Critics of UKIP say that we can make no difference. With just a handful of MEPs and no MPs (yet!) how could we? What those critics fail to understand is that we do still live in a democracy.
Labour are only six polling points ahead of the Conservatives. In the last year, UKIP have stormed up the charts to secure a solid 12% of the polls on average, sometimes even rising as high as 17%. The same critics will sneer at those numbers, but without the funding privileges that the Parliamentary parties receive from the EU, amounting to well over £1m each, that’s a good result.
And more importantly, it’s enough to lose Cameron the next election. His Liberal Democrat friends, losing support themselves at every turn, won’t be enough to save him this time.
Cameron’s response? Why, he’s jumped on the Farage bandwagon as his speech yesterday, delivered at the launch of an event to celebrate apprentices at the Mini plant near Oxford, shows. He said:
“Immigration, welfare and education are totally linked.
“You can go round factories in our country where half the people in the factory have come from Poland or Lithuania or Latvia, and you can’t blame them – they want to work hard! They see the jobs, the come over and they do them. But as a country what we ought to be saying is ‘no’.
“Let’s get our education system right so we’re producing young people out of our schools and colleges who are fully capable of doing those jobs that are being made available. Second let’s reform the welfare system so it doesn’t pay you to be out of work, it pays you to be in work.
“And third, then let’s have the sensible controls on immigration particularly from outside the EU where we put a cap on the number of people coming. We crack those three problems together and we’ll create an economy that really creates wealth for all our people.
“That’s what this should be about: recovery for all. No one excluded from a growing economy here in Britain.
The problem with this rhetoric is that they are hollow words. The only solution to the problem Cameron outlines is – say it with me – leaving the European Union! Yet that’s the one solution Cameron has already taken off the table. The result is a jumbled mess. he bemoans unskilled immigration from Poland, but wants to cut immigration from outside the EU, blocking the paths of highly educated doctors, businessmen and scientists who want to come here from places like New Zealand, Canada and the USA. Mr Cameron, it’s the tens of thousands coming from within the EU that are creating the problems you’ve finally woken up to!
No, as Mr Barroso said: why vote for a pale imitation when you can have the real deal?