“I think UKIP candidates should be locked in a box and ignored”.
It’s not exactly the most ringing endorsement UKIP has ever received. Though it’s certainly not the worst remark which has been aimed at the party, its leader and its supporters. For the record, I’m not a party member. I could dwell as easily as anyone else on what I don’t like about some of UKIP’s people and policies. But instead, I want to explain as clearly and simply as I can why I intend to vote UKIP in the next elections – and why I hope people like the one I quoted above will do the same.
All elections have one goal in common: obtaining both the right and the power to apply a given set of ideas to the lives of a group of people. A coup can give someone the power to rule but not necessarily the right. A ceremonial role as a head of State is widely agreed to give someone the right to rule but not the power. An election is about getting hold of both together. But in the elections of 2014-15, something more valuable is at stake; something which in British politics only UKIP wants to talk about.
As we enter these elections, every British political leader except Nigel Farage wants us to keep going in the same overall political direction, towards “ever closer political union” within the European Union. There are genuine differences between politicians about how quickly and by what means this direction should be travelled, and perhaps about what sort of Europe we will all live in when we get there; but all except Nigel Farage agree that this is the direction in which the United Kingdom should keep going.
The fundamental question is this: Who will make our laws? Do you as a resident of the British Isles want the final power to answer that question? Should that power stay in your hands, and in those of your family, your friends and your neighbours? Or should it be first shared with and later surrendered to people who don’t know you, don’t live here and don’t care about you (“ever closer political union”)? You may be tempted to imagine that nothing so important is at stake. None of our political leaders are crying foul except Nigel Farage. Nobody is rioting in the streets about it – what can it matter?
The problem with permanently surrendering the power to make your laws to somebody else is this: history teaches us time and again that if you wait to care until you feel like it matters, it will probably be too late to change things peacefully. The price to get back a lost freedom is almost always measured at least partly in bloodshed. Ask the Spanish. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks. The creation of the Eurozone has forced them to face exactly this problem about the laws governing their money supply.
For their parts, the European Union and our “mainstream” political leaders have tried to reassure us about their grand “project” in a number of ways over the years. Let me deal here with the original (and biggest) one. The EU and its predecessors were sold as a guarantee that there would be no more wars between the EU’s member states. The implication was that this would make sure the peoples of Europe could all live in peace. This is no longer the promise it once appeared to be for two reasons.
First of all, the implied threat by Europe’s political leaders that they would declare war on each other again if they weren’t allowed to build the EU any way they wanted has directly encouraged the arrogance and corruption for which Brussels is now a by-word. So what if the Brussels elite claim allowances they’re not entitled to? So what if their accounts fail to pass audit year after year? The implied threat is always there: “pay up, or we’ll take you to war with each other and say you started it because you didn’t give us what we wanted”. This is extortion.
Secondly, the EU’s current behaviour towards Russia concerning events in Ukraine and the Commission’s long-standing desire to create EU Armed Forces suggest that the new plan is to turn the EU into a unified combatant super-state. And who would a “Great Power” seek to fight except a neighbouring “Great Power”? Birds of a feather don’t just flock together; they often fight each other too. I predict that if the EU acquires its own Armed Forces, it will eventually use them in a greater war than the peoples of western Europe can presently imagine.
Photo by tristam sparks
Photo by European Parliament