Brian Paddick writes…We must challenge UKIP on the facts

Turning point in politics?So where are we?  The UK and the rest of Europe have lurched to the right.  People and countries are becoming more insular and less internationalist, less tolerant of difference and are looking for “others” to blame.  Almost inevitably during times of austerity, people do not like those inflicting the pain, however necessary.  Of course, some will argue that the cuts in public spending are not necessary, are not fair, are not reasonable, do not need to be so severe or all of the above.  The fact is, for years the UK has been spending more than it earns in taxation, building up massive debts that interest has to be paid on and it’s payback time.

The “cost of living crisis” is more about paying back what we owe because we overspent than it is to do with a mismanaged economic recovery.  Facing the economic crisis we were facing, drastic cutting back on public spending is necessary.  Once the debt reduces, and the interest payments begin to fall, there will be scope to increase public spending again and this we could and should do.

It is easier to blame “foreigners” for “taking our jobs” than it is to get some of the long-term unemployed into work.  It strikes a chord with people.  So the main political parties are looking to recoup their losses to UKIP by sounding more and more like them; “we need to listen to voters concerns about immigration”.

What we actually need is better support for the unemployed and a “fact check” that proves that immigrants add far more to the UK economy in terms of taxation and job creation than they take out in jobs, benefits or public services.

We need to explain that, at the moment, some previously thriving European countries are in recession and once those economies recover, many of those who have come to the UK to find work will inevitably return home.  Spanish graduates waiting tables will not be here for long once professional jobs begin to emerge again in Spain.

The inevitable but possibly unintended consequences of the trail that UKIP is blazing, and Labour and the Tories are being drawn down are racism, xenophobia, intolerance of difference and isolationism. UKIP may say it is not a racist party but racism is the inevitable consequence of adopting an isolationist, immigration-curbing agenda.

Many people who could see very little difference between New Labour and the Tories voted Liberal Democrat at the last general election because they saw the Lib Dems as a more progressive party than Labour.  They were horrified to then see our party enter coalition with a party to the right of Labour.  They felt betrayed generally and the written undertaking not to increase student tuition fees that were then increased was seen as a specific betrayal.

A coalition was essential to get the economy back on its feet.  Labour had fewer seats than the Tories, would still not have had a majority even with Lib Dem support and appeared unwilling or unable to do a deal.  The only choice was a coalition with the Tories.  The message is not getting through that coalition was a necessary evil in a crisis situation and we have had to compromise on some policies to secure the majority of our own manifesto commitments, which we have achieved.

At the next election we must challenge UKIP on the facts and not be drawn down the same dark alley.  We must re-state what we stand for as a party and not portray ourselves as simply a brake on the other parties extremes.  Crisis over, in the new parliament we need to support those policies that are consistent with our core values and beliefs and oppose those that are inconsistent with them.  Someone has to stand-up for what is right, and in the absence of either of the major parties doing it, it has to be the Liberal Democrats that do.

* Brian Paddick Is Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Home Affairs. He was Deputy Assistant Commissioner in London's Metropolitan Police Service until 2007, the Lib Dem candidate for the London mayoral election in 2008 and 2012, and a life peer since 2013. He is joint President of LGBT+ Lib Dems.

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57 Comments

  • @ Brian P

    “At the next election we must challenge UKIP on the facts and not be drawn down the same dark alley. ”

    You challenged UKIP on the “facts” during the Euro Election, and your Dear Leader challenged the UKIP Leader for two hours, toe to toe in live debate on prime time television.

    Your positions were utterly laid bare, there was no dark alley it was the noontime sun in a open meadow.

    To whit: You support unlimited immigration, UKIP favours a work permit system. You support further integration of the EU or at worst (according to your Dear Leader) the EU being the same in ten years time. UKIP favours the return of sovereignty to Britain and for us to get off our knees as a nation by leaving the EU entirely.

    The people spoke and UKIP got 24 MEP’s the Lib Dems went from 12 to 1.

    What part of that don’t you get Mr P?

  • Philip Rolle 3rd Jun '14 - 2:40pm

    Good luck with that. But the simple truth is that every factory or other manual job is being fought for not only by Steve the machinist, but by Sergei and some of the many others who arrived as part of the immigration from the wider EU in the last ten years.

    Steve has been made redundant two in six years and, when he does get a job, expects to earn less than in 2007.

    Naturally, the EU has also brought the occasional Serina, a very clever lawyer who has done very well in corporate recovery work. But that doesn’t help Steve and the millions like him.

    Any politician who tries to “factcheck” Steve into thinking uncontrolled immigration is a fine thing really is likely to be dismissed. But so many politicians don’t yet get that. Nick Clegg wants the EU in ten years time to be much like it is now. He has just said goodbye to Steve’s vote.

    Have another try.

  • David Evershed 3rd Jun '14 - 2:46pm

    Brian Paddick writes that “Once the debt reduces, and the interest payments begin to fall, there will be scope to increase public spending again and this we could and should do.”

    At present we are adding to the government debt at the rate of £100bn a year. Government net debt has doubled to over £1,000bn in the last five years and is projected by the ONS rise to £1,500bn in 2018.

    The debt will only start to reduce when government revenues from taxation, duties etc are greater than spending. This is a long way off and any surplus is likely to be very small in comparison with the accumulated debt. Also as our increasing government debt becomes a higher and higher proportion of our GDP, the Uk becomes a greater risk. So as existing debts mature and have to be replaced with new debt at higher risk, creditors will expect higher interest rates.

    This means that far tougher decisions about spending cuts and increased taxation will have to be made in the next parliament. Politicians who want to get elected will not be giving this message to people and voters are going to feel even more disillusioned with politicians in the next parliament than they have in this.

    No party is keen to give the public this message and pay the price at the ballot box.

  • FrankFisher 3rd Jun '14 - 2:47pm

    Challenge UKIP on the facts you say, then launch into another fact-free smear, accusing us of being racist, once again. Our immigration policies are meritocratic; open to all the world. Not like LibLabCon’s that give an open door to the EU and a closed door to everyone else.

    If you want to tackle us on facts, Brian, do so.

  • But if Sergei isn’t allowed to come to Britain, won’t he and his mates just set up a machine shop in Krakow where the overheads are cheaper and the currency is weaker, and use those advantages to underbid the machine shop that employs Steve on high wages, so Steve’s machine shop will go bust and Steve will end up just as unemployed?

    If Steve is being out-competed then it hardly matters to him whether he’s being out-competed by someone who lives down the road or someone who lives a thousand miles away, does it?

  • Philip Rolle 3rd Jun '14 - 2:57pm

    If setting up machine shops in Krakow worked so much better than in the UK, why did Sergei come here in the first place?

    And does “out-compete” mean driving wages down. Is that why Steve finds himself applying now for jobs that pay less than they did in 2007?

    Good luck, again, with telling Steve it doesn’t matter…

  • If setting up machine shops in Krakow worked so much better than in the UK, why did Sergei come here in the first place

    Because Britain’s a nicer place to live, and wages are higher. So if you can come here you might as well.

    But if you can’t, then you still have to make a living, and if your skills are the same as Steve’s that means you are going to be in competition with him in the global marketplace, even if you live a thousand miles away, because that’s how the global marketplace works.

    And does “out-compete” mean driving wages down

    Not necessarily, but one of the ways to compete is on cost and in that case working for lower wages certainly does cost.

  • Certainly does help.

  • @Brian “The message is not getting through that coalition was a necessary evil in a crisis situation”

    The reason it is not getting through is that Nick has spent the last 4 years saying how great the coalition is – starting with the Rose Garden.

  • Time to forget UKIP and Europe, concentrate on getting the elctorate interested in us, new faces, new strategy and out of the coalition by Christmas. Oh yes that will need a new leader, funny that!!!

  • Maybe it would help if the EU provided information on the facts and communicated directly with the public about what it is doing, but then maybe the EU parliament wouldn’t vote the necessary funds to do it.

    I agree with Brian Paddick that getting the long-term unemployed into work would help to stop the cry that “foreigners are taking our jobs”. I agree we need better support for the unemployed. We need to scrape the Work Programme, bring in a voluntary jobs guarantee scheme and involve local authorities in providing the help and assistance that the unemployed need. Local authorities have contacts with business and know their local area so they can tailor what is provided to what is needed.

    “The message is not getting through that coalition was a necessary evil in a crisis situation and we have had to compromise on some policies to secure the majority of our own manifesto commitments, which we have achieved.” I think this is close to what Matthew Huntbach has been saying for ages, it is nice to see another parliamentarian agreeing.

    I agree we mustn’t just say as Nick Clegg does that we are a “simply a brake on the other parties”.

    @ Bill – “If Steve is being out-competed then it hardly matters to him whether he’s being out-competed by someone who lives down the road or someone who lives a thousand miles away, does it?”

    This is an interesting point, but it only applies to those jobs that produce something that can be exported and imported. I wonder who many jobs are of this nature rather than ones that are linked to a locality.

  • theakes

    “Time to forget UKIP and Europe,”

    You can forget UKIP if you want, but you can’t forget Europe. “You are the Party of In” remember (and UKIP the party of Putin 🙂 )

    So long as you remain wedded to the EU, which will be forever, you will be linked in a kiss of death to the free movement of Labour.

    When are you going to understand? UNLIMITED IMMIGRATION IS ELECTORAL POISON.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 4:18pm

    Steve was made redundant because he wasn’t doing the job, turning up late, botching the work, and generally being a pain in the backside. Everyone was so glad when Sergei came, suddenly the team started working together, quality went up, customers went away satisfied and recommended the place to others. Even Steve wasn’t too bothered, he got free money from the government and was very happy with all the food and other handouts.

    Serina turned out to be ideal – none of the other job applicants came anywhere near in terms of skills or experience. It was largely as a result of her efforts that the factory that employed Sergei and a thousand native Englishmen managed to get the loan that got them through the hard times – that and Sergei’s hard work. Even the treasury was happy with that, and with the huge tax take they got from Serina too.

    Eventually Bob – remember Bob? – the LibDem politician whose marriage to Libby resulted in scandal when Libby was revealed to be a blowup plastic doll? – Bob realised that Steve needed some form of discipline to get him back on the straight and narrow – he’d been giving the NHS and the local constabulary a hard time, and had ignored several ASBO’s issued after irritating his Welsh neighbours.

    So Bob arranged for Steve to have special training which eventually led to Steve getting a better job and becoming a valued member of the multi-racial community. Meanwhile Nigel disappeared in an alcoholic haze, and the Ed and David double act collapsed into a spin, a whirlpool from which no recovery was possible. Everyone lived happily ever after, even Steve, Sergei, Serena, Bob, and Libby, that is, until the next election, when Libby made one great big ….

  • Here’s a question for the ‘pro-Europe’ lot.

    If immigration is good, and more immigration is better, why not remove all the barriers (and there are a lot of barriers!) to immigrants coming to Britain from outside the EU?

    Or even just to immigrants coming from commonwealth countries?

    If you’re for being in Europe because immigration from EU countries is good, then presumably you should also be in favour of immigration from other countries too? Or are EU countries special?

  • “Maybe it would help if the EU provided information on the facts and communicated directly with the public about what it is doing,”

    Please, please tell me that you are jesting.

    Are you seriously suggesting that British taxpayers should pay for propaganda broadcasts commissioned by the unelected EU bureaucracy to be shown on prime time TV telling British voters in the East of England that they should be delighted that a third of their town now comes from Eastern Europe??

    I think they know very well what the EU is doing. They only have to walk into their GP’s surgery for an appointment, or try and find a class in their local primary school where English is spoken as a first language, or a place to live that is affordable.

  • Richard: So why do we let Sergei and Serina in but go to such efforts to keep Dwight, Zhi, and Kgosi from getting residency and work permits?

    Someone from China, for example, cannot come to do a job in Britain unless they can prove that there is no one in the whole EU who could do that job.

    Why are our borders so closed to immigrants? Shouldn’t we be welcoming immigrants from everywhere, not just the EU, if immigrants always make our country better off?

  • Jenny Barnes 3rd Jun '14 - 4:41pm

    The economy was growing in 2010. The coalition’s austerity programme has succeeded in delaying the recovery 3 or 4 years. Not exactly a stunning success, unless shrinking the state and creating unemployment was what you wanted to achieve in order to cut wages. Immigration is largely a scapegoat for the effects of footloose capital / globalisation. Why would you manufacture anything in the UK when there’s a much cheaper workforce in SE Asia/China? But then there’s all those leeks, lettuce and strawberries to pick, and UK citizens need a decent wage to live on – bring on some cheap and cheerful East European migrant workers.
    Are these facts? Or is it all in how you look at things? Many who voted LD in 2010 did not expect a Tory government with some LD MPs in ministerial roles. I certainly didn’t. I think coalition government can work; I think this one has been an object lesson in how not to do it.

  • “Make our narrative more appealing than anyone else’s – and let those with negative, hate-filled narratives be exposed by constant media attention.”

    You guys really really feel that you are morally superior to UKIP voters, don’t you?

    Let me ask you something Simon, what do you do for a living? Are you likely to be undercut by an Eastern immigrant and put out of work?

    If you were, would it be “negative” to be discountenanced by that? Would any criticism of a national political party which luxuriates in your loss of that job be “hate filled?”

    Would it, dare I ask, be logical to VOTE for that party?

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 4:53pm

    @Bill:

    The simple answer is because Sergei and Serina do such great things for us!

    The more complicated answer is rooted in our history and heritage, and in what the future holds. Like most other bug countries in Europe, we used to have an empire, which gave us such a huge leap forward. Now we don’t, we won’t get it back, and we’re realising that we’re just 1% of the world’s population and are moving towards just 1% of global influence. A natural first reaction might be to turn inwards, re-trench. That’s UKIP’s answer. A more forward-looking approach is to re-group, join the other large European countries with a similar heritage and similar problems, create a bloc. That is the LibDem “Party of In” message and it’s likely to be our country’s only sensible long-term choice.

    It’s interesting to speculate what the world will be like for our children and grandchildren, 30 to 50 years from now. There’ll likely be some huge free-trade blocs, including

    the Russia/BeloRus/Kazak/.. bloc,
    the billion-person Chinese and India blocs,
    the largely Latin South American bloc
    the USA and Canada
    the African nations
    the Middle Eastern Islamic nations
    and Europe

    In that scenario, unless we’re in a bloc, we won’t have **any** control over any aspect of the international trade and finance that we so desperately depend on. So if you’re really interested in controlling the country’s future and ensuring its prosperity, some form of unity with Europe is the only realistic way to go.

  • @ simon – “Please, please tell me that you are jesting.” I was thinking out aloud. I wasn’t thinking of TV broadcasts. I was thinking about a newspaper or magazine a bit like the ones produced by my borough and council councils. However maybe having a team to respond to newspapers that misrepresent the truth would also be a benefit to make sure that newspapers apologise then they reported the EU incorrectly and have to print the truth.

  • The simple answer is because Sergei and Serina do such great things for us!

    And Dwight, Zhi and Kgosi wouldn’t, if they were allowed in?

    A more forward-looking approach is to re-group, join the other large European countries with a similar heritage and similar problems, create a bloc

    So basically the same inward-looking protectionism (the EU is not a ‘free trade’ bloc, it’s a protectionist bloc), but on a slightly larger scale? Doesn’t sound very forward-looking to me.

    (And as regards ‘heritage’… surely we have a stronger shared heritage with the countries of the Commonwealth than we do with the countries of Europe?)

    So if you’re really interested in controlling the country’s future and ensuring its prosperity, some form of unity with Europe is the only realistic way to go

    Why not be open to all blocs? London is already the premier global city: it wouldn’t lose that status overnight. Why not open the borders to everyone, not just EU citizens, and become the place the entire world does business through?

    If the blocs continue their protectionist attitudes towards each other, the in Britain could be the one major economy to belong to no bloc but to have free-trade deals with them all, then that puts Britain in a most excellent position, doesn’t it? In that world, if anyone wanted to do inter-bloc business, London would be the natural place for them to come.

    Now that sounds to me like a really forward-thinking, optimistic vision of Britain’s future, instead of thinking that we are so weak that our only hope is to ride through the world on Germany’s coat-tails.

    Britain is open for business: come one, come all!

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 5:16pm

    @Bill:
    Go visit a Commonwealth country, Bill. Their heritage is one of being exploited by a colonial power, including slavery in some of them, and eventually either fighting for or being granted some form of independence. Our history was to be on the other side. As independent nations many of them are quite business-like about their relations with the UK, not sentimental at all. They will mostly be in competing blocs.

  • And our history with the powers of Europe is to be at war with them; at least we speak the same language as Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which is more than can be said for the rest of the EU!

    As independent nations many of them are quite business-like about their relations with the UK, not sentimental at all. They will mostly be in competing blocs

    That sounds brilliant. So these countries will be in competing blocs, and they all already have businesslike relations with the UK? Sounds like it puts the UK in the prefect place to be the intermediary between all these blocs, and in the multi-bloc world you’ve sketched out, that would be a very powerful place to be.

    It certainly sounds better to try to become the pre-eminent global hub, the nexus for the entire world’s trade — the spider sitting at the centre of the web of all the world’s money — than it does to retreat to just being one of a group of frightened nations clinging together out of fear of the big bad world, doesn’t it?

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 5:33pm

    @Bill. A problem with being a spider is that the flies can all decide not to fly by your web.

  • Ah, so you do want to huddle in fear of the big bad world out there and that it might not play with you.

    Remind me again, was that the attitude that built the Empire?

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 5:48pm

    @Bill:
    This is getting silly.
    Do you know how many trade deals Europe has with the rest of the world?
    Do you really think that our country’s future lies in rebuilding an empire?
    If so, prepare to see all your support vanish!

  • Do you know how many trade deals Europe has with the rest of the world

    I know it’s fewer than it could have, if it was willing to abandon protectionism.

    And I know that it’s the EU which is stopping Britain having a truly open immigration policy. I thought you were in favour of open immigration?

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 6:05pm

    @Bill. I can’t be responsible for your errors, sorry.

  • Stuart Mitchell 3rd Jun '14 - 6:34pm

    “racism is the inevitable consequence of adopting an isolationist, immigration-curbing agenda”

    You mean like the “immigration-curbing agenda” the Lib Dems were adopting in the south at the last election?

    http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/politics/elections/election_2010/eastleigh/news/8102360.Huhne_calls_for_immigration_clampdown_in_the_south/

    I’m getting a little bit tired of Lib Dems throwing baseless accusations of racism around. It reflects badly on the people making the accusations, and has the unwelcome effect of cheapening the word “racism” since most of the public simply don’t believe it. Polls tend to show around three quarters of the population want to see immigration reduced, but I don’t believe for one moment that three quarters of Britons are racist. If they were, I’d be out of here.

  • Yes what are the facts We put more in than we get out of EU unless u count immigrants thats the only net gain lol

  • Tsar Nicholas 3rd Jun '14 - 7:06pm

    @Richard Dean

    So not only are voters too stupid to vote Lib Dem, but British workers are too lazy to keep their jobs in the face of mass immigration!

    That’s a great example of how (not) to win friends and influence people.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 7:25pm

    Just Steve, Tsar. Steve and his friends at UKIP. How’s Vlad?

  • I can’t be responsible for your errors, sorry.

    Just like I can’t be responsible for your lack of belief in the greatness of Britain.

    It’s all academic anyway. The EU can’t survive as it is now: a monetary union without fiscal union and a proper central bank is inherently unstable.

    Either it will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis until one crisis finally splits it apart, or a group of EU nations will bite the bullet and integrate properly into a federal superstate with shared central bank and budget. No conceivable British government would join such a superstate. They would be crucified by the electorate, possibly literally.

    All the stuff about Britain leaving the EU is a sideshow. Within twenty years, the EU will have left Britain: either by disintegrating so there is no EU, or by morphing into a superstate which Britain will not be a part of.

  • Steve and his friends at UKIP

    The Lib Dems have given up on expanding their vote and fallen back on the old ‘insult everyone who disagrees with you’ strategy, I see. It’s so fun to watch a political party slit its own throat.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 7:45pm

    @Bill. This is getting even more pointless. You really shouldn’t look in the mirror so much. There’s a real, interesting, even rewarding world out available, with our friends across the Channel, if you’d just turn and see it.

  • Getting back to Brian Paddick’s article, supporting policies in the next parliament which are consistent with our core beliefs and opposing those which aren’t would be a good first step in rebuilding our own sense of purpose, but I fear it is going to take a lot longer for the wider electorate to see what the point of the party is unless we focus very clearly on a few key themes as UKIP has. I consider UKIP to be a potentially dangerous force in British politics, but I am grateful that their supporters like Simon take the trouble to come here to argue with us because it is clear that they are telling one aspect of the truth about what is happening in our society and we have to deal with it, no matter how unpalatable it might be to us.

  • There’s a real, interesting, even rewarding world out available, with our friends across the Channel

  • There’s a real, interesting, even rewarding world out available, with our friends across the Channel

    And there isn’t an even more rewarding one available with our friends across the Atlantic, and across the Pacific?

    I don’t want to live in a Britain that is ‘part of Europe’. I want to live in a Britain that is on top of the world.

    If you’re content with horizons so small that they reach just across the channel, then fine. But once the UK was the single unrivalled superpower on this planet. So, you know, be a ‘little Europer’ if you want. My ambitions for the UK are global.

  • Richard says :
    “There’s a real, interesting, even rewarding world out available, with our friends across the Channel, if you’d just turn and see it.”
    Indeed there is, and it started life sensibly as the EEC until it got crazy, and the megalomaniacs took over the asylum, which is why we seriously need to get out of this ‘death grip’, EU sovereignty sucking nightmare.
    If Europe wants to get back to trading economically, pretty much as we all voted for in ’75’, all the better. So, let’s ditch the self serving bureaucrats and be proper trading Europeans again. Or leave them to their unified federal madness, so the UK can re-engage and talk and trade with the rest of the world independently.
    These are the Ukip facts. Ukip want the UK to have democratic autonomy in their laws, control of borders, and way of life. Lib Dems conversely, want to hand everything, ‘legislation, lock stock and democracy’ to Brussels.
    Good luck with selling that Brian.

  • Richard Dean 3rd Jun '14 - 11:05pm

    In 50 years time we will hopefully have a much better form of global governance, perhaps capable of preventing atrocities such as those presently occurring in Syria, CAR, Sudan, and many other places.

    In my view it’s unlikely that the governance would involve 150 or 200 countries sitting around a big table as equals. It’s more likely to involve ten or so blocs sitting around a global table, with each bloc at the table representing the combined view of the 10 to 30 nations making up the bloc.

    Obviously there will be quite a few problems achieving this, and there’ll be lots of network-like structures between individual countries too. But in such a scenario, it seems rather unlikely that the blocs would allow a small country like the UK to be “top of the world”.

  • As analysts of European election results go, I reckon Brian Paddick is an excellent policeman.

    Next time he appears in the witness box and takes out his notebook and checks the evidence he might find a discrepancy between what he has told the court and what actually happened.

    Europe lurched to the right? Really? From the results published in last Tuesday’s Guardian (before the Irish declaration) I note that the new EP looks like this —
    42 MEPs for the United Left. (or Far left as the BBC seem to like to call it). 186 Socialist MEPs, 46 Greens and 58 Liberals. So 332 MEPs belong to parties that are not considered on the right. That’s 332 out of 751. But you cannot claim that all the rest are on the right and even those that are are split into a number of factions and groups, some of which lost seats in then2014 election.
    The Christian Democrat EPP who are a party of the right got 208 MEPs having lost 59 seats.
    The ECR which as well as some crackpots includes the UK conservatives also lost seats going down by 11 to 45.
    There are 117 “others” which includes the Front National from France who got 24 MEPs only and who dislike Farage and UKIP who with their 24 seats make up the bulk of the 35 strong EFD group.

    So did Europe LURCH to the right ? No not really. In fact some left parties did unusually well — the Greek Syriza party got 8 MEPs who sit in the united left group. In Germany and Italy there is no evidence of a lurch. In the Netherlands the biggest group of 7 MEPs sit with ALDE, the Liberals. Poland is depressingly right wing with all but 5 of their 51 MEPs being either EPP or ECR. Whereas from Romania only 10 out of 32 are of the right. There are some pan European trends, some phenomena which are exclusive to one country (eg UKIP) and some examples of some right wing parties in some countries doing better than in 2014 than they did 5 years ago. But that cannot beyond reasonable doubt be recorded as Europe as a whole Lurching to the right.

    Sorry, Brian Paddick but you are not a reliable witness in this case. You obviously need a new stubby pencil and note book to record the evidence in future cases.
    And in the meantime if you are reduced to traffic duty please remember that although those foreigners drive on the right, that is not necessarily an indication of the political views of every one of them.

  • The whole UKIP strategy of ditching our status as an equal partner with Europe and hoping that our former colonies will be so full of warm feelings for their old oppressor that they’ll happily keep us in the state to which we’ve become accustomed is naive and dangerous to this country’s standing in the world. Also to its economy and its ability to project influence.

    The idea that Britain could somehow stand alone between all these large trading blocs and somehow sit at the top table while being one tenth the size of them, behind tariff barriers to all of them is frankly ridiculous. Why would that happen?

    And as for the UKIPpers calling for some revival British Empire… what hole did Nigel dig you out of? None of the conditions that allowed the Empire to be built are now met. The Empire having been built by sailing over to countries lagging behind in military and industrial development, pointing our advanced navy and land forces at them and forcing them to lower barriers to our buying their raw materials and our selling them finished goods. It was achieved by grabbing decades of head start through being the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. Once the ideas of that spread, normal service was resumed, with Britain spending the years after 1870 in a long period of relative economic decline despite territorial expansion. Glancing beyond history for a moment, I ask – what’s our corresponding massive head start over everyone else today?

    The failure in the 1930s to understand the relative decline of the British core of the Empire, and to cultivate equal partnerships in the emerging new Commonwealth to offset that, led to a terminal decline for the whole system. It meant that after 1945, when the Empire’s remaining strength and prestige had all been cashed in to prevent a totalitarian fascist state from conquering Europe, the country at the middle of it all had no real role at the top and would return to its previous role as a middle tier world power and a major partner in Europe.

    One day, it might even learn to accept this and move on from the Empire days.

  • T-J writes :
    “And as for the UKIPpers calling for some revival British Empire”
    Where?
    Perhaps you can point me to any assertion by Ukip that there is a wish to return to ‘the British Empire’? This is a regurgitated false notion much used by critics of Ukip, even though it is simply not true.
    Both you and LibDems generally have a totally false idea about what Ukip is, and this is reflected in your ever diminishing poll rating.

  • Brian Paddick 4th Jun '14 - 10:42am

    Simon Oliver
    Agreed this needs to be a combination of facts delivered with emotion and nothing gets me more emitonal than racism and xenophobia
    Simon
    My answer is UKIP is devoid of a consistent set of policies that can form any sort of plan for government and people may feel better for having protested but when they realise how devoid of substance UKIP is, they will vote for parties who have a proven track record in government like the Lib Dems
    Philip Role
    Millions of UK workers have jobs in Europe. They may have to return home if we pull out of the EU. “Steve” may have had a tough time but that is because of the deepest recession this country has faced in a generation, not because of “foreign” workers
    David Evershed
    You are depressingly right as far as national debt is concerned. Hopefully the Lib Dems will be honest enough say so
    FrankFisher
    I think you need to look at independent arbiters of who is telling the truth here e.g. Channel 4 FactCheck
    Bill – good point
    Jenny
    I think there needs to be a change of message – that was one of the points of my article.
    Michael
    Thanks for your support. The fact is, we need to train “Michael” to be the employee British business want to employ
    Simon
    When are you going to realise free movement of people is a two-way street and millions of British people are working in Europe
    Richard Dean
    Not sure I follow but it’s a good read!
    Bill
    It’s free movement IN and OUT of the UK, part of large and hugely beneficial economic free market area in Europe
    Jenny Barnes
    The UK economy is growing faster than any other Western country. The reasons for austerity are painful but necessary as I have said in my article. Minimum wage must be enforced and I believe a living wage should be introduced. I also covered how many Labour supporters who voted Lib Dem feel. The coalition has achieved a great deal although maybe not what you or I ideally would have liked
    tonyhill
    I agree
    John Tilley
    Your personal insults and stereotyping of police officers is offensive. If you cannot see a move to the right in many European countries, then you are not facing reality. Your sincerely, Brian Paddick, MA (Oxon.), MBA (with Distinction).
    T-J
    Well said

  • Richard Dean 4th Jun '14 - 12:15pm

    Well said, T-J.
    I don’t now whether the posters Bill or Tsar Nicholas are Ukippers, but it does seem those two expect a return to empire. Several Ukippers I know give that impression too. I hope your clear analysis will help them see the light.

  • @ Brian Paddick

    It is lovely to see one of our peers respond to comments on their article. I wish all our parliamentarians did it.

    “The fact is, we need to train “Michael” to be the employee British business want to employ”
    I have no idea why my name is in quotes!

    Your response to John Tilley’s very condescending comment with your qualifications is I think very typical of some senior police officers. However he does provide evidence for why there is NOT a move to the right in ALL European countries, which has to be what you intended with “and the rest of Europe have lurched to the right.”

  • Bill Chapman 4th Jun '14 - 1:45pm

    Some very dubious UKIP people have been elected, and they need to be exposed. See, for example:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/ukip-mep-nathan-gill-employed-dozens-of-immigrants-and-kept-them-in-bunkhouses-9485018.html

  • Jenny Barnes 4th Jun '14 - 2:56pm

    “The coalition has achieved a great deal although maybe not what you or I ideally would have liked”
    yes. Much of what the coalition has achieved is things I oppose. Bedroom tax, tuition fees, secret courts, NHS reorganisation, yadayada, same old list from boring LD activist. So I’m not about to celebrate those achievements, just because they were done by a party I supported in 2010 being in a coalition. Local elections here were in 2011, and our local councils: Parish, District and County are now 100% Tory or UKIP in the local area. There are a few LDs left at county level, I believe. And no doubt after May 2015 there will be a few LDs left, here and there, scratching a living in the ruins…..

  • Matthew Huntbach 4th Jun '14 - 4:00pm

    simon

    You challenged UKIP on the “facts” during the Euro Election, and your Dear Leader challenged the UKIP Leader for two hours, toe to toe in live debate on prime time television.

    Well, yes, but that was the problem. The Dear Leader did NOT do enough to challenge Farage on the facts. Instead he adopted a lofty “I’m a trendy modern type, and you want to turn the clock back” pose, which suited Farage as he gets support from people who WANT the clock turned back, but did nothing to ask Farage HOW he would turn the clock back (Farage is a big money man, and big money is the driving force in driving the clock forward, causing a lot of the social destruction that cause people, misguidedly, to vote for Farage’s party).

    This is another sign that Clegg is a failure, he just can’t do the job, he flops in everything he tries, therefore he must go.

  • Brian Paddick 4th Jun '14 - 11:09pm

    Of course it is natural to be defensive on here but I cannot help but be influenced by engaging with you guys however much I appear to disagree as an almost reflex reaction. It is is important for you to know that, unlike some of the commentators, I see this as a two-way process and not me trying to ram my ideas down other people’s throats.

  • Richard Dean 4th Jun '14 - 11:31pm

    UKIP runs on emotion, not facts, and Ukippers don’t really bother about challenges on facts. Many of them choose or alter or frame or discard facts to suit their pre-decided emotions, and you can see some of this in the way the facts and ground shifted during the discussion in this thread about empire. I think we need to challenge UKIP on emotion.

    I also think the LibDems and others need to gear up a bit. UKIP is well financed and Ukippers are very keen and busy persuading the electorate to their viewpoint. From what I see there’s a real chance that the electorate will be persuaded to vote to leave the EU, not seeing the absolute disaster that would be for the UK.

  • “It is is important for you to know that, unlike some of the commentators, I see this as a two-way process and not me trying to ram my ideas down other people’s throats.”

    Ha ha ha!

    Brian that is so kind of you. 🙂 Of course democracy is a two way process, but it was so good of you to explain to everyone how you weren’t going to ram your ideas to the 90% of the voting electorate (itself only 36% of the total) who DIDN’T vote for you.

    Bless…

  • @ Brian Paddick – “Of course it is natural to be defensive on here but I cannot help but be influenced by engaging with you guys however much I appear to disagree as an almost reflex reaction. It is is important for you to know that, unlike some of the commentators, I see this as a two-way process and not me trying to ram my ideas down other people’s throats.”

    Hopefully in the future sometimes commenters on here will persuade you to change your views and you will not always defend your initial positions if presented with an excellent case to change it. We can’t ask for more. Thank you.

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