In Defence of Liberty

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European Elections 2014: UKIP and Conservatives

Unsurprisingly, UKIP focussed their arguments on EU membership, whilst the Conservatives began with economic matters. (Edited: BBC)

Unsurprisingly, UKIP focussed their arguments on EU membership, whilst the Conservatives began with economic matters. (Edited: BBC)

UKIP

Simple guitar music strums. Jack Duffin, the UKIP member who ran for presidency of the NUS, overlooks the Westminster parliament, laments:

The last two generations have been robbed of the opportunity to vote on the EU, and yet it has greater impact on our everyday lives than anything that takes place here. We need to put this issue to bed now, and not leave it for another generation.

(Video: ukipmedia)

The film then proceeds to alternate between voice-overs from its candidates, elected officials and supporters, and statements about the European Union and immigration are shown on-screen – thankfully with citations. A builder opines on the state of his industry:

Since the lads from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for a lot less than anybody else, I’ve found it a real struggle; it’s getting hard to provide for my family.

This builder is UKIP local election candidate Andre Lampitt, who was later suspended from the party partly for saying on social media that Labour leader Ed Miliband was “not a real Brit”, as “he was only born here”. Construction is also a growing industry in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, there are 29,000 more jobs in construction in September 2013 than a year before, and construction wages are also increasing. Furthermore, there are also more vacancies in construction work.

On matters of the European Court of Human Rights, UKIP candidate Lizzy Vaid says “voting is a civic right, not a human right”, despite “universal and equal suffrage” being part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The broadcast does correctly identify that all businesses in the UK must adhere to EU guidelines, whilst only 5% of businesses actually export to the EU. The EU’s common market is not one of mutual recognition of products, but of sprawling universal rules. UKIP leader Nigel Farage finishes the film talking in a pub, urging the broadcast’s viewers to “join our People’s Army and cause an earthquake in British politics.”

Conservatives

The Conservative broadcast begins with the narrator speaking over quotes from the other three main party leaders:

Some people don’t think real change in Europe is possible. Some people don’t think real change is necessary. Some people don’t think it’s worth fighting for.

(Video: liarpoliticians)

The narrator then turns to the national economy, speaking about the “difficult decisions”. Whilst it is a bit of a mouthful, they say that: “David Cameron, backed a strong team of Conservative MEPs, has taken action to stand up for Britain: vetoing a new EU fiscal treaty that didn’t guarantee a level playing field for British businesses”; as the latter phrase appears on the screen. The broadcast is heavily focussed on the Prime Minister, playing clips of David Cameron highlighting successes like cutting the EU budget. It is claimed that the EU’s budget cut will save “British taxpayers over £8bn”. There is no citation, and the British contribution to the EU’s budget is predicted to rise by £10bn over the next five years, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.

A mini-manifesto wants the government to “crack down on benefit tourism”. However, it is not clear that benefit tourism is a major concern. A European Commission study found “little evidence in the literature and stakeholder consultations to suggest that the main motivation of EU citizens to migrate and reside in a different member state is benefit-related, as opposed to work or family-related”. Newspapers emitted the figure of 600,000 EU migrants who are ‘economically inactive’, but this is not equivalent to being unemployed. For example, EU students without work would be considered ‘economically inactive’. According to the ONS, EU nationals have a higher employment rate than UK nationals.

David Cameron turns his fire against Labour, the Liberal Democrats and UKIP:

We will give you the final decision with an In-Out referendum by the end of 2017. Labour and the Lib Dems oppose our plan, and they refuse to give you a say; and UKIP: they simply can’t deliver on anything they promise. Only the Conservatives will stand up for Britain and let you have your say. Only by voting Conservative on May the 22nd can you get real change in Europe.

After all these broadcasts and leaflets, the vote now awaits.

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This entry was posted on May 10, 2014 by in European Politics and tagged , , , .
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