Friday, 2 October 2009

Mystery, intrigue and rumour - a day in the life of UKIP!

Earlier today a report was leaked on the UKIP members' forum that MEPs had been discussing a proposal to create a pan-EU eurosceptic party.

This naturally met with some pretty robust opposition. UKIP contests EU elections to get funding, oppose stupid directives, take the piss out of the eurofederalists in their own parliament and to get information that we wouldn't normally get. The general consensus is that creating a pan-EU party like Libertas would be a step too far, too much like joining the establishment.

The story goes that at the MEPs meeting this was suggested, they were told that up to £900k in funding was available from the European Empire and that all MEPs present bar 2 were in favour.

Once I'd got off my soap box I decided to get some first hand information. First things first, I confirmed that the meeting had taken place and that this had been discussed by talking to a couple of MEPs. Satisfied that it had, indeed, happened I emailed all the MEPs asking for the meeting to be put in context:
Dear MEP,
As it has been confirmed that the possibility of UKIP joining or forming a pan-EU party was discussed at the the MEPs meeting, can you now please put this into context?
The reaction so far to the news that it was even discussed has been overwhelmingly negative and to leave the rumour mill running without a clear and unequivocal statement from the party is unhelpful.
Was this proposed to the party, either internally or by the EU, or was it simply exercising due dilligence? If it was proposed, from whom did this proposal come? Which MEPs supported the idea and which MEPs opposed it? Is it safe to assume that the promises to resign if it ever happens from many members on the UKIP members' forum is enough to ensure that this isn't going to be considered now or in the future? £900k (if that figure is correct) is a lot of money to a party our size but there won't be much to spend it on if we don't have any members.
Stuart Parr
I have so far had an email from Nigel Farage's office and one from Gerard Batten and phone calls from Nikki Sinclair, Mike Nattrass and Nigel Farage.

Nikki and Mike both said they were opposed to the idea of a pan-EU party although they differed on how serious a suggestion it was. Nigel, meanwhile, was quite enthusiastic about the idea and didn't understand what the opposition to it was about. So I explained what I understood the opinion of members to be based on my own feelings about it and what had been said on the UKIP members' forum.

Nigel is quite adamant this isn't a party but a grouping, an alliance. He said that UKIP would not change one bit, it would carry on as it does now but it would have another grouping in addition to the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group that UKIP leads. The difference between the EFD group and this new group would be that it would contain other eurosceptic parties that might not have any MEPs, enabling UKIP to lead a much larger group that can take a share of the £10m budget the European Empire has set aside for these groups. This would help to grow eurosceptic parties in other member states and hopefully produce a whole batch of eurosceptic MEPs that UKIP can align with if we still haven't got ourselves out of the EU by the time the next EU election comes along.

If this version of the story is correct then I think it's something to be welcomed. But that's assuming there isn't more to it and there is still some doubt amongst the membership as to whether there might be. The idea that 9 or 10 UKIP MEPs have gone native is pretty unbelievable to be honest and I find it very hard to believe that they would join the EU establishment.

But if the other version of the story is correct - that UKIP will be subsumed into an EU party - then that is totally unacceptable. Unlike the Tories, UKIP members won't accept their party embracing the European Empire and will reject it overwhelmingly when it's put to a ballot of the membership.

My gut feeling is that there has been a pretty fundamental misunderstanding over the nature of this suggested new grouping but I guess we will have to wait until after the NEC meeting on Monday, following which Farage has promised to release a statement setting out the party's position. Unless, that is, any of the other MEPs comes out with a startling revelation in the meantime.


Libertarian said...

I think that on the whole this is a good idea.

The panic was started by the way the story was leaked ( by a certain MEP leadership seeker) for "political" gain.

I for one am not impressed by this way of conducting a leadership campaign and she won't be getting my vote that's for sure.

Bob Feal-martinez said...

I note more leadership censorship on the members forum. Do they not understand that it would have been better to offer an explanation, as has now happened, rather than be forced into it.

There seems little point in having such a forum if any time anything 'sensitive' is posted it's pulled. Hardly democratic.

As for the proposition itself, it seems pretty lame reasoning to me to say we get 'into bed' with pan European groups for the money.

Trixy said...

It was a way to get funding for the message we're trying to spread and to work with other like minded people across the continent.

However I think it's well known some of our MEPs are in the dark ages. I can only assume that those who oppose it have another £2million up thier sleeve to allow the work to continue and grow?

Steve Halden said...

I believe that under the Lisbon Treaty, pan European parties are compulsory for EU elections.

Its all very well making a point of principle, but you have to obey the law when fighting elections.

If it gets UKIP more finding then it seems to me to be a good thing.