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We had an amazing array of speakers: women and men; young and old; former Tories and former Labour Party members, writes UKIP MEP Roger Helmer

« VIDEO, Roger Helmer speaking at the conference

In my political career I must have been to twenty or so political conferences, Conservative, and in recent years UKIP.  After so many, it’s easy to get a bit cynical.  But any cynicism was blown away by our 2014 Doncaster Conference which closed on Saturday.

I have simply never seen such a level of enthusiasm, involvement, commitment.  Mostly at conferences I’ve got into the habit of avoiding the predictable and formulaic speeches in the main auditorium, and instead focusing on the trade stands and the fringe meetings, and simply networking.  At the last few Tory Conferences I went to before I joined UKIP, I focused almost entirely on The Freedom Zone (run by TFA and Simon Richards) where real people had real debates — in contrast to the official programme.

In Doncaster, I found I wanted to be in the main auditorium (and was acutely disappointed when I found I had to miss Diane James’ presentation on Justice & Home Affairs to go and chair a Countryside Alliance fringe).
We've got Labour in our sights, and we'll take the fight to their northern heartland

By UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

I’m on my way to Doncaster for the Ukip conference, which starts Friday and carries on over the weekend and is being held in Ed Miliband's constituency. This is no coincidence. Just as we did when the Tories completely let down their supporters over the EU and over grammar schools, we are parking our tanks on a rival party’s lawn.

For too much of our history, the Westminster commentariat has always assumed that anyone who supports Ukip is an ex-Tory who believes that the death penalty needs to be brought back and the world would be a better place if the young all did national service.

This is not the case. Ever since the Barnsley by-election three years ago, Ukip has been making inroads into seats in the north of England, and has, I think, become the second party of the north after Labour. And it's clear that Labour are rattled for their recent tactic has been to print leaflets packed full of misinformation saying that we would privatise the NHS when they know this is not true. But they can't compete with our clear policies and unequivocal messages directly. They won't even answer questions on the subject of an EU referendum directly from journalists!


Press Release
Instead of helping to topple a legitimately elected president and starting a civil war in the Ukraine, the EU should instead find common cause with Russia in the battle with Islamic extremism.

Speaking in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, today, in a debate on EU-Russia releations, and just before a vote on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said:

"Perhaps we ought to recognise that the West now faces the biggest threat and crisis to our way of life that we have seen for over 70 years.

"In the war against Islamic extremism, Vladimir Putin, whatever we may think of him as a human being, is actually on our side."

Slamming the actions of the EU, Mr Farage added : "We directly encouraged the uprising in the Ukraine that led to the toppling of the president, Yanukovych, and that led of course in turn to Vladimir Putin reacting. And the moral of the story is if you poke the Russian bear with a stick, don't be surprised when he reacts."
"The terms of reference given to the new Home affairs Commissioner show once again that Mr Juncker remains on Planet EU and will have no truck with any change to a system that is generating widespread social concern and action across Europe" - Diane James, UKIP MEP, South East Region.

Pictured: President-elect of the Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker (left) with the designated Home Affairs Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos

The UK needs to wake up that renegotiation of the Freedom of movement of EU citizens has been firmly kicked into the long grass with the appointmemt of Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos (Greece).
Concerns at migration movements and immigration levels into and across Europe are at an all-time high. The Freedom of Movement principle is one tenent under probably the most scrutiny by politicians sensitive to voter sentiment as expressed in the recent European elections when record numbers of Eurosceptic MEPs were elected.
Anti-English sentiments are fuelling Alex Salmond's campaign but they could land Scotland with much worse masters in Brussels

By Ukip Leader Nigel Farage, MEP

In a week’s time, Scotland will not hold a referendum about becoming independent. Everybody is describing it as such. But what is being voted on – and only by those who actually live in Scotland – is separation from England. Understand that and much that is otherwise inexplicable falls into place.

The SNP is the voice of anti-Englishness. Like Edward II, another English ruler, arrogant in certain victory, Mr Cameron has walked straight into a long-planned ambush. The year, carefully chosen by Mr Salmond, celebrates the one unequivocal Scottish victory in the long antagonism between the two nations, at Bannockburn in 1314.

To make matters worse, the PM himself precluded “devo max”. The Scots have no way of keeping a UK link while extending the powers of the Scottish Parliament. I believe this option would have won the day but thanks to Mr Cameron, it is not on offer. The choice on the ballot plays into Salmond’s hands: vote to stay subject to the English toffs at Westminster who stole their country under the threat of bankruptcy 300 years ago – the Act of Union – or vote to throw off the hated English yoke.
If the Scots vote Yes on Thursday (and we in UKIP hope they don’t), I predict a new referendum, and a resounding NO, within a couple of years, writes UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.

So says David Cameron.  But as in so many things, he could well be wrong.  Most economic commentators expect a very negative reaction to a Yes vote, if that’s what happens on  September 18th.  This could happen quickly: indeed it is clearly happening already.  Funds are moving out of Scotland; investment and house purchases are stalling; mortgagees are worrying about the future status and currency of their debt.
And of course, pace David Cameron, nothing is forever.  The original and hugely successful union of Scotland and England has lasted 300+ years, and that’s a good long time.  But if the Scots vote Yes, it won’t have been “forever”.  And in this modern, internet age, things happen so much more quickly.
The European Union has set a key precedent here which Alex Salmond would do well to keep in mind.  On June 2nd 1992, the Danes voted No to the Maastricht Treaty.  But on May 18th 1993, they voted again, and reversed the decision.  The first decision lasted less than a year – just 350 days, if my arithmetic is right.
If Ukip wins a Westminster seat next month, Nigel Farage cannot be excluded from TV debates at the General Election, writes UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott.

Barring any massive shift in public opinion, Ukip will gain its first elected MP in just a few weeks time on 9 October. Parliamentary by-elections may normally be of interest only to political anoraks, but this one could have a profound and lasting impact on the UK.

Douglas Carswell did the honourable thing by 'resigning' his seat and forcing a by-election (MPs can't legally resign of course, so the arcane method of forcing a by-election is for him to become the Steward of the Manor of Northstead which disqualifies him temporarily from being an MP). He was elected as a Conservative, so when he changed parties to Ukip it's commendable and utterly democratic that he chose to ask the electorate whether they still want him as a Ukip MP.

Ukip members are still in shock from the two opinion polls conducted in Clacton. They show Ukip on an astronomical 56% and 64% of the vote (the 56% poll being conducted by the Conservative Lord Ashcroft). Carswell is certainly opposed to British membership of the European Union, but I think his decision to join Ukip is about more than that.

David Cameron is as out of his depth on international matters as he is on domestic ones, writes UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP in the Daily Express

The problem with using conveniently-timed foreign crises to distract from domestic difficulties is that they depend on favourable subsequent developments in order to endorse the claim of being the saviour of the hour, rather than the failure.

David Cameron boldly told assembled MPs during the first PMQs of the new term that he would strive to remove the passports of militants from Britons fighting in Syria and Iraq, but could not explain how he would traverse the legal implications that come with being a member of the EU and being under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.

Not only would the European Convention not permit rendering somebody stateless in the case of a British born national fighting in the Middle East, but in cases of dual nationality, where David Cameron is confident he would have the legal power to revoke citizenship, he could still face appeals at the European level where losing a British passport also means losing right of residence in the EU as a whole.

A vote for the Tories is a vote to stay in the EU

By Roger Helmer MEP (East Midlands)

Westminster was stunned on Friday when Douglas Carswell left the Tories to join UKIP, resigned his seat, and triggered a by-election.  And I must admit I was stunned this morning when I saw the headline in the Mail: SHOCK POLL: CAMERON FACES UKIP BY-ELECTION BLOODBATH: Farage’s 44-point lead over Tories. Forty four points.  Almost too good to be true.

It seems there’s a groundswell of support for UKIP, especially in the south-east, and in Clacton this effect is reinforced by a very strong personal following for Douglas.  He deserves that support, because in standing down and triggering a by-election, he has been both courageous and honourable.  Those Tories who have accused him of vain posturing and conceit are beneath contempt.  Many MPs in the circumstances would have said “The general election is pretty soon, so we’ll let it ride”.  Douglas did the decent thing and sought a new mandate as a UKIP MP.

The Tory reaction has been predictable, if heavily orchestrated after the Tory Whips’ phone-round.  They’re saying that only the Conservatives can deliver an EU Referendum, and that therefore Douglas by switching parties has damaged the chances of what he wants most.  This is, of course, self-serving nonsense.
Donald Tusk is a rabid EU centralist, happy to milk the British taxpayer for child benefit and an ardent enemy of press freedom in Poland – Cameron should be opposing, not  supporting him

"It is a scandal that David Cameron would back Poland’s Donald Tusk for the powerful position of President of the European Council. It shows that Cameron is so weakened by his failed attempt to stop Jean-Claude Juncker for the Commission job, that he is now happy to back anybody, even a dogmatic EU federalist such as Tusk.” - UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge (West Midlands)
UKIP Press release

Present at the environs of the European Council today in Brussels, UKIP MEP Bill Etheridge said:
“When David Cameron raised the scandal of the UK taxpayers being forced to fork out £55 million per year in child benefit to kids who live in eastern Europe, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said in January, his comments were ‘unwarranted and unacceptable’.

“Poland’s foreign minister Radoslaw Sikorski - who was, like Cameron, a member of the infamous Bullingdon Club while a student at Oxford, said  Cameron suffers from ‘a kind of incompetence in European affairs’.

"As a new member of the European Parliament, the whole process seems undemocratic to me. We’re often voting on things that haven’t even been debated, and when something is ‘debated’ there’s no time for anything more than soundbites," writes UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott (North East).

At the speed of a charging train, the votes follow one another thick and fast. “Amendment 5/1 - votes in favour, votes against, abstentions, carried. Amendment 5/2 - votes in favour, votes against, abstentions, rejected.”

Each vote takes around six seconds. I’ve not yet seen a voting session with more than a hundred votes, but seasoned colleagues tell me that they once had to vote 900 times in three days. The average is somewhere around 500.

This is how new laws are made in the European Parliament. No-one could understand the detail of all these votes, so instead they rely on voting lists prepared by teams of staff with a brief explanation of why they’re supposed to vote in a particular way.

Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP

I first spoke to Douglas Carswell about the possibility of his joining Ukip more than 18 months ago. Around that time there was considerable publicity about the number of MPs that our Treasurer Stuart Wheeler was having lunch with – the figure of nine was mentioned.

Mr Cameron’s January 2013 pledge for a referendum on the EU succeeded in stopping defections from happening. The Prime Minister did just enough to keep his people onside. But then I started speaking seriously to Douglas a few months ago. He was now looking at Ukip as being the only realistic option for bringing genuine change to this country. Yes of course we both agree that the majority of our laws should not be made in Brussels. And that uncontrolled and now rapidly increasing net migration into Britain was the current major issue.

But our political agreement ran far deeper than that. Both Douglas and Ukip agree that the current front benches are run by careerists with virtually no experience of the real world at all. They are in it for themselves and the country and the wellbeing of our people comes as a much lesser priority.

...and worry about the damage that “green” policies are doing to our economy

By Roger Helmer MEP

That old canard that “97% of scientists support Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)” is cropping up again in social media, parroted cheerfully without critical analysis, so I’ve been drawing attention to my rebuttal on the subject.  This was based on Lord Monckton’s painstaking analysis of the original study on which the 97% claim is based.  It seems that those who produced the 97% figure cheerfully assumed that any paper that failed to deny AGW outright was supporting it.  Far from 97% backing the theory, Monckton showed that less than 3% of the papers cited specifically endorsed it.

Yet the 97% claim keeps coming up, just like the “3½ million jobs at risk if we leave the EU” claim, which is equally fraudulent.

Those on the minimum wage shouldn't pay anything back to the state

"Power lies with the individual, not the state, and we should free people from burdensome regulation and controls and allow them to achieve their full potential." - UKIP Leader Nigel Farage MEP.

Party conference season is now fast approaching and the August of continued grave news will give way to major policy announcements by the political parties. This year it’s the last time the parties will be getting together in this guise before the general election campaign starts in earnest. The spring conferences will be about campaigning – very much an internal event bar a few main speeches.

But autumn, the start of the new school term, is the time for a spectacle. It’s the culmination of months of hard work by marketing and events teams, with the policy departments and press officers scurrying around trying to organise briefings and exclusives and set-piece announcements.

By Roger Helmer MEP

The UK tax code is notoriously complex.  As long ago as 2009 we had the longest tax code in the world – read the Telegraph story here -  and it’s only got worse since then.  Everyone agrees that we need tax simplification, but no one can deliver it.  And politicians are always coming up with ideas for clever new ad hoc complications.  This time it’s BoJo.
Just a few years ago we were being urged to switch from petrol cars to diesel, because diesel produces less CO2 emissions per mile than petrol.  So we could save the planet (if you believe in that kind of stuff).  Now bien pensant opinion has decided that the negative health effects of particulates in diesel exhaust (in terms of respiratory diseases) is even more serious than global warming, so the advice is turned on its head.  Please switch back from diesel to petrol.  The average punter will be saying “Make yer mind up!”.
But Boris has taken this to heart.  He wants to have heavier congestion/pollution charges in London for diesel vehicles. And he promises to lobby George Osborne for a national increase in diesel duty, to make petrol more attractive.
UKIP Press Release

UKIP's campaign against taxpayer-funded EU propaganda was bizarrely opposed by a Labour MEP - who defended the use of public money for an 'artists' cooperative' in the mountains of Northern Germany.
The stunning justification for the EU's vast 'cultural budget' - long a tool to fund pro-EU propaganda from the public purse - came after newly-elected UKIP MEP for the North West Louise Bours ridiculed how these funds are spent.
Addressing the EU's Committee on Culture and Education, whose €1.4 billion budget is responsible for outrageous past projects such as the 'House of EU History', Bours said:


New UKIP economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn MEP today branded the coalition government a total failure, after the latest official borrowing figures showed that the public sector deficit is rising sharply once again.

Borrowing in June totalled £11.4bn, some £700million more than had been forecast by economists, and a massive £3.8bn up on the same month last year.

Allowing for the impact of a one-off cash transfer from the Bank of England last year, borrowing in the first quarter of the 2014-15 financial year has come in at £36.1bn, some 7.3% higher than the same period in the previous year.

Mr O'Flynn said: "This coalition government was formed to get rid of the deficit and yet it barely got a third of the way towards that target and now it is going backwards fast.
Liz Truss [pictured] becomes Environment Secretary. She’ll have a tough job challenging entrenched climate alarmism in the media and political establishments.

By Roger Helmer MEP

Perhaps the most striking feature of David Cameron’s extensive reshuffle is that it is largely a defensive response to UKIP. We are setting the agenda. We are making the weather.

The three main themes of the reshuffle were:

Presenting a more eurosceptic facade: Philip Hammond, described as “a vociferous eurosceptic”, becomes Foreign Secretary, spun as “The most openly sceptic Foreign Secretary in decades”.  Michael Fallon goes to Defence.  He too has a eurosceptic reputation – though it’s difficult to see how he’ll bring that to bear in the defence rôle.  Priti Patel becomes Secretary to the Treasury, and is a lady of robust opinions.  On the other hand the nomination of Lord “Who’s He?” Hill as EU Commissioner raised some eyebrows – and got Jean-Claude Juncker googling to find out who he was.  He is presented as “a deal-maker”, but apparently he makes his deals very quietly.  He is expected to lead the charge on Cameron’s renegotiation agenda.  It may end up rather like the Charge of the Light Brigade.  “C’est magnifique.  Mais ce n’est pas la guerre”.
UKIP Press Release

The head of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz said on Wednesday that the "radically anti-European" views of Jonathan Hill, British premier David Cameron's nominee for the European Commission, might prevent him getting onto the EU's executive body.
Responding to this, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said this afternoon: "This is a declaration of war by Schulz on the choice of the British government.

"How dare Martin Schulz interfere in the British nomination of European Commissioner and prejudge what the decision of the MEPs will be.

"He is supposed to an independent chairman, but he has demonstrated absolutely no respect for national democracy or national government.

"And where he even gets the idea that Jonathan Hill is a Eurosceptic is completely beyond me."

"We won’t solve Europe’s problems with new initiatives, new instruments, new policies. We’ll solve Europe’s problems by unwinding the damaging policies of the past." - UKIP MEP Roger Helmer

Last night I attended a meeting in the Strasbourg parliament of the Industry Committee ITRE, which had been called for a hearing to approve a new Industry Commissioner, Mr. Ferdinando Feroci.  He will be replacing the previous Italian incumbent Antonio Tajani, who has had to step down as Commissioner, having been elected to the European parliament.  But of course a whole new Commission will be sworn in in about four months’ time, so poor Mr. Feroci gets to sit in the seat for a very limited time, in which he will be able to achieve very little, except to keep the ship on course.  The whole thing was a mere formality, and arguably a waste of time.

Mr. Feroci was previously Italy’s Ambassador to the EU, so we know which side his bread is buttered.  As a wise man once said, it’s very difficult to convince a man of something when his job and his income depend upon his not believing it.
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