Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Blogpost: Mr Perrin looks at Ukip’s “missed opportunities”

Mr Perrin’s blog. “A Word in Your Ear”.

As Councillors, their guests and others gathered for the first meeting of the Full Council since the elections on 22nd May there was an air of great expectation which, in the event, turned into disappointment and at times utter boredom mainly due to the decision of the UKIP Councillors to abstain on virtually every item on the agenda thus prompting the Conservatives to call for a “requisition” vote on all matters required to be voted on. At the conclusion of the meeting I spoke with a member of UKIP who informed me the reasons for abstaining was they did not want to be seen to be “taking sides” and in any event they were not sufficiently briefed as to the capabilities of those being nominated for Chairs of Committees etc. to be able to make informed decisions.

That may well be the case but I believe the UKIP Councillors missed the opportunity to impress upon the Labour and Conservative groups that they were not just the beneficiaries of a protest vote but were elected because they were more in tune with the concerns and aspirations of a vast and growing number of indigenous citizens of the UK. One of their oft repeated pledges is “a vote for UKIP is a vote for change to the current political systems” both locally and nationally. Given the opportunity to demonstrate their influence in the Council Chamber by casting their votes they chose instead to allow Labour and Conservative Councillors to fight it out between them. By abstaining you surrender the power to influence and make an impression, the only impression made by “sitting on the fence” is the one made on your backside.

I also believe the UKIP Councillors missed an opportunity to go some way to silencing those who accuse them of being “racist”; I speak of the election of a Mayor. As a consequence of the defeat of their candidate, Wendy Curtis, in the local election, the Labour Party was forced to select a substitute candidate, namely Cllr Steve Liddiard, the Conservative candidate being Cllr Tunde Ojetola. For the benefit of those who do not know him Cllr Ojetola is of ethnic origin. If, instead of abstaining, the UKIP Councillors had been more astute and voted for Cllr Ojetola, Thurrock would now have a Mayor of ethnic origin, who has been a Councillor for the past ten years and whose record speaks for itself, which is not to say that Cllr Liddiard is in any way unworthy of the position. If UKIP Councillors felt disinclined to oppose Labour’s choice for Mayor then would it not have been wiser of them to support Cllr Ojetola for Deputy Mayor.

Beware, when “finger-pointing” and shouting racist, lest the” finger” points elsewhere and recalls that 3 years ago Cllr Kent sacrificed Yash Gupta, the Labour candidate for Mayor, when the then outgoing Mayor, Ms Cheale, made it known that she was not prepared to vote for Yash Gupta or Tunde Ojetola both of them of ethnic origin. Cllr Kent did not challenge her reasons instead, because he needed her support to continue in power, he acquiesced and replaced Yash Gupta with a candidate Ms Cheale found acceptable. I believe there was a stronger “whiff” of racism in the conduct of Ms Cheale than expressing concerns about uncontrolled immigration.

If the UKIP Councillors reasons for abstaining, i.e. they were not sufficiently briefed on the capabilities of other Councillors, is to be believed, I am intrigued as to why they made exceptions in the case of Cllrs Susan and Brian Little, especially in the case of Brian Little who was elected for the first time but, despite he had no previous record as a Councillor on which to be judged, UKIP supported his nomination as Vice-Chair of the Planning Committee. Do UKIP have a special affinity with Susan and Brian or is a “Little” cosy relationship developing the outcome yet to be made known?

11 COMMENTS

  1. Blah, UKIP magic bullet, riding a tide of ultra nationalist nostalgia anti European Union, anti immigrant populism. The UKIP are wrong on both counts, both the EU and immigrants enrich the UK. If UKIP are left unchallenged, they will bankrupt us all, ruin many a worldclass business and denude our NHS of all those excellent medics in our NHS. Pete, i disagree, you do Ms Cheale a grave disservice, a woman of great principle whose public service enriched our lives in Thurrock…

  2. c100boyz, please explain how uncontrolled mass immigtartion has enriched the UK, our housing stock and hospitals are at breaking point, our benefits system is being raped daily by EU immigrants who have not paid into the system.

    The fishing and farming industries in the UK have been decimated by the EU, we pay billions to the EU with little resturn, we are unable to set our own laws in the UK without interference from the EU, even now they are jeopardizing the health of the country by relaxing the abattoir laws on checking carcasses.

    The international aid that the UK pay out is actually borrowed from the EU and is subject to interest on the pay back,

    Come the 1st of November 2014 the UK effectively loses control to legislate over 43 areas due to QMV, these include Asylum, Border Control, Civil Protection, Criminal Law, Transport & Withdrawal of Member States, so in essence the UK Parliament comes to an effective end.

    We do not have to be part of the EU to be in Europe and we can trade throughout the whole of the world on our own.

    The current freedom of movement within the EU has created a two tier immigration system

  3. Lambo, if you get bored half way down, I apologise but here we go..No problem at all. Leaving the EU would not necessarily resolve the democratic deficit felt by many of us in Britain. Take for instance the option to follow Norway into the Euro Economic Area EEA to preserve access to the European Single Market. For business savvy Britons such a Single market of several hundred millions of western consumers for duly authorised goods and services brings money into the UK by the boatload. EEA countries like Norway make their own laws on Farming, Fishing, justice, overseas aid and regional funding but are duty bound to accept every EU law with regard to the four freedoms, the movement of capital, goods, people and services – all of which underpin the Single Market. This obligation on EEA countries includes all the social and employment legislation, competition, consumer protection and most if not all environmental laws that are integral to the European Single Market. As an EU member, Britain was able to get an opt out from the 48 hour week. If the UK left the EU the blocking mechanism used as a member would cease and it is estimated that one element of the working time directive alone would cost British business close on £12bn. In addition EEA countries like Norway accept the free movement of workers like the EU and have the same access to welfare systems.
    Okay you say well what about The Swiss. Switzerland is in the EFTA otherwise known as the Euro free trade association. The Swiss are outside the Euro Single Market and just have a free trade agreement for goods and not services. The Swiss have adopted a policy of ‘voluntary adaption’ which aligns Swiss law with the EU! In many ways the Swiss policy of voluntary adaption means they are even more deeply integrated with the EU than their status as a non member may indicate.
    Aha, you say lets just do bilateral trade agreements with every country individually. Now how many international firms trading in London are going to wait for that to feed through. Easier to relocate to a more friendly EU country.
    Having said all this, The key to success in anything is commitment and participation. Whilst the Uk has about 13% of the population, just 5% of the all powerful EU commission officials are British. This one stat alone worries me more than most and whilst our main political parties have proved themselves singularly useless in outline the positive case for Europe and European Union. In such a vacuum, Eurosceptics and xenophobic parties like UKIP thrive.
    In conclusion, there is undoubtedly a democratic deficit with Europe, i am not convinced however that there is a convenient workable alternative. However I am always listening. Over to you my friend…

  4. Europe 10 good points
    To mark the anniversary of the Treaty of Rome on 25 March, we note here 10 things the EU has done for the ordinary citizen.

    EASY TRAVEL

    It is much easier now for Europeans to move to neighbouring states

    In the old days, travellers in Europe had to put up with different currencies, regular border crossings and customs checks, and even trains of different gauges – you climbed out of a French train, walked across the border, and got into a Spanish train of a slightly different size. Now one currency, the euro, suffices for most European countries and border posts have been abandoned between the 15 countries that have implemented the Schengen accords. Holidaymakers are fully covered for any emergency hospital treatment they may need in another EU country, driving licences issued in one EU country are valid in any other, and any driver insured in one member state has at least third-party cover in the rest. If you are travelling with a tour operator, the company must have systems in place to get you home if it goes bust while you are away.

    LIVING ABROAD

    Europeans are generally free to go where they want within the EU to live or work, and some 15 million Europeans have moved across borders to exercise this right. For example, more than 300,000 people are drawing UK state pensions in other member states (mostly Spain and Ireland). Older member states have imposed temporary labour restrictions on workers from countries in Eastern Europe which joined in 2004 – but these will gradually be phased out. An EU citizen living in another EU country enjoys equal treatment with nationals of the host country in terms of welfare protection, and can stand for office in local and European Parliament elections.

    EQUAL PAY & NON-DISCRIMINATION

    The EU has standardised and strengthened workers’ rights

    The principle of equal pay for men and women was enshrined in the 1957 Treaty of Rome, which first established the European Community. The principle has been turned steadily into reality. A 1975 directive ensured that women paid less than men for the same job got the right of redress through the courts, and protection against dismissal. More recently EU legislation has awarded part-time employees, who are often women, the same rights as people working full-time. Discrimination on the basis of race or sexual orientation is also outlawed. And age discrimination laws which came into force in the UK and other member states in 2006 stemmed directly from legislation passed at EU level.

    PAID LEAVE

    The EU Working Time Directive ensures that all Europeans get at least four weeks of paid holiday per year. In the US, there is no statutory minimum and many employees get only two weeks of paid annual leave. The same directive guarantees workers 11 hours rest in every 24 hours, one day of rest per week, and a rest break if the working day is longer than six hours. EU legislation also sets minimum standards for paid maternity and paternity leave throughout the EU.

    FOREIGN STUDY

    Thousands of students take part in foreign exchanges ever year under the EU’s Erasmus programme. In the 2003-4 academic year, 7,500 UK students spent between three and 12 months at a university in one of the other member states. The programme helps students learn foreign language, gain experience of another culture, and profit from the host country’s expertise in their field of study. People who want to attend a university in another EU country can also apply to do their entire degree course there, without having to pay extra charges imposed on foreign students from outside the EU.

    CHEAP FLIGHTS

    The EU swept away barriers to free competition in the air transport market in the 1980s and 1990s, paving the way for the emergence of budget airlines. Between 1992 and 2000 prices at the cheaper end of the market fell by 40%. At the same time, consumers benefited from a wider choice of both carriers and destinations, the number of routes linking EU member states increasing by nearly 50%.

    CHEAP TELEPHONE CALLS

    During the 1990s, the EU broke the monopolies held by public telecoms operators. The result was a doubling of the number of fixed-line operators between 1998 and 2003, rapid introduction of new technology, and lower prices. According to the European Commission, the price of international telephone calls in the EU has fallen by 80% since 1984. The EU has now begun taking action to reduce the cost of roaming on mobile phones.

    CONSUMER PROTECTION

    Consumers can send back a product bought anywhere in the EU if it breaks down within two years of purchase. People shopping on the internet, by telephone or mail order, can also change their mind within seven days, and cancel the contract without giving a reason. EU law prohibits misleading advertising and requires that all products put on the market are safe. Shoppers who buy goods for their own use in one EU country can take them to another EU country without paying excise duty, as long as they accompany them.

    FOOD LABELLING

    Under EU law, all ingredients used in food products must be listed. Any GM ingredients must be flagged up, as must colouring, preservatives, sweeteners and other chemical additives. Any ingredients that consumers may be allergic to, such as nuts, must be marked, even if the quantities used are very small. EU laws define the conditions food must meet to be described as organic, and ensure that a name associated with a high-quality product from a particular region, such as Parma ham, cannot be used to describe a product of lower quality, or one from a different region.

    CLEAN RIVERS AND CLEAN AIR

    The EU is widely credited with forcing the pace on improvements to the quality of air, rivers and beaches. Member states might have done the job independently in their own time, but peer pressure upped the tempo when European ministers got together to pass laws. Measures such as the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive have led to dramatic improvements in the rivers over the last 30 years, making possible, for example, the return of otters to the British countryside. Other legislation has greatly reduced the problem of acid rain; the UK, once the “dirty man of Europe” cut sulphur emissions by 73% between 1990 and 2002. And if 30 years ago most British beaches failed the test of the EU Bathing Water Directive, now 98% of them get the thumbs-up.

  5. c100boyz – I hope you will not consider it impolite of me when I say your dismissive remarks on the judgement of voters, not only in Thurrock but throughout the UK, and illustrates how out-of-step you, and most politicians are, with the majority view on “uncontrolled” immigration. You say immigrants “enrich the UK”,probably some do, but most of the “enriching” goes into the pockets of employers, who employ immigrants as a source of “cheap” labour, at the expense of the indigenous work force. You accuse UKIP of being xenophobic but, in my opinion it is not being xenophobic or racist to express one’s concerns about the consequences of “uncontrolled” immigration. You speak of “all those excellent medics in our NHS” but fail to mention that they are employed, not because they are better than a British equivalent or the lack of qualified British workers, but simply because they are prepared to do the job for less money. Your apparent support for uncontrolled immigration is, like that of the politicians, at best complacent at worst downright irresponsible. I get the impression that you are someone who is unlikely to have been affected by a person from another country “taking” your job, again, not because he is better qualified than you but simply cheaper.
    Regarding Ms Cheale, you say “I do her a “grave” disservice she is a woman of great principle whose public service enriched our lives in Thurrock”. She may well be all the things you say, though I doubt most people in Thurrock would know who she was let alone recall one thing Ms Cheale had done which “enriched” their lives. I admire your chivalry in the defence of Ms Cheale, but her public service however good, does not mitigate her conduct with regard to Cllrs Gupta and Ojetola. You seem reluctant to view the conduct of Ms Cheale, in this matter, in the same way you view, what you perceive, the xenophobia of UKIP. Ms Cheale declined to support the nomination of the two Councillors for the posts of Mayor or Deputy Mayor which, in the absence of any other explanation, it is reasonable to conclude she opposed their nomination on the grounds of their ethnicity and in my book that is nothing other than discrimination motivated by racism. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

  6. c100boyz – I hope you will not consider it impolite of me when I say your dismissive remarks on the judgement of voters, not only in Thurrock but throughout the UK, illustrates how out-of-step you, and most politicians are, with the majority view on “uncontrolled” immigration. You say immigrants “enrich the UK”,probably some do, but most of the “enriching” goes into the pockets of employers, who employ immigrants as a source of “cheap” labour, at the expense of the indigenous work force. You accuse UKIP of being xenophobic but, in my opinion it is not being xenophobic or racist to express one’s concerns about the consequences of “uncontrolled” immigration. You speak of “all those excellent medics in our NHS” but fail to mention that they are employed, not because they are better than a British equivalent or the lack of qualified British workers, but simply because they are prepared to do the job for less money. Your apparent support for uncontrolled immigration is, like that of the politicians, at best complacent at worst downright irresponsible. I get the impression that you are someone who is unlikely to have been affected by a person from another country “taking” your job, again, not because he is better qualified than you but simply cheaper.
    Regarding Ms Cheale, you say “I do her a “grave” disservice she is a woman of great principle whose public service enriched our lives in Thurrock”. She may well be all the things you say, though I doubt most people in Thurrock would know who she was let alone recall one thing Ms Cheale had done which “enriched” their lives. I admire your chivalry in the defence of Ms Cheale, but her public service however good, does not mitigate her conduct with regard to Cllrs Gupta and Ojetola. You seem reluctant to view the conduct of Ms Cheale, in this matter, in the same way you view, what you perceive, the xenophobia of UKIP. Ms Cheale declined to support the nomination of the two Councillors for the posts of Mayor or Deputy Mayor which, in the absence of any other explanation, it is reasonable to conclude she opposed their nomination on the grounds of their ethnicity and in my book that is nothing other than discrimination motivated by racism. A rose by any other name is still a rose.

  7. Pete, i don’t do personal. My free trade views are driven by the hard lessons of history. Mostly by the particular 19th century hard lessons emanating from the Corn laws. Protectionism in all its forms is unhealthy. Restricting the free movement of people, goods and services

  8. Pete, pressed post it button too early. Restricting the free movement of capital, people, goods and services will impoverish us all. UKIP are simply selling ‘snake oil’. I don’t mind swimming against the anti Euro tide. Vince63 has eloquently set out many of good points about Europe that recent electoral evidence seems to suggest that people have taken for granted.

  9. So where do we stop on free movement of Labour? When another 5 million have entered the country, 10 million.
    The argument will be that those people won’t come because of free market economics i.e, the jobs won’t be here. Cobblers I think. They’ll keep on coming because they’ll still have a better life here, even without a job, than they would do in their own country or others. Or until this country gets to such a point that it’s institutions start to completely break down.
    Then we get the threats of economic armageddon if we leave the EU completely. The EU is on the edge of a cliff staring down at yet more recession. So the first thing they’ll do if this country leaves Europe is to completely stop trading with this country because they don’t have a piece of paper that tells them they can. BMW, Audi, Citroen, Renault, Seat will all turn round and say we’re not going to sell cars to you any more. Hundreds of billions of pounds of trade will automatically stop. Millions more Europeans will be thrown on to the unemployment registers.
    Then we are told all international companies will automatically leave. Why? Because of the lower tax rates in Europe. Because there’s a centre of trade ready and waiting for them to move into. Because there are factories and trained workforces ready and waiting to take over. Because there’ll be no cost to them of uprooting decades of trading within this country.
    What about if this country also turned around and said, ok all EU citizens have to leave if this is Europe’s response to the UK leaving the EU. Millions of people flooding into Europe with no job and no money.
    One of the other questions that might want to be asked in the international community. Would they really want to see the UK bankrupted by the economic Armageddon threatened by Europe.? How many European armies are going to back America when they want backing for a conflict.
    If the economic Armageddon happens, there’ll be trade opportunities for other countries to exploit, plenty of office space in London, factories ready to go, a trained workforce. Does Europe seriously think the rest of the world will watch the UK go down the tubes. Will Europe want to pick a trade war those countries, who see Europe as a bad bet already considering they will have lost hundreds of billions of pounds of trade with the UK already.
    Will Europe want to see an unstable UK just off it’s shores where nationalism will grow ever stronger and resentment of Europe festers. Or will they be sensible about things.
    The argument of the pro EU lobby appears to be that nothing but Armageddon will happen because there isn’t a piece of paper with some regulations on it, some laws on it, an agreement on it. There isn’t a bureaucracy in place to oversee all this.
    Finally we are a net contributor to the EU. I wonder how well it will go down with the voters in Germany, France, Italy, Holland etc when they are told they need to pick up the UK tab so that it can be doled out to the other countries that are net recipients of EU funding. Considering the rise of right wing parties in Europe, I think it is the politicians in Europe that should be careful what they wish for.

  10. Look it is easy. UKIP’s snake oil is ‘we leave the EU and we boot out all those immigrants’. More likely scenario, sadly, is that the UK leave the EU and the UK joins the EEA to preserve trade privileges to the EU Single Market, or it goes the Swiss route with a free trade agreement and pursues a voluntary adaption approach to legislation. In any case international trade in goods and services will demand equivalence in terms of legislation and regulation. Such is the harsh reality of commercial life. Sounds like this potential Euro disruption will be a boom for our City Lawyers. In any case, whatever model the Uk pursues, this country will remain attractive to hardworking and talented foreigners who will continue be welcome on these shores. Tough!

  11. There is no snake oil from UKIP. The snake oil is from the other side. It’s their way or no way. I agree, immigration will continue and long may it do so, only not at it’s current levels. The EU is finished. Long live the Emperor Merkel. The EU is finished. Junkyard is their last attempt at total federalisation. After he’s had his morning drinkies of course.

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