Tooting View: UKIP becoming the party for Catholics
The Catholic vote used to be Labour territory. But UKIP -- with the backing of one in seven UK Catholics -- is encroaching here as in so many areas. We have a Eurosceptic Pope, and people are taking note
Repeating the obvious, we have a Eurosceptic Pope! This should not be simply dismissed as last month's news -- the relevance of the Pontiff's speech at the European Parliament in Strasbourg is very far reaching as his messages are not just his private views but act as guidance to Catholics everywhere.
The EU has had it coming for a while. After all, you cannot push anti-Christian policies and expect respect from Christians in return.
But the Pope has pointed to more far-reaching issues with the EU. His comments about a “general impression of weariness and ageing” and his reference to Europe being a “grandmother ... no longer fertile and vibrant” are clearly an ice-bucket challenge issued to the eurocrats, pointing to the completely wrong direction they have taken.
The Pontiff's reference to the globalised world becoming “less and less Eurocentric” is yet another important statement of fact.
The EU is the only trade bloc which has not been achieving growth, whilst the rest of the world has been powering ahead. Unfortunately, the EU has been dragging our continent into global irrelevance and if it takes the Pope rather than famous economists to point that out, then so be it.
But his most important point was when he said: "The great ideas which once inspired Europe seem to have lost their attraction, only to be replaced by the bureaucratic technicalities of its institutions," which pretty much sums up why I am a Eurosceptic.
This is the essence of the problem with the EU in that its shape has diverged so much from what we all signed up to that it urgently needs to be reassessed by way of a referendum -- which is what UKIP has been saying for years.
Nigel Farage remarked on Pope Francis' speech with great enthusiasm in his recent article in The Catholic Herald. It is also note-worthy that The Catholic Herald estimated that one in seven British Catholics now votes UKIP -- clearly we are making a strong indent in what used to be perceived as a strongly pro-Labour demographic.
I for one am not surprised. As I stated in my article "Tooting View: The jilted religious voter", UKIP has become the go-to party for Christians and other religious voters, as, unlike the LibLabCon establishment, we do not push atheist and anti-Christian policies.
As a practicing Catholic and a UKIP parliamentary candidate, I am very glad to receive what I interpret as this message of support from Pope Francis, which serves as confirmation that my Euroscepticism is shared by the head of the Catholic Church.
I hope that many other Catholics, and Christians generally, will take Pope Francis’ message seriously.
Przemek Skwirczynski is UKIP Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Tooting
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