UKIP-vs-EUkip

UKIP-vs-EUkip
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Saturday, 23 April 2011

APRIL - Tim CONGDON - 'No' to a Pan-European Party

 APRIL - Tim CONGDON - 'No' to a Pan-European Party

Betrayal of the Party's ideals



By Prof Tim Congdon

Like other members of UKIP, I have been horrified at the transfer of governmental powers from my country to the European Union. In 1972, when Parliament voted to join the then ‘Common Market’, no one foresaw how far the UK would lose its economic and political independence in less than 40 years.

Indeed, given Mr. Heath’s promises and the apparently harmless wording of the Accession Treaty, no one could have foreseen that loss of independence.
Like most members of UKIP, I am also horrified that a proposal is being made for our party to associate itself with parties from other European countries in order to create a ‘pan-European party’. As of now, no one can forecast exactly what might happen to UKIP as one element in that pan-European party, because – as usual – the relevant EU documents are badly-written, complex and open to several interpretations. But who could be surprised if the eventual outcome – over many years, perhaps – is that UKIP loses its identity and becomes absorbed in a political movement that is mostly ‘European’ in character?

The continued existence of our nation as a nation is threatened by our membership of the EU; the continued existence of our party as a party is threatened by the proposal that it belong to a pan-European party.
The debate about UKIP and pan-European parties is therefore not a minor sideshow for our party and its members; it is about nothing less than the survival of our party with its own name and identity. The UK Independence Party must remain the UK Independence Party. It must not become a subsidiary of ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ or an annex to ‘the European Alliance’.

Am I exaggerating? Check the wording of the European Commission’s regulations on the subject. The last one – Regulation (EC) No. 1524/2007 (of 18 December 2007) – defined the activities that European Parliament political funding might finance. The explicit intention was to establish ‘political foundations’ at ‘the European level’. In other words, over the long run no money would be made available to political parties unless the purpose were to transform national politics into European-level politics.


All the arguments for a link-up with a pan-European party are false. First, it is claimed that – by merging UKIP into a new ‘European Alliance’ (as suggested in the notorious ‘Bonici e-mail’ of 27 October 2010) – we can tap into another million euros of European Parliament money. Indeed, the EU bureaucrats have cleverly told MEPs that the size of the jam pot is fixed, so that – if UKIP refuses to belong to a pan-European party – the remaining jam will go to the other MEPs who do form such parties.

This is the sort of cunning trick that has persuaded so many of Britain’s politicians to hand over power to Brussels, Strasbourg and Frankfurt since 1973. But in fact the million euros cannot be directed to any UKIP political activity in our own country. That is what the European Commission’s regulations say very clearly. The one million euros would not in fact be for UKIP at all.

Following the German model of state-subsidized think-tanks, the money would have to stay in Brussels to pay for ‘research’ from a new ‘foundation’ (that is, a think-tank).

Secondly, their advocates say that involvement in pan-European parties would give UKIP more prominence in debates in the European Parliament, which would then enhance our media visibility. This is nonsense.

In the brave new world of pan-European parties UKIP’s MEPs – who owe their position to the hard work and devotion of the party membership in the UK – may say and do wonderful things in the European Parliament.

But they will not do so as MEPs attached to UKIP. They will instead be advertised as MEPs of ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ or ‘the European Alliance’. Sure, there will be extra media visibility for the party to which MEPs belong. To be precise, there will be extra media visibility for ‘Europe of Freedom and Democracy’ or ‘the European Alliance’.

The voice of UKIP as the United Kingdom Independence Party will not be heard more loudly if it becomes affiliated to a pan-European party. On the contrary, it will be increasingly forgotten and ignored.

Many of the party’s best and most active members are dismayed – even appalled – that UKIP participation in a pan-European party has been proposed. They see it as a betrayal of the party’s ideals, just as their country’s membership in the EU is a betrayal of their country’s institutions and traditions. They are right. The pan-European party idea does betray them. UKIP must have no connection of any sort with a pan-European party.
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Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
#08 Middle Street, Chepstow, NP16 5ET, Monmouthshire, United Kingdoms.
tel: 01291 - 62 65 62

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