There is a consistent theme in the correspondence and interviews WSCT features from UKIP. Repeat a mantra long and often enough and despite it having no resemblance to fact, it must be right.
That it might also be hypocritical, inconsistent, xenophobic, misogynist or bigoted matters not. The latest WSCT interview with Geoff Stevens is typical.
Leading with the classic UKIP ‘I am not a racist’ statement so often used by their supporters, he then goes on to say ‘if it wasn’t for all these foreigners coming in… we wouldn’t have a housing shortage’.
By their own admission in interviews and in letters, including to WSCT, a number of senior members of UKIP, including county councillors, are married / associated to Mr Stevens’ derided ‘foreigners’.
So it’s all right that they as associates of UKIP have managed to get into the UK, but we don’t want any more, even if as many independent studies have confirmed, migrants make a valuable and positive contribution to the UK economy and society, often more so than the indigenous population!
The UK has a proud tradition of welcoming the oppressed and those seeking to better their lives in a tolerant, open and democratic society.
Yet such values would appear to be the antitheses of UKIP isolationism, where according to them, the EU is at the root of all our economic and social problems despite our ability to hold them accountable through the electoral process.
A situation in marked contrast to the influence of the increasingly dysfunctional USA on UK policy on trade, rendition, security, foreign and fiscal issues where we suffer daily!
Whilst facts and UKIP are uneasy bedfellows, a few are in order.
On immigration: More than 50 per cent of those coming to live in the UK come from outside the EU, so in or out, control on that source of migrants bringing new thinking, intellect, energy and ideas would not change.
I suggest Mr Stevens visits a local hospital to see how the NHS and other parts of the service sector would cope without his ‘foreigners’!
Housing: The primary issue on the shortage of housing is the failure of successive governments to build new homes, compounded by the Thatcher right to buy scheme and not replacing the housing stock lost.
We have the lowest rate of new house building since the Second World War.
That situation is compounded by increased rates of divorce and longer life expectancy which results in more single person households; all requiring more dwellings for any given level of population and very little to do with the level of immigration from the EU.
Reading through UKIP ‘literature’ there really is little of substance. Nothing on how they would manage the sixth largest economy in the world with the eclectic leadership team they have.
Nothing on how they would balance the budget whilst delivering their promise to maintain defence spending.
Nothing on how they would replace the 50 per cent of UK trade that is with Europe and jobs that could be lost as a result, other than apparently spending the savings in UK contribution to the EU budget two or three times over.
Nothing on how the UK would be able to influence world events when outside the EU with the reduced standing and authority that would inevitably mean to UK, whilst still having to conform to international trade and related treaties with no seat to vote at the table.
Nothing substantive on health, education, business development, environment (other than cutting carbon taxes); the list goes on.
If UKIP aspires to be a Party of Government and taken seriously then it needs to answer these and many other questions fully.
Equally its leaders locally need to show they have the resolution and conviction to subject themselves for re-election when moving to a different party and not deny electors that option as is the case with former Tory councillor Roger Arthur, but he remains silent on that call which is in itself informative.