A hundred years ago this year the First World War broke out in Europe. Twenty five years later the Second World War broke out again in Europe. Both had their root cause in the scourge of nationalism and xenophobia.
My Grandfather fought in WW1, my Father, Uncle and Father in Law fought in WW2. They lost family and friends in that conflict which killed millions including the extermination of 6 million Jews (largely for being scapegoated as a problem by the Nazis), millions more were displaced and Europe was divided for another 45 years.
For the last 70 years there has been peace between the major European nations; neither I nor my sons have to repeat the sacrifice made by our forbears. Achieving that long lasting peace is a direct result of the formation of the European Union and nations working together under NATO.
Now on the back of scaremongering, misinformation and abuse of statistics, the divisive Nationalist scourge has returned, led by UKIP and its membership which includes acknowledged racists, xenophobes and bigots. Those who blame all UKs ills on the EU and like previous zealots, target immigrants and minorities in their cause; read their election literature which contains scaremongering half truths and implies not voting UKIP is unpatriotic.
As Samuel Johnson acknowledged, ‘Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel’, whilst Oscar Wilde said ‘Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious’. There is an underlying viciousness and double standards in UKIP philosophy and amongst its membership.
Members like Mr Lempatt, featured in UKIP’s advertising, himself an immigrant who wants to turn others who seek to better themselves in the UK away or Mr Farage married to a German but not wanting others to have the opportunity to be so blessed!
The UK has a proud history of tolerance and welcoming the oppressed and providing sanctuary to those in need who have gone on to enrich our country, economy and culture.
UKIP is a policy desert, other than repeating the tired rhetoric of redirecting repatriated UK contributions to the EC, whilst failing to mention the funds, grants and support that the EC provides to UK in return.
It is silent on replacing the 3 – 4 million lost jobs and economic activity that would result from our leaving the EC. Silent on how it’s the impact of the Global economy and the BRIC countries that we need to address and how that is best achieved from within Europe not outside as little Englander isolationists personified by UKIP.
UKIP say 75 per cent of laws affecting the UK are made in Brussels; the figure is seven per cent. UK retains effective sovereignty on health, education, defence, foreign, housing, social and most key economic policies.
The UK has devolved significant powers to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Welsh Parliaments, all regions that have benefited significantly from EU economic support and policies.
The UK is part of a global family of nations that cannot isolate itself from their influence whether UKIP likes it or not.
UKIP scare monger by saying 26 million Europeans are after our jobs, but provide no basis for that number. Like so many UKIP pronouncements it’s based on unsophisticated, un-nuanced rhetoric from the Tabloids not serious analysis of facts.
UKIP falsely claimed that 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians would descend on the UK once the borders were open; yet the population of Romania is 20 million and Bulgaria 7 million, so 27 million combined and only a few have come since the borders were opened.
But without overseas migrants doing jobs UK citizens cannot or won’t do, many parts of our economy would falter, our health service would not function, core parts of our services and infrastructure would fail but UKIP provide no answer to such arguments preferring the rhetoric of the Farage superficial sound bite.
UKIP remain silent on the plight of 5 million British citizens who live abroad many in Europe, whose jobs and lives would be adversely affected by our withdrawal from the EC and may suffer from overseas Government retaliation to UK increased border controls.
KIP campaigns on fear, pandering to the worst narrow human emotions, on the negative blaming all UK ills on Europe; when for example increasing longevity and changes in family formation through increased divorce and later marriage are at the root of many social issues, that successive Governments have failed to address through housing and social policies.
The residents of Horsham have a choice on the 22nd of May to vote for a party that supports our full participation in Europe to retain peace and prosperity, or those that seek UK isolation and inevitable economic and social decline some of whose members have the poorest attendance and voting records in the European Parliament yet claim their full salaries and expenses, often for use in unexplained ways!