Friday, 26 September 2008

Vincent De Roeck on UKIP - Why a Belgian libertarian blogger supports a British political party

Vincent De Roeck, the noted Belgian eurosceptic, has very kindly supplied a translation of an article he wrote about, amongst other things, UKIP:

Vincent De Roeck on UKIP - Why a Belgian libertarian blogger supports a British political party

Europe’s main Eurosceptical formation, the United Kingdom Independence Party, of which I am a staunch supporter, held its annual convention earlier this month in Bournemouth, England. My personal affection for UKIP dates back to their “Say No!”-campaign and the EU elections of 2004. But since the party at that time was mainly dominated by leftists and statists like Robert Kilroy-Silk or Ashley Mote, I could only agree upon their stands regarding further EU integration back then.

But this overall situation soon started to improve. In the aftermath of the grand victory of UKIP in the 2004 elections, both Kilroy-Silk and Mote left the party, voluntarily or not, and they took the entire socialist and right-extremist wings of UKIP along with them. And thank God they did…

When Nigel Farage MEP, a colourful politician known for his flamboyant speeches and boyish style, finally rose to power and became the new party leader, a fresh breath of air was released within UKIP. Farage immediately got rid of many old policies and viewpoints, and went back to the core of Anglo-Saxon conservatism. He not only embraced the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, but also started to defend more libertarian values, often against the wills, customs and plans of the old party bosses.

But Farage never minded this and in spite of being subject to harsh opposition, his reformist steadfastness eventually prevailed. Farage finally managed to secure this new libertarian-like platform on this year’s UKIP convention, turning me - and many other continental Eurocritical libertarians with me - into even bigger supporters of UKIP. A true libertarian party in Britain at last.

And it is not only in continental Europe that this new UKIP platform with conservative, libertarian and Eurosceptical accents is well received. Polls and inquiries in Britain also show that UKIP is once again on the rise, even with the Tories adopting a more anti-EU platform as well. During the 2004-2009 session of the EU Parliament, UKIP achieved not by hazard a highly respectable and ideologically consistent status among both libertarians and conservatives.

Proof? Two Tory Members of the House of Lords and one Conservative Member of the House of Commons defected to UKIP in the past years, and many Tory MEPs today - like Daniel Hannan or Roger Helmer - are even publicly supportive of UKIP positions in the area of EU politics.

In their convention in Bournemouth, UKIP also reached out to more moderate Britons by changing its aggressive tone and rhetoric, without hurting their underlying libertarian-leaning philosophy in any way. For instance, the cheap populist slogan “Let’s get our country back!” was finally removed and replaced by “Freedom to choose”, not by accident the same name as Milton Friedman’s notorious movie series.

So in brief, the new UKIP is not only simply refreshing to watch but also to rally behind, and hopefully, they can achieve even greater things in June 2009 than they did five years ago. Europe counts on them.


Anonymous said...

You can still vote YES to Free Europe at

Why wait?