Danny Alexander: UKIP is wrong on jobs, wrong on prosperity and wrong on security


Today, The City UK publishes two reports which, they say, “show that leaving the EU poses very significant risks to the UK’s future, undermining economic well-being and the ability of business to grow and compete in world markets.” All in all, “A Legal Assessment of the UK’s relationship with the EU – a financial services perspective” and “Analysing the case for EU membership – How does the economic evidence stack up? predict a quadruple whammy of higher prices and unemployment, lower growth and wages should Britain leave the EU. That’s before you get to the reduction in British influence in the world.

This morning, Danny Alexander will be visiting The City UK to discuss the findings of the reports.

He’ll make the  inevitable pitch for Liberal Democrat votes on 22 May with the first Stronger Ecoomy Fairer Society bingo ball of the week:

My Party, the Liberal Democrats, are emphatically the party of IN. Not because we have an irrational love of the EU, but because, as these reports show, IN means being IN work.  Being IN work is a pre-requisite for us to build the stronger economy and fairer society that Britain deserves.

“Leaving EU would hurt every business and family in Britain”

He also looks specifically at UKIP and the Tories. Last week, I was on LBC talking to Julia Hartley-Brewer about those awful  UKIP billboards. She asked me if I thought they were racist. I said that that was irrelevant and if we confined the argument to whether or not they were racist, we were kind of missing the point and letting them away with arguing on the facts. What matters most about UKIP is that they are wrong and we need to explain why, not bother about how we depict them. Danny Alexander is saying much the same thing.

Specifically on UKIP, Danny will say:

There is considerable controversy about UKIP.  You could say that they appear to almost revel in it.  Are the posters racist?  Are the offensive remarks of some of their members typical of the whole?   Was their 2010 manifesto ‘potty’? All of interest – and believe me, I have strong views about them. But these issues detract from the most important question-  Who is right and who is wrong on the central question of whether remaining in the EU is in the best interests of our people in terms of jobs, prosperity and security. I believe that your reports today are further powerful evidence that the UKIP position of withdrawal from the EU is wrong. Wrong on jobs. Wrong on prosperity. Wrong on security.

Anti-European Conservatives get it from him as well. Snake oil salesmen, he calls them:

This expert research is further damning evidence that UKIP and the anti European Tories are the worst kind of snake oil salesmen.  In calling for the EU withdrawal they are peddling a false cure that would kill the UK recovery and hurt every business and family in Britain.

This new evidence backs up all that the Liberal Democrats have been saying so far. So far, the evidence and the polls have been going in different directions. What will it take for things to change in time for 22 May?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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  • Talking to ‘The City UK’ about a fairer society? Good luck with that one. I’m not saying the report is wrong, far from it, but let’s be clear about whose interests The City UK represents. If liberalism means anything, it should be sceptical of these ferocious lobbies and their hold on the political system.

    I fear Nick and Danny don’t see a problem.

  • Maybe,but does anyone care, does it matter, people vote for them regardless, many more than vote Lib Dem and they are able to find candidates in most wards, unlike our party. They are now far more a national party than we are.

  • Eddie Sammon 28th Apr '14 - 3:03pm

    Finally someone has pointed out that immigration reduces prices. The Lib Dems need to grab this bull by the horns and start using arguments that resonate.

    This report doesn’t only speak for the City, it speaks for financial and legal services as a whole.

  • Antony Hook Antony Hook 28th Apr '14 - 3:44pm

    Excellent article. Danny is really leading from the front in making our case for Europe.

  • Paul Reynolds 29th Apr '14 - 6:29am

    Danny’s restatement of the ‘jobs’ argument following the CityUK report, adds to the strength of the ‘in’ campaign’s position. Meanwhile Farage is making headway politically on a different subject.. .. the alleged need for the UK to control economic migration to these islands and the need to withdraw from the EU as the only way of regaining control of immigration and many other matters. From the LibDem party our response to the substance of UKIPs claims seems to be that economic migration and other forms of migration are beneficial to the UK and thus it is not a problem that needs addressing. One result of this ‘Mexican stand-off’ perhaps is, apart from the obvious implied dismissal of the public’s (‘incorrect’) concerns, that public opinion about different aspects of economic and non-economic migration to the UK are not statistically explored very much or publicly debated. I wonder about the extent of public concern over legitimate EU economic migration from Poland, Portugal or Estonia versus other forms – including non-EU economic migrants transiting through the EU or those obtaining EU passports by less formal means. Indeed does the public conflate many different types of issues – is the EU blamed by the public for perceived ‘economic marriage migration’ from South Asia for example ? Do widespread public perceptions of corruption and collusion in UK immigration, employment permissability and border control have any basis in fact ? Whilst the broadly ‘no problem’ stance of the UK Lib Dems may indeed be the position that accords most with the published facts, it still worries me a bit that so little seems to be generally known about the different shades of public perceptions in such a major and currently important topic. Contained within, there may be specific policy issues not based on racism, which could be beneficial to the Lib Dems and which might help bridge the gap and end such a ‘Mexican standoff’. Maybe it might make us a little less torque-free in our views.

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