Quite what does UKIP stand for? Brexit and Nexit
UKIP these days is less Brexit (though still that) than Nexit. In other words, they're a force for real change. And even though they're working out a manifesto, the party is up for some truly thoughtful ideas. It's Nexit Nige...
According to the chatteratti, they are a bunch of nutcases, swivel-eyed loons, and fruitcakes; a one-man band with a two-trick pony peddling nothing more than Brexit and stopping all immigration.
The truth is that Farage is arguably the most charismatic English politician of the day, so he naturally attracts media attention. He is ‘one of us’, not one of those metrosexual exotics who bloom in Westminster but not elsewhere.
Now UKIP has Douglas Carswell, an experienced, articulate, shrewd and experienced MP who is that rara avis, a conviction politician. And the party has no less than 24 of the 73 British MEPs.
The UKIP election manifesto for 2015 is unsurprisingly a work in progress but the key areas of policy are fairly clear. On immigration here is what it says:
We believe Britain must get back control over its borders, so that it can welcome people with a positive contribution to make while limiting the overall numbers of migrants and keeping out those without the skills or aptitudes to be of benefit to the nation.
Difficult to argue with that, unless you are a Guardian-reading swivel-eyed loon. No problem with Polish builders or Czech engineers, but East European Roma are less welcome, they argue. The core policy is to claw back from the EU the lost powers of border control, not to haul-up the drawbridge.
It also promotes the very sensible aim that immigrants should not been titled to benefits until 5 years of tax and NI have been paid; you must put in to draw out!
They must speak reasonable English, carry health insurance and have worked in their claimed profession for 12 of the previous 24 months. Visas would be issued on a points system as in Australia, and work-permits would be time-limited. Currently some 800,000 British jobs are on offer in the EU.
Of course, this presupposes an exit from the EU. The savings on membership fees for this club are said to be £55 million per day.
On tax, George Osborne has rather ‘stolen their clothes when they were out bathing’ by adopting UKIP’s policy of removing minimum wage-earners from taxation and a top rate of 40% starting initially at £45,000 of taxable income. UKIP wants to abolish inheritance tax; it brings in only about £4 billion.
It is easily avoided by the mega-rich but hits the middle classes. Foreign aid would be ‘drastically’ reduced.
UKIP has scant sympathy with the climate-change lobby. Green taxes would go and subsidies for wind-turbines would be stopped. The Climate Change Act would be repealed at an annual saving of £18 billion.
On law and order, the wretched European Arrest Warrant will be abolished. It was sold to us as a terrorist-control necessity; it has not been used for this a single time. The Tories have nicked UKIP’s proposed withdrawal from ECHR jurisdiction.
On health and social welfare, the NHS would be run by elected County Health Boards. Surgeries would have evening opening for workers. On housing, local people would have priority for social housing. On education, new grammar schools would be created.
Obviously there is more to come during the build-up to next year’s election, but a two-trick pony it ain’t!
Robin Mitchinson is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator. A former barrister, living in the Isle of Man, he is an international public management specialist with almost two decades of experience in institutional development, decentralisation and democratisation processes. He has advised governments and major international institutions across the world
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