LibLink: Nick Clegg: UKIP would pull the rug out from under the City

UKIP logoIn Monday’s Evening Standard, Nick Clegg had this to say about how the diverse, modern capital would be affected if Nigel Farage and UKIP got their way. While Farage’s party offers change, it’s not the sort of change that we want:

But don’t be fooled: it’s change of the worst kind. Behind the crowd-pleasing, pint-swilling banter is a party that wants to turn the clock back. Ukip’s only answer to the complexities of the modern world is pulling up the drawbridge, shunning the outside world and hankering for some bygone past. These are people who resent the 21st century.

Nothing could be more at odds with the values and attitude that make our capital great. This is the most open, diverse and cosmopolitan city on the planet, where people of every colour, creed and background live side by side. Outward-looking and forward-facing, London is at the vanguard of every major cultural and technological change. It’s a city that embraces the future: boundless in its ambitions for what its industries and inhabitants can achieve.

He talked about how UKIP preys on people’s fears, blaming the poorest people’s problems on Europe and immigration but they don’t have anything new to offer:

They offer easy solutions — not least on immigration and Europe, where they argue that all of our problems will magically disappear if only Britain unshackles ourself from the Continent, retreating back across the English Channel and locking the door behind us as we do. If Ukip win seats in the European Parliament this week, that is precisely the end they’ll pursue.

But we live in a world where isolationism is masochism. Turning away from our neighbours would massively undermine Britain’s interests, with London paying a particularly high price. European exit would hurt thevast numbers of businesses which sell their goods and services across the EU — our biggest export market — threatening livelihoods and jobs.

And, of course there are all the jobs that depend on the financial sector in the City of London:

It’s also the surest way to pull the rug out from under the City. Right now the Square Mile is Europe’s financial centre. Twice as many euro foreign exchange deals happen in London than in any other country in the eurozone. Holding this position in our own backyard is essential if we want our financial services to continue to compete with the best in the world. But if we leave the European Single Market this competitive edge disappears.

But what do Liberal Democrats have to offer?

I lead a party of people who do not fear the future but embrace it. Who do not regret diversity, but celebrate it. We are internationalists to our core because we understand that the biggest challenges Britain faces today are those which demand we work with others, whether it’s preventing terrorism, tackling climate change, promoting free trade or clamping down on organised crime. We see that there is strength in numbers in an increasingly uncertain, fluid and interconnected world. We know that nations are stronger together than we are apart.

Above all, I lead a party that will always fight to stop those who seek to sow division and exploit fear

You can read the whole article here.  I could add in that it’s worth voting Liberal Democrat in London to secure the re-election of Sarah Ludford, who as MEP has campaigned for civil liberties, against abuse of powers by the authorities and for tackling crime effectively while enshrining liberal principles. We can’t afford to lose her.

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  • Charles Rothwell 21st May '14 - 12:11pm

    Nick is doing a fine job in countering the offensive of the Kippers in my view (and the contrast with Cameron and Milliband (who?)) is just enormous (although I believe Osborne is going to have a go at them (and Labour) in a speech this evening?)) It is no surprise at all that, in the recent academic study of the rise of the Kippers (“Revolt on the Right”), London has always been fairly weak territory for them and it must virtually embody everything they totally detest about modern Britain, I should think. Their stomping grounds have been the coastal cities of the south east and elsewhere (age profile/people of limited means and education) plus (since 2009 and registering just how New Labour had abandoned/ignored such groups and how much their own simplistic attitudes accorded with those of masses of voters on desolate estates etc) alienated white working class voters in the North West, North East and my region of Yorkshire and the Humber. I for one will not be at all surprised if Nick’s forecast on Sunday’s Andrew Marr show that the real headline next week might not be any breakthrough in the shires and counties but rather in areas like Rotherham and Barnsley where they ave done well in by-elections and which represent the kind of area where I think the potential for a first Kipper MP emerging really exists unless the “real” political parties (unlike the incoherent ramshackle mass protest movement which even the Chief Kipper consistently admits it is (no effective control on who joins, what they say etc) can deal with/see them off effectively for good (before they, in any case, collapse like the Poujardist movements in 1950s France).

  • “European exit would hurt the vast numbers of businesses which sell their goods and services across the EU”

    This claim appears above without evidence to support it. Politics should be more than just believing in Europe. There should be an evidence-led approach

  • Voter
    It is called a tariff barrier and the other restrictions that would limit access to the EU market

  • Richard Dean 22nd May '14 - 6:15pm

    Gee, Nick should join UKIP, he’s really effective at arguing their case! He’s just told the 40+ million of us who are not Londoners that we should all vote UKIP.

  • It’s very sad the way the parties tell us what to do what to think. The LibDem asked for and got a referendum on first past the post. Scotland asked for a referendum they got one. People want a say re the EU no you can’t have one I am in Teesside and feel I would need to move 60 miles south to be considered by the government to live in the north. Is it any wonder the SNP are getting support even so I hope Scotland stays with the UK.

    Why recently did London have a low percentage vote for Ukip because it’s a different country. Instead of saying London needs extra for cost of living put extra on the areas outside of London in an effort to move some work and money into other regions

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