indeed Bernard Jenkin was right when he warned that the voters would be pushed into the arms of extremists.
I think it is foolish to consider Barnsley as a great success for UKIP as clearly they did no better than their norm of around 4% support but with a mere 1/3rd. turnout of the voters an activist Party will of course do well hence all UKIP’s 4% turned out whilst the failure of other parties was clear in their failure to get 2/3rds. of the vote out – hence although although only obtaining 1/8th. of the vote and being almost 12,000 behind the winner UKIP came 2nd.
A little like being the second best Cola !
However Bernard Jenkin is right about pushing the electorate into the arms of extremists.
What could be more extreme than the racist, xenophobic, anti Jewish and violent anti homosexual Pan EU EFD Political Group that UKIP supports in The EU?
16 Mar 2011 : Column 421
Mr Jenkin: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing that out. It underlines the fact that we are at a crucial crossroads in the development of the European Union and our relationship with our European partners.A few months ago I attended a private discussion, including some very senior recently retired Government figures. One of them said-Chatham House rule, I am afraid-“You must be very pleased, Bernard, that the new Government are going to consider all this, because obviously there will be a consolidation of the eurozone area, and Britain will have to establish a different relationship with the European Union because we will remain outside it.” I said, “Well, I’d love to think the incoming Government have thought about all these things, but it seems that their minds are closed. I don’t think they want to think about this at all.” The result is that events are sweeping us along. We are not setting the agenda. The agenda is being set for us, and we are not even looking ahead at the consequences of what we are agreeing to.That could have profound consequences for the future of our relationship with the EU. Indeed, I would say that it brings forward the inevitability of the United Kingdom finishing up having to make a dramatic in-or-out decision. If the Government have a lever in their hands but are still unwilling to exercise leverage to start drawing the distinction between those who want to consolidate the euro area and those who want to remain outside it, we do not have a European policy worth the name. We will therefore be driven into deciding on this binary question of whether we stay in or get out-and I hear that the Labour party may be beginning to flirt with the idea of holding the referendum that it denied the British people when it was in office.
We should consider the vote achieved by the UK Independence party at the recent by-election, as there has been a constant upward trend in every by-election since 1997. If we do not recognise that a part of the despair with politics that we experience in our daily contact with our constituents is a result of our powerlessness, and of our denial of the real choices and issues facing this country, we will drive those who feel such despair into the hands of more extreme parties than the mainstream ones where we all wish to be.
I leave the following thought with my right hon. Friend the Minister. As this Parliament progresses, this debate will not subside or go away. Instead, it will become more intense, particularly as the economic realities of the euro are based on denial. It is rather like the denial that there was for a period in respect of the European exchange rate mechanism before it broke up. However, because it is so much harder to break up the euro, the denial will go on for longer and the pain inflicted will be much more intense. There will be riots in the streets of European capitals before this situation is resolved, because I do not think it is possible for countries to make the kind of adjustment that the euro is currently imposing on them without the flexibility of separate currencies, which is why it is an accepted fact
16 Mar 2011 : Column 442
among many economists that at least some of the southern European states will leave the euro before this crisis is out.