blighting homes and villages and lives.  But more and more also understand that the renewables policies imposed from Brussels are driving up energy costs and making our industries uncompetitive.  We are forcing businesses and jobs and investment offshore (often to jurisdictions with lower emissions standards).  China and India are building cheap coal-fired power stations; America is looking forward to an industrial renaissance based on cheap indigenous gas.  But we in Europe are saddling ourselves with hopelessly uneconomic renewables which will rapidly become obsolete.
 
Workers from the Kingsnorth power station in Kent, who recently lost their jobs, are angry about the EU’s Large Combustion Plant Directive, which caused their plant to close, and which will close several more in the next couple of years.  (See how other issues like energy are also driven by our EU membership).
 
And we are forcing up domestic energy prices, driving millions more households, and especially pensioners, into fuel poverty.  UKIP would press ahead with nuclear and gas, which ironically could deliver the EU’s emissions targets (if you care about such things) more quickly and cheaply than the current plan, and without a single wind turbine.  We’d prioritise shale gas exploration.  We’d also keep the coal-fired power stations open to the end of their working lives — by which the whole climate change/CO2 panic will be over.
 
People can’t understand why we increase foreign aid while we cut services at home.  They can’t see why we need to give money to countries that have their own aid programmes, and space programmes, and nuclear programmes.  UKIP would limit spending on aid and focus in on immediate help for natural disasters.
 
People are worried about our welfare spending.  They recognise (as Simon Heffer put it) that we have an underclass because we have decided to pay for one.  They believe that work should always be more rewarding than idleness.  So does UKIP.
 
And they worry about immigration.  UKIP is not opposed in principle to immigration — the economy needs some immigrants — but the numbers must be manageable in our small island.  And we absolutely insist that no immigrant should go straight from the boat to the hospital or benefit office.  Social benefits should be available to legal immigrants only after they have demonstrated that they can work to support themselves, and to pay their taxes.  Again, a common sense policy which most UK citizens would support.  And immigrants are welcome only if they are prepared to respect the values of the host country.  Too many are not.
 
I could go on, but you get the point.
 
Increasingly, the terms “right” and “left” seem to be losing meaning and relevance (although in economic terms I make no apology for taking a classical-liberal view).  UKIP simply gives voice to the common-place, common-sense views of decent British people.  We attract former Conservatives, but also former Labour members.  We believe in freedom, independence and democracy.  In enterprise and free markets.  In low taxes and limited government.  In family and nation.  And I stress (for Polly Toynbee’s benefit) that when I say “nation”, I mean it not in the sense of “Blood and Soil”, but in terms of a proper pride in our identity, our history, our values, our achievements.  Or as Churchill put it, “Our Island Story”

Roger Helmer's Blog
www.ukip.org
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