As Ed Miliband turns his back on an in/out referendum people with a long tradition of voting Labour, who would never dream of voting Conservative, are suddenly finding themselves unrepresented, writes UKIP Leader Nigel Farage on the Daily Mail.
•While all the headlines may have been about David Cameron’s long-awaited promise for an in/out vote on EU membership, perhaps the most staggering part of Wednesday was the Labour Party’s reaction.
Mr Cameron wants to renegotiate our relationship with Europe, followed by an opportunity to vote ‘out’ if he is elected after 2015. Here was an open goal for the Labour Party to demand that referendum now. They could have called his bluff. Ed Miliband could have pressed the Prime Minister to give voters a say on Europe without ifs and buts. Yet they didn’t.
As a party, we not only see this as a political failure on Labour’s part, but a betrayal of their core voters.
The Leader of the Opposition – nine per cent ahead before the latest Mail on Sunday poll – failed to challenge the Prime Minister. Instead he ran scared.
People with a long tradition of voting Labour, who would never dream of voting Conservative, are suddenly finding themselves unrepresented. For it is they who will bear the burden of the immediate impact that being part of the EU will have on Britain. Labour’s claim to represent ordinary people fell to pieces when we realised that Ed Miliband had no such intention.
Open-door immigration from Romania and Bulgaria after December 31 will affect ordinary working families more than anybody else. Unemployment levels will be greatly exacerbated by the influx of migrants.
There is also the looming pressure on services that hard-pressed taxpayers must afford. You just have to look at UKIP’s performance in by-elections in Rotherham and Barnsley to realise these are people whose voices are not being heard.
Euroscepticism is not the preserve of Tory Party voters. Historically, it was the Labour Party that was most opposed to EU membership. Indeed, in the Seventies, Labour was submerged in a civil war on the ‘European Question’, leading to the breakaway movement of the SDP. I predict, after Miliband’s abject performance, that it is the Labour Party that will once again become severely divided on this question.
In this respect, Ed Miliband has exposed an open flank. And as a party we are proud to stand up for everyone. Not just disenfranchised Tory voters with a tradition of Euroscepticism, but everybody out there who will feel the effects over the coming years of an open-door policy to migrants when the country is struggling to get back on to the straight and narrow after years of a wasteful and careless Labour rule.
Perhaps it will please the Conservatives to hear that we are also targeting the Labour vote. For what we represent is the voice of not just disgruntled, disenchanted Conservatives but everyone in Britain affected by the loss of sovereignty and power that comes with being a member of the EU.
We’re pouring money into bailing out Eurozone countries and paying a £50 million a day membership fee imposed on us by Brussels, when we are struggling to get our own house in order.
We need to sort out the bread and butter of UK politics. Other parties are blinded by what they perceive to be the potential effect on certain big businesses, despite us knowing that we can stand proud and be more prosperous as an independent, free-trading nation.
It is for this reason that in many respects we are going for Labour ’s jugular. We want people in the big, Labour-controlled cities to know that we represent them and will not shy away from supporting them, even if Ed Miliband will not.
We plan to place large advertising billboards in these cities in this spring’s council elections campaign to let them know we are not just an alternative for disillusioned Tory Eurosceptics. We are a party for the people – all the people. That means everyone who finds that Westminster does not represent them or seem to understand their needs. We believe we do.
It is completely unfair that people from outside the UK can enter our country and claim benefits from the offset, subsidised by taxpayers who are struggling to make ends meet – a population that is seeing their services cut, while having to stand by and watch people from other countries come in and enjoy the privileges British people pay for.
One of the reasons UKIP has gone up in the polls is simply because people no longer trust career politicians. Parties on both sides continue to pander to big business, rather than listen to the small and medium-sized companies that are the backbone of our economy.
UKIP not only campaigns on EU member-ship, but on immigration, climate change, reinstating grammar schools to give hope to those let down by the theories of educationalists. These issues have long been abandoned in mainstream politics, but matter to the British people.
Whether David Cameron will deliver on his proposal for an eventual EU in/out referendum is yet to be seen. But he has brought the debate on Europe into the spotlight.
Leaving the EU is no longer the politics that dare not speak its name.
Yet this is what makes Ed Miliband’s reaction all the more extraordinary. That he has turned his back on the idea of ordinary people having their say, and refuses to address the vast potential problem of Romanian and Bulgarian entry into the UK, is astonishing. This is a party that purports to represent ordinary, working families and is now no more than an intellectual metropolitan clique.
We will, in the county council elections in May this year and through a national advertising campaign in our major urban centres, target traditional Labour voters in a way UKIP has never done before.
UKIP is now a serious player in British politics and we are not going to go away. In any referendum campaign we will be the only party advocating that Britain should leave the political union with the EU. Until now we have been perceived as a threat only to the Tory Party. All that will change. dailymail.co.uk