Ukip’s Rise Should Provoke Soul-Searching Among Our Political Class

So the Ukip mask of respectability, always very thin and ill-fitting, has slipped. After what’s now generally known as Nigel Farage’s “car-crash LBC interview” and a leader in the Sun saying that the party’s position is “racist”, the party has been forced to take out a full page advert in the Telegraph to counter Ukip’s perception as a bunch of xenophobes.

Just consider the “clarification” Nigel Farage offered, in careful consideration in the cold light of day on Saturday morning: “any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door”. That is a statement that can only be described as bigoted, racist and disgusting. Those “Romanian people” might be doctors, or IT professionals or care workers, or Roma seeking a better life away from prejudice and as likely as any other people to be good neighbours, who’ll feed the cat or lend you a cup of sugar.

However, as the Telegraph points out, with probably up to 40% of votes in the European election already cast (by post), the immediate electoral impact may be limited. But it should be a powerful reason for every voter opposed to Ukip’s approach to immigration, Europe, charging for NHS services and many other issues to take ten minutes to get to the polling station on Thursday.

What Ukip’s rise should do is provoke seriously soul-searching among our political class about why it has been able to get so far with its dangerous, divisive and damaging rhetoric, and been almost unchallenged.

The three largest parties haven’t taken on Ukip, but all too often pandered to it, seeking to pull back Ukip voters by outdoing it in rhetoric and policy.

The Tories and Lib Dems have introduced the dreadful Immigration Bill, which seeks to turn landlords and NHS staff into immigration agents. And just this weekend, we saw Ed Miliband again grovelling in apology at the former Labour government’s immigration policies. Do we see similar words on its disastrous encouragement of financial sector excesses, of the fact that after 13 years of a Labour government inequality had actually increased? No.

This is not only morally wrong, but politically stupid. By pandering to Ukip’s stance on immigration and Europe, the three largest parties have helped to make its claims that immigration has “caused” low wages, has “caused” housing shortages, has “caused” crowded hospitals and schools seem plausible. Continue reading

Greens must be included in any national election debate

ktKeith Taylor, one of two Green MEPs for the UK, has demanded that the Green Party is included in any television debate ahead of the European Elections, his call comes after Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to a debate ahead of the European Elections.

Mr Taylor also attacked the Lib Dem’s for attempting to brand themselves as a ‘party of change.’

Mr Taylor went on to criticise UKIP for their ‘inability to represent the people who voted for them’.

Mr Taylor represents the same region as Nigel Farage, but has been present at double the amount of key votes in the European Parliament than the UKIP leader.

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for South East England, said:

“It’s clear that voters want to see a change at this European election, and it goes without saying that the Lib Dems, a party in Government, won’t offer anything new. It’s no wonder voters are abandoning Clegg’s party in droves.

If there is to be a national television or radio election debate before the European elections then I fully expect the Green Party, which has representation in both Brussels and Westminster, to be invited.”

“In the European elections we need to see the right kind of change. That means voting for politicians who want to change the EU to make it more accountable to all of us, rather than allowing it to continue to serve big business.

As Lib Dems in the cabinet sit by and watch while the Government offers handouts to fracking firms and cuts the budget of the Environment Agency, it’s clear that they can’t be trusted to protect our environment.

Only the Greens are offering people a chance to make a real change in these elections. We want to stay in the EU, but unlike the Lib Dems we support a referendum so we can all have a say. We want things in Brussels to change, but unlike UKIP we want to continue working with our European Neighbours as part of the EU.

UKIP’s voting record in the European Parliament shows their inability to represent the people who voted for them. They often don’t turn up for the crucial votes that affect all of our lives.

As the UK faces queues at food banks, flooded streets and fracking in our countryside it is clear that change is needed. Greens are the only ones offering voters the right kind of change.”

See more here

“Extreme weather shows action on climate change is urgently needed”


“Extreme weather shows action on climate change is urgently needed” says North West Green Party

After high winds hit the region this week the North West Green Party has highlighted the urgent need for political action to tackle climate change and the threat of increased extreme weather.

Peter Cranie, the North West Green Party’s lead candidate for the European elections, said: “On Wednesday night 100mph winds battered the North West, causing major disruption and injuries. While individual weather events can’t be explicitly linked to climate change the evidence suggests that due to climate change we can expect more of this kind of extreme weather in the future. For too long politicians have avoided the issue. But now the consequences of a warming planet are here. The Met Office recognise it, the Prime Minister accepts it and we now need urgent action to protect us from future extreme weather.”

Ahead of this year’s European elections Peter Cranie criticised the Conservatives and UKIP for voting against European action to tackle flooding. In a European Parliament vote on the implementation of EU water legislation designed to tackle the ‘rise in the frequency and intensity of floods’ one of the region’s Conservative MEPs, Sir Robert Atkins, voted against the plans and the other two, Jacqueline Foster and Sajjad Karim, and the region’s UKIP MEP, Paul Nuttall failed to turn up to vote [1]. The motion called on the European Commission to conduct ‘a relevant analysis of the ways to prevent the effects of flooding, given the noticeable increase in the flood risk in Member States in recent years’.

Peter Cranie said: “David Cameron and Nigel Farage have pulled on their wellies and waders to stand in the flood waters looking sympathetic, while in the European Parliament their party members fail to support action to tackle flooding. While better planning and flood defences will help us mitigate some of the risks of climate change, the only way to properly protect ourselves is to take radical action to lower our reliance on fossil fuels.”

He concluded: “If the government is serious about protecting the UK from flooding, and wants to live up to its claim of being the ‘greenest government ever’ then it must end its obsession with climate change causing energy production like fracking and its hostility towards renewable energy sources.”