UKIP Policy: Solutions, not scapegoating


Tony Blair recently came up with one of his masterful sound-bites.  UKIP, he said, is a party based on scapegoating, not solutions.  A clever turn of phrase, but vacuous when you examine it, for how can you propose solutions without problems?  And the moment you point to a problem (the EU, immigration, wind turbines) you can be, I suppose, accused of scapegoating.

Meantime on Dec 23rd in the Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan, in a piece entitled “Could UKIP be the Tory Party’s SDP?” accuses UKIP of making “fantasy promises”.  He says we proposed £15 billion of unfunded spending commitments, whereas the UK’s EU budget contributions are only £10 billion.  He omits to mention that his £10 bn figure is net, and that gross contributions are around £18 bn (and rising) — more than enough to cover £15 bn of spending commitments.

But of course our direct budget contributions are a mere fraction of the total cost of our EU membership.  A recent paper by Tim Congdon, one of the UK’s most respected economists, shows that total costs of our EU membership (including the major component, regulatory costs) amount to around £150 bn a year, or a staggering 10% of GDP.  No one, of course, imagines that we could make savings of £150 bn in Year One following Independence Day.  It might take several years to unwind EU regulation, and some regulations introduced over the years by Brussels would need to be retained.  But much of the EU’s employment regulation could be eliminated rapidly.

Very substantial savings could be achieved immediately, and these would increase over time as regulation wound down.  Many tens of billions could be freed up.  These would fund more spending in key areas, like education and defence; they would help us to resolve the country’s debt problems; and after the books were balanced, they would underwrite a low-tax economy that would drive growth, prosperity and jobs.

Nor would we suffer trade penalties as an independent nation.  George Osborne and Boris Johnson seem to be very confused between a Free Trade Area, a “Common Market”, and the EU’s Single Market.  Let’s be clear: an independent Britain could not remain within the EU Single Market, as this would imply accepting both the EU’s Common External Tariff, and the stultifying burden of regulation which we are trying to escape.  The objective is a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  (The term “Common Market” is too ambiguous for sensible comment).

“Why should the EU offer the UK a free trade deal?”, ask the Europhile doom-sayers.  For several reasons.  First, because outside the EU, the UK would be by far the EU’s largest export customer, running a negative trade balance.  It would be hugely in the interests of both parties to have an FTA.  And secondly, because the EU treaties require the EU to negotiate such a deal with any member-state which chooses to leave.

Someone should explain this to the CBI and to some Captains of Industry (especially in the auto business) who seem to assume, wrongly, that the UK would be a less attractive manufacturing base to service the European markets after we leave the EU.  Not at all.  In an FTA, market access is assured.

Outside the EU, as noted above, we should be relieved of the eye-watering costs of membership, and should therefore be able to offer lower taxes.  We should no longer have the burden of EU regulation, so we could offer more flexible labour markets, and less bureaucracy.

As UKIP Energy Spokesman, I hope and believe that outside the EU, we should abandon Brussels’ absurd and hugely damaging energy policies, and implement a new policy designed to achieve secure, reliable and affordable energy.

So, Tony, UKIP is definitely about solutions.  Solutions to our debt and fiscal problems.  To growth and employment.  To secure and affordable energy.  And Andrew, our “fantasy promises” are covered many times over by the demonstrable expenditure savings we would make on leaving the EU.  Lower taxes, balanced books, higher employment, more growth, secure and affordable energy, European market access.  What’s not to like?

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8 Responses to UKIP Policy: Solutions, not scapegoating

  1. mikestallard says:

    I’ve just come back (yesterday) from Iceland. I was expecting despair.
    First of all, I think it is entirely self sufficient on geo-thermal heated water and electricity – even down to growing its own melons and tomatoes in December! Second, when the banks went under the government allowed them to go bust, so the government still functioned. Thirdly, they are tough and resilient.
    And they want ( I think ) to join Europe too (desperately?).
    Every country has its own deep beliefs which are not going to change. America has the Constitution and we have Her Majesty the Queen. Spain has its noble history. Iceland has its cod fishing industry.
    So, in the negotiations, it is certainly not going to argue about that: it needs a concession.
    EU reaction? You are a little country, so we will tell you what concessions you will get and that is not one of them. How stupid can you get! Honestly!
    It sounds so silly that I may have made a mistake. Have I?

    The UKIP are the party which is, to me, making the right noises: keep it up! In a way, just as the SDP was a splinter group caused by the left wingers in the Labour Party, so UKIP is becoming a splinter group of the Conservatives who are making noises which are in no way what I believe.

    Merry Christmas – or Glad Yule!

  2. Mike Spilligan says:

    Mike Stallard: I used to be a (business) visitor to Iceland some 25 to 30 years ago, and I can’t think that the character of the Icelanders has changed much, if at all. In addition to being tough and resilient they have a strong independent spirit, possibly due to their having been a colony of Denmark until 1945. In truth, I can’t believe that there is any desire of Icelanders – except perhaps some politicians – to want to be part of the EU under any conditions acceptable to the European Council and the European Commission.

  3. tomgowans says:

    I wish you and UKIP every success in the coming year!

    A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you from Angola
    (the country, not the Louisiana State Penitentiary).

  4. Alan Love says:

    Excellent piece, Roger. I read Gilligan’s article and was wondering how over £18 billion had shrunk to £ 10 billion. Have a good Christmas.

  5. matthu says:

    What hope for the New Year?

    I would like to see a serious debate between UKIP members and the more EU sceptical wing (if any) of the Conservative party. It seems that any differences are less about the goal and more about the means of attaining those goals?

    And how can we get a proper TV debate – on EU issues – before the next EU election?

    All best wishes for 2013!

  6. John Latham says:

    Today’s press now informs us that the EU wants to make the UK charge 20% VAT on home insulation improvements rather than the 5% charge levied. So energy efficiency savings will be reduced as the benefits of installation are eroded away. What nonsense.

  7. matthu says:

    “For those drawn to it, UKIP’s primary attraction is that it will say things that need to be said but others are scared to say.”

    Apparently this observation was made by Lord Ashcroft – although he failed to provide a concise but comprehensive list of the things that need to be said.

    Do we need to draw one up?

  8. Anne Palmer says:

    I am not in any Political Party or Organisation. Never have been and never will be. However My total allegiance is to the British Crown and all it represents. FREEDOM FROM FOREIGN RULE.
    I place this before you. We ALL know now, without doubt, we have three MAJOR POLITICAL
    PARTIES THAT WANT TO REMAIN IN THE EU -FOREVER. They want their “wages” along with their vast Expenses but they want foreigners to make the laws for all of us which even THEY have to obey. Yet those we elected also know that our own long standing Common law Constitution forbids us obeying foreigners and their laws. That was why we have been in two full scale wars in the “recent” past, the last war which I remember very well indeed for we had a Prime Minister that also wanted this Country to be free from foreign rule.

    As we in this Country are very unlikely to have a referendum on an “In” or “out” of the European Union, may I suggest we ALLl use the coming General Election as the REFERENDUM on the EU? Vote for anyone who is NOT in the major three Political Parties that have kept us under foreign rule since 1972/3. And YES, I will be voting for UKIP as loing as it remains as it is at present.

    Whether to join the EEC/EC/EU was debated over many years before our then Government took us in what the people were told was a “Common Market” and “there would be no loss of essential Sovereignty”. Lies, Lies, Lies. Proof of those lies is all recorded in the many pages of HANSARD from those days, which some of you may know I have reseached for the truth of those days “dastardly doings”.

    On 3rd August 1961 (column 1735) Mr Shinwell continues his words after having read out a part of the Treaty of Rome, ending with “reinforcement of the European Parliament through
    direct elections and widening of its powers and, finally, a European Government. That is the intention. That is their object and that is what they are saying on Hon Members can talk until they are black in the face about the Rome Treaty and there being no provision for federation, but there is no doubt that from the declarations made by some of the most influential people–M.Spaak, Professor Hallstein and others who have indicated that there is a definite intention and that once we accept the economic provisions of the Rome Treaty—and it looks as though this government might—they are on their way towards complete political integration”.

    “I wonder what this place will be like during the course of the next ten years? There will not be 630 Hon Members. There will be no need for more than 150 or so. It will be like—”
    Mr A. C. Manuel, “A Council”.
    Mr Shinwell, “I was about to say a Parish Council, with the authority of some kind delegated to it by the European Parliament and dictated to be a European Government. To that we are being led”. To exactly where we are NOW!

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