UKIP: Thanks For Nothing

We’ve noted before on this blog UKIP’s increasingly toxic tendency to blame “everything on immigrants”. Previously it was Farage’s assertion that he was held up on the M4 motorway due to the fact that “open door immigration has meant that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be'”.

That he was traveling by car early evening on a Friday around a notorious bottleneck on the M4 wasn’t taken into consideration. Thus “bloody immigrants” was dog whistle politics writ large.

With this in mind it therefore comes as no surprise to see that Farage believes that immigrants are to blame for children not playing in the streets:

Britons are so ill at ease with levels of immigration in their towns that their children do not play football with their neighbours in the streets, Nigel Farage has said.

The UK Independence Party leader said people in eastern England felt a “deep level of discomfort” about the millions of immigrants who have settled in the UK in the past decade.
He said: “I want to live in a community where our kids play football in the streets of an evening and live in a society that is at ease with itself.
And I sense over the last decade or more we are not at ease”
It’s not unfair in our view to believe that Nick Griffin would have been proud of these sentiments. That children may not, or cannot, play in the streets is often down to a myriad of factors, not least its illegal, it’s unsafe and that many roads simply have too many cars – ironically Farage’s children couldn’t play outside his own house, in the street, for this reason alone.

In trying to remove ourselves from the EU however Farage’s language is toxic. With what began as a eurosceptic party, has been hijacked by a man who has turned it into a self-promotional vehicle and is prepared as a consequence to condemn the eurosceptic movement in terms which hinder significantly the argument of getting out. So much so that we are set to lose before we even start.

With such language and thus with effectively a self-imposed glass ceiling on support, no wonder the media have begun to catch up with bloggers by noticing belatedly that UKIP’s trend is on a downward trajectory.

With so-called ‘UKIP strategy’ we get a measure of the man when we see this:

“If we went to every town up eastern England and spoke to people about how they felt, their town, their city had changed in the last 15 years, there is a deep level of discomfort, because if you have immigration at these sorts of levels integration doesn’t happen.” 

Note the words “eastern England”. It’s an odd statement to make for a leader of a party named the United Kingdom Independence Party. What about Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales where immigration is not necessarily such a vote winner – immigration has an uneven effect across the country.

But within “eastern England” is the constituency of Thanet South; where Farage is standing to be elected as an MP. It’s also next door to where UKIP held its Spring Conference in Margate which had no mobile signal nor internet access.

A professional party with workable facilities at its conference less important than Farage’s own campaign it seems. So no policies, no strategy, no exit plan just dog-whistle soundbites to get Farage elected.

Perhaps in this sense it will work and this will please the cult, but in getting us out of the EU no chance.

What a waste of 20 odd years…

The M4 Motorway And Immigration?

 

It’s a fair point to make the case that the significant influx of immigrants in the last 10 years has in a number of cases put intolerable pressure on public services in various parts of the country. Thus we see that Farage attempts to make this point as a reason for being late on Friday at a venue in South Wales:

Nigel Farage today blamed immigrants for clogging up Britain’s roads after traffic jams meant he missed an event charging Ukip supporters to meet him.

The Ukip leader said he arrived too late for a £25-a-head drinks reception in Port Talbot because the UK’s ‘open door immigration’ policy meant that the M4 ‘is not as navigable as it used to be’.

However while we’re not sure where exactly Farage was held up on the M4, we would query his assertion ‘that open door immigration has meant that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be’.

Like most motorways, the M4 suffers from congestion at busy periods in various locations along its route and has done so for a long time. Particular problem locations are between Reading and Slough and then around Bristol – with junctions connecting with the M32 and the M5.

More notoriously though the bottlenecks intensify as the M4 travels through South Wales as any regular commuter knows. Not long after crossing the (second) Severn bridge, the M4 becomes two lanes around Newport and Cardiff traveling through the Brynglas Tunnels.

To give an indication of how long this section has been an issue an M4 relief road to bypass the tunnels was proposed back in 1991, way before “open door immigration policy”.

Then as we move further on towards Port Talbot, the motorway again reduces down two lanes and junctions 40 and 41 have been temporarily closed as an attempt to improve traffic flow – to local residents dismay.

As the National Transport Plan for Wales noted in 2010:

South-east Wales is densely populated, with significant conurbations at Cardiff and Newport and smaller urban areas nearby. Local and long-distance traffic converge in this region, particularly around the M4 motorway

In addition:

…the motorway around Newport does not conform to today’s motorway standards. It lacks continuous hard shoulders, has closely spaced junctions with sub-standard slip road visibility and narrows to a restricted two lane section through the Brynglas Tunnels. Heavy congestion occurs along this stretch and either side of it at peak hours.

Thus when we factor in that Farage was traveling early on a Friday evening is it any wonder he experienced significant delays. There was of course the train – Brunel built it for a reason.

Yet it’s a worrying trend and reflection of UKIP’s desire to be a single issue party on immigration that, rather than policy and detail, problems are increasingly being put down to immigration alone. Not only does it lend the party to ridicule but it is toxifying the eurosceptic debate.

That said in the short term UKIP have more pressing matters to attend to.

That New Treaty

As Witterings From Witney observes we were privileged this morning to have “a member of our real government give up his time to share his thoughts” as Barroso appeared on Andrew Marr (interview starts 44:13). As expected Marr gave him a rather easy ride, though he acknowledged that reform of the EU involved Treaty change.

But to Barroso’s credit, in stark contrast to our own politicians, he did not hide the real intent of the EU (the full transcript of his interview can be found here). Barroso made clear that Cameron’s wish to renegotiate the freedom of movement, was not possible as it infringes on the four fundamental freedoms (my emphasis throughout):

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
We have to make a clear distinction. One thing is freedom of movement, I don’t think it is possible to renegotiate. It’s a fundamental principle of the internal market. We have an internal market based on the freedom of movement- of goods, of services, of capital and of people -so the British people, British companies have unrestricted access to the internal market.

So I don’t …

ANDREW MARR:
So that’s not up for grabs, okay.

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
I don’t think it’s possible…

Barroso then notes that reforming EU treaties is “very difficult”:

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
That’s what I think David Cameron is expecting. Now I have to be very honest. The reforms of the treaties are extremely difficult in the European Union because they require unanimity. So any point that Britain wants to make for a reform of the treaty requires the other twenty – seven countries …they are sovereign countries as well, to accept

Crucially though, while the rest of the UK media is remaining silent, Barroso offered up more substantial confirmation that a new Treaty is on its way:

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
I think sooner or later [deeper fiscal union] will be unavoidable to have reforms for deeper integration for the Euro area. And by the way it’s not only the pro-Europeans. The markets are demanding that, and in fact we have been moving in that direction in respect of the current treaty.

I cannot say a single European government … but increased governance. Yes certainly because at the end – and we have learned this through the financial crisis – at the end the solidity, the credibility of a currency depends on the solidity of the institutional or political construction behind it.

ANDREW MARR:
Are you speaking for Europe or not in effect. But that kind of change would require a presumably a new treaty?

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
Yes…

ANDREW MARR:
It just seems to me that what David Cameron is saying he wants, which is a much looser European Union, is not what’s going to happen, and he’s going to be confronted with this deeper Europe.

JOSE MANUEL BARROSO:
What I think it’s important to have in mind is the following. I don’t see a fundamental contradiction between deepening the Euro area – that is certainly desirable – and having some flexibility for the European Union provided the general framework is kept as it is. For instance, we have already now countries that are the Euro, countries who are not in Euro. We have the Schengen where Britain is not a member and we have, for instance, some opt – outs for justice and home affairs. So it is possible, if there is wisdom on all sides and if it’s a constructive discussion, to come to some arrangement. 

Barroso lays it out clearly that a two tier EU is now on the cards – with no “fundamental contradiction”. The EU is going for deeper integration leaving non-Euro members behind. In other words the “flexibility” will be the associate membership option of the new Treaty.

Revolution?

With membership of the EU comes the free movement of people. This is a fundamental principle of the EU. So when we see apparent regrets over immigration from former Labour Minister Jack Straw, who like many in Labour supports membership, we can only conclude his real regret was not to delay the influx for seven years which would have conveniently dumped the problem on Cameron’s lap:

“Other existing EU members, notably France and Germany, decided to stick to the general rule which prevented migrants from these new states from working until 2011. But we thought that it would be good for Britain if these folk could come and work here from 2004”.

This ‘blame the Tories’ mentality is illustrated neatly by David Blunkett:

[Blunkett] also accused the government of “burying their head in the sand” over the scale of Roma settlement in the UK.

It’s irrelevant whether they came here in 2004 or in 2011. It’s just a question of time, it doesn’t alter the fact we have lost control of our borders, which is completely in line with EU law. Losing control of borders is both Labour and Tory policy. (Incidentally one notes the more sympathetic treatment Blunkett gets over potentially inflammatory language in contrast with Farage on the issue of immigration).

Thus with the opening of our borders in a few weeks time to Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants (the EU seven year limit expires) we get small-minded Westminster squabbling trying desperately to hide the EU elephant in the room. But squabbling is all it is, nothing will be done, no action taken. Our impotency laid bare. Whether we as a country agree with mass immigration or multi-culturalism is not relevant, the crucial point is we weren’t asked.

But that politicians can get away with this is because our so-called fourth estate fails to scrutinise our Parliament properly. Nothing illustrates this better than Peter Oborne in the Telegraph who writes one of the most stupid bone-headed comments I’ve read in a long time. A man who has been privately educated, went to Cambridge and gloated over his “predictions” of the failure of the Euro in his “Guilty Men” pamphlet writes the following without any sense of irony: 

The decision will be enforced by anonymous officials and jurists. Without intending to, the European Union is turning into the enemy of democracy

Without intending to? How can such stupidity exist? From a paid journalist? One is inclined to bash the bloke over the head with a copy of the Treaty of Rome or better still batter him with a hardback copy of the Great Deception.

What the immigration question highlights though with great clarity is those at the coal face of everyday life have to suffer the consequences of decisions made by those with the money and means to make themselves immune from those very same consequences.

Our system is broken, it’s in desperate need of repair.

Immigration: The Blame Game

I’m not at all interested in the details of Chris Bryant’s immigration speech which will be made later today. Unless it mentions our relationship with the EU, which I think we can safely assume it won’t, then it’s meaningless at best.

The extracts certainly indicate that Labour’s strategy is to blame someone else to disguise the lack of will to deal with the root causes. Even better, blame multimillion corporations (you can almost hear the pantomime boo hiss from Labour ranks):

[Next] was criticised yesterday by Labour, which accused “unscrupulous employers” of choosing cheaper foreign workers over local British candidates to save money.

Rather like the pathetic Tory campaign, pictured above, it’s nothing but empty gestures. One can almost guess that Bryant will manage to squeeze in the phrase, or one like it; “tough on migration from newly joined EU members”. Obmitting of course to mention that such measures only applies for 7 years – which is why Romania and Bulgaria’s restrictions are up next year.

It’s all so wearily predictable.

Update: Actually it was less than wearily predictable, the whole exercise has completely unraveled so much so even the NewStatesman are unimpressed.

The Use Of Language

What becomes very apparent when fighting against the UK’s membership of the EU is that pro-EU arguments are based less on facts and more on insults disguised as implied phrases and the warped interpretation of words.

An example of this, is the use of the word “progressive” particularly by the Labour party:

Over the last decade Policy Network has performed a momentous role in the development of progressive thinking, bringing us together as a global progressive family.

For example this:

Members of the Labour Party can become PES activists and get involved in PES activities and campaigns that promote progressive politics on European level

However…the word “progressive” has one meaning but two outcomes. Clearly Labour believe, and use the term, on the basis that it has positive outcomes. The problem is the other outcome describes something that is getting worse leading to an unsatisfactory situation. Mrs TBF for example has ‘progressive multiple sclerosis’ (I write this to make a point rather than to illicit sympathy), thus the word progressive can also have completely negative connotations.

In light of this, one is also reminded of the term “Little Englander”. I’ve never yet met a pro-EU advocate who can fully explain to me what this term means, especially given that its use in terms of EU membership is contradictory to its origins. Instead it has turned into a term of abuse, based on no facts, which seems largely accepted but on little basis why. It’s a term of abuse that can be easily negated by the argument that many EU and European countries have, in various forms, rejected aspects of further EU integration; Denmark, Ireland and Norway who cannot be accused of this. No-one is seriously going to accuse the French who rejected the original EU constitution, of being “Little Englanders”.

Thus we come to the thorny issue of immigration.The British public have been concerned about the unprecedented influx in the last decade* and the subsequent fake concern shown by the Tories, Labour and even the Lib Dems very clearly indicates that. However until recently using the term immigration was deliberately used to imply being a racist as a way of shutting down the argument by the use of redefining words.

The deep irony is though our country’s current immigration policy is by most definitions racist, a position that is supported by all 3 main parties by virtue of our membership of the EU. A cursory glance at the above picture confirms that. Anyone entering our country is defined by their passport and which country they come from. From EU member Lithuania? Fine enter the easy lane. From non-EU member India? Sorry queue in the ‘harder to enter’ lane.

This is discrimination personified by the EU – the rules are not applied evenly across all nationalities trying to enter our country. It is a discriminatory policy based on country origins and therefore racist – a situation supported by our establishment. But then changing the meaning of words means getting away with it….

*hattip for the link Witterings from Witney

Unraveling

Perhaps it’s weariness on my part or the expectation that it wouldn’t be long before others clock Cameron’s speech on immigration as the nonsense that it is (and thus do the hard work for me), but I couldn’t bring myself to comment on Cameron’s latest wheeze.

And unsurprisingly unravel quickly it has:

And

So follows Cameron in a long line of Tories who in spirit is defined by the words of Labour MP Hugh Gaitskell, October 1962:

“…have been indulging in their usual double talk. When they go to Brussels they show the greatest enthusiasm for political union. When they speak in the House of Commons they are most anxious to aver that there is no commitment whatever to any political union.”

Cameron’s immigration announcement was always bollocks but he’s not even good enough to disguise it very well. He is taking the concept of the Peter Principle to a whole new level. As a consequence, as Richard North notes, the rats are now deserting the sinking Tory ship.

As it stands Labour are more than likely to win the General Election in 2015 and we go through the whole charade again – as per Ed Milliband’s recent article in The Sun:

And as a Labour Prime Minister, I will act to deal with people’s concerns. We know low-skill immigration has been too high and it should come down. We will put maximum controls on new countries joining the European Union.

Controls can only be put in place for a maximum of 7 years – Labour not quite lying but not telling the whole truth either. The 7 year limit is precisely the issue with Romanians and Bulgarians having their restrictions removed next year – their 7 year term is up.

Unsurprisingly another party had this policy of restricting immigration in 2011 (leaving unsaid that it was for only 7 years) – can you guess which one it was?

And so we go round in circles.