Apologies for the dreadul pun dear reader, but the first piece of election junk mail dropped on the mat at Beardy towers this morning, so I thought I'd subject it to some analysis....
UKIP's strategy is entirely based around exploiting people's fears with assertions rather than arguments - some of the wild statements in their leaflet could be lifted straight off the front page of the Daily Mail. This is lazy politics - but I guess its easier to point out problems than propose solutions (especially if the problems are largely presented with a very narrow, subjective slant....after all, why let the truth get in the way of a good story)
Let's look at some examples:
"Without Brussels red tape, British business would boom and create more jobs" - whats the evidence for this? Brussels doesn't just legislate for the UK, but for the whole EU...surely if the red tape is hampering british business, it would be equally effecting the industries of France, Germany and all the other member states.
"EU law allows foreign companies to buy our utility companies, who then over charge us" - yes, and it also allows British companies to buy foreign utility companies - unfortunately, british business has failed to seize this opportunity to compete aggressively abroad, preferring instead to sell-out and take short-term profits.
"We could stop unlimited EU immigration"...whoa there, that's a double edged sword - what about the thousands of Brits who choose to live in other EU countries? The pensioners who decide to enjoy some sun in their retirement years, and the business people who go abroad and work bloody hard? Guess what people....people from other European countries are not that different to us!! The ones I've met who live and work in the UK are hard working, honest, and contribute both economically, and socially. In my book, these are the people we want in the South West to drive the economy forward.
"Water bills are also rising by 20%, thanks to new EU regulations" - These will be reglations which improve the quality and cleanliness of our water supply? Erm...unless I'm missing something, that sounds like a good thing to me - I've no wish to drink water contaminated with raw sewage. The costs are set by the water companies who want to make excessive profits, not the EU.
"Car repair prices could double" Another scare statement - why not add "Your first born COULD be taken into slavery" for good measure?
I could give more examples, but I'm getting bored and angry - in fact every statement in the leaflet lacks evidence and objectivity.
I'm confused what UKIPs angle is in the elections for the European Parliament - as a party, they are committed to withdrawing Britain from the EU - yet this would be a decision taken in Westminster, not Brussels. So what exactly do the UKIP MEPs achieve, apart from milking the system in terms of allowances, just like the other parties. Still, who gives a toss about the electorate, providing the parties and their representatives are getting their snouts deep in the trough. It sickens me.
Withdrawal from the EU might be the right answer for the UK...but before we take that step I believe we have a responsibility to try and put things right from within the system. Please give me the opportunity to take on that responsibility. Text WILBAR01 to 86837