John Longworth, the Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has written to political leaders (including, I believe, Nigel Farage) asking them to avoid “tawdry politics” in the run-up to next May’s General Election. He fears that careless talk and casual commitments could damage business confidence — indeed the 2015 election is widely regarded as the most open for decades, and this in itself has created uncertainty amongst BCC members.
I was particularly struck by one of Mr. Longworth’s phrases: “You must focus on the causes, not the symptoms, of the challenges that face our United Kingdom”. Few would disagree, though the problem as always is that different political parties have very different analyses of the causes of problems. Was the recent financial crisis caused by excessive lending and the irresponsibility of bankers? By loose monetary policy from central banks? By the disaster of the €uro currency? (All of the above, probably — but different politicians would emphasise different angles).
The thing is that many of the problems facing the UK (and Mr. Longworth’s members) today are a direct result of our EU membership. Over-regulation. Energy prices. Immigration (OK, it may offer businesses the advantage of low wages as mass immigration forces wage compression — but everyone, including Mr. Longworth’s members and their employees, suffers from the pressure on housing and house prices, on welfare and health and hospitals, and schools, and — yes — roads and transport infrastructure).
And only UKIP has practical policies to deal with these problems. First we have to leave the EU. Then we can have deregulation, lower energy prices, a rational immigration policy, and so much more.