“My one little UKIP vote won’t do any harm” thought a lot of people. “It’s just a protest vote after all.” Unheeded went the words of comedian Stewart Lee when he pointed out that voting UKIP as a protest was a bit like “Protesting against room service in a hotel by shitting in your bed and then having to sleep in it.”
So today we all wake up with 24 UKIP MEP’s representing Britain in the European Parliament. That’s quite a large sum of money we’ve just donated to UKIP funds. And that’s before they’ll pick up their expenses. Which they will. Farage himself admitted that by 2009 he had personally taken £2m of taxpayers money in expenses and allowances. So well done those of you who thought that was a bright idea. I mean it’s not as if UKIP didn’t already have masses of financial bankers to fund their election campaigns but now they’ve got a couple of million quid more to toss into the election kitty.
Who have we elected exactly??
And who even knows who they’ve elected?? If William Dartmouth walked into your local now would you even recognise him? Yet oddly, the Eton educated William Legge, 10th Earl of Dartmouth, has been UKIP MEP for South West England since 2009 . This member of the ‘People’s army’ and ‘fighter against the establishment’ was of course a Tory peer in the House of Lords until the last Labour Government got rid of (most) hereditary peers. So well done all those of you who thought by voting UKIP you were fighting the ‘establishment’ and the ‘political class’ . There’s the fighter you already had and er, still have.
Now it has been mentioned a few times that UKIP are in fact really just a bunch of Tories and that it probably isn’t in the interests of the working class to bring back Thatcherism, as Farage would dearly love, but we seem to be heading that way. Although UKIP was founded as a non sectarian, non racist, mildly Eurosceptic cross party idea back in the early 90’s, things certainly changed when Tory Public Schoolboy Farage took over the reigns. Original founder Alan Sked said “They got rid of all that after I left. They took out the stuff about no prejudices against lawful minorities.” In an article in the Guardian Sked claims that Farage wanted ‘ex National Front’ candidates to run for UKIP saying “There’s no need to worry about the nigger vote, the nig nogs will never vote for us.” Farage denies this but Sked also claims that ex NF organisers are now working for UKIP. Sked said “That’s the kind of person people are voting for when they vote UKIP. Why does anyone have time for this creature? He’s a dim-witted racist.” But of course, this is exactly what we appear to have voted for.
So that’s what we’ve got. That’s what democracy gave us. Now we have a year to put it right.
Today Labour leader Ed Miliband stood up in Thurrock, Essex, the heart of this murky new political landscape and launched Labour’s campaign for the 2015 elections. Under strong pressure from Party members not to give any ground to the UKIP message of division, the socialist son of immigrants, laid out his case saying:-“I am not here simply to tell you Labour can win but to tell you why we must.”
Miliband’s well publicised speech set out the political position today not in the context of the last 3 weeks of frenzied media Ukippery but looked back over the last three decades explaining the big changes that have happened to Britain economically, socially and politically and why millions of people feel that “The country does not work for them, politics does not listen to them and cannot answer them.”
In a pledge to go out into the country to address these concerns he said “If Labour’s going to change things, we have to be in communities all over Britain talking about the issues that matter. And that’s why I am here. I want to start by talking about some people I met here. Because they tell us so much about Britain today.”
He spoke of people with good college qualifications only able to find part time work, people with low paid jobs unable to afford their own home and of course people uneasy with the changes brought about by immigration and who feel left behind by what has happened. “People who in years gone by would have been Labour till they die.Their parents certainly were.Their grandparents too. So how have we got to this point? And what do we do about it?”
Blaming Foreigners is NOT the answer.
The key was of course to get the economy right and to rebuild communities pointing to “The need for secure jobs with good prospects “
He spoke up for the last Labour government which he said “Did great things: rescuing our NHS, investing in schools and supporting working families with tax credits.” But said that “They were not enough by themselves because ordinary working people, people who weren’t rich, felt life was getting harder.” And he went on to defend Labour’s policies by saying “Looking to the future, openness, concern for the poorest and a belief in the modern economy were not wrong.They were right. But it was not enough.That’s why there is no future for Labour saying we should simply pick up from where we left off in 2010.Labour was founded on standing up for working people. But for too many that link was lost.”
UKIP had of course sought to exploit this alienation. “They provide a simple explanation of the cause of our country’s problems: Europe and foreigners. And they have an apparently simple solution: to get out of the European Union. I have to say: this is not the answer for our country. This will never be Labour’s mission or policy under my leadership. Our future lies in looking outward to the world.Some people will tell you that closing ourselves off from the world will deliver for working people. It won’t. It will harm working people. Think of all the jobs here that still rely on trade. That’s why our future lies in the European Union.”
Immigrants benefit the country as a whole
Tackling immigration head on he said “I am the son of immigrants.I am proud of the contribution my parents made to this country.I believe immigration benefits our country as a whole. But it needs to be properly managed. It is not prejudiced to worry about immigration, it is understandable.”
He said “Labour would tackle the undercutting of wages, and ensure people in public services speak English and people need to earn their entitlements. But a Labour government won’t make false promises, or cut ourselves off from the rest of the world because it would be bad for Britain.”
He promised “A big change in our economy, so we make sure there are good jobs in successful businesses, which are properly paid, and not the insecurity that comes with zero-hours or short-hours that leaves people short-changed. “
He spoke of Labour’s other key policies ‘energy price freeze, policies on rents, policies on banks, and house building saying “To meet the challenges we face we need more change, not less. We will be showing how we can create the wealth of the future, ensure decent jobs, raise wages and have a better start in life for our young people.”