Friday, 7 August 2009

How to get out of the EU

It is axiomatic that only the Westminster Parliament can repeal the 1972 European Act and hence get us out of the EU. This requires a majority of the House of Commons to vote for the repeal Bill. These will not all be UKIP MPs, indeed it is likely UKIP MPs will form only a small part of this repeal vote but what is crucial is that there be enough UKIP MPs plus their allies on this issue to hold the balance of power in the Commons and be thus be able to bring down the government of the day. What allies? Its a pity Liga Nord cannot have seats at Westminster but the BNP, whose views are less extreme than Liga Nord, might well have seats in Westminster and they also want out of the EU.

Even if the government supported the repeal bill with a 3 line whip many of its Europhile MPs, particularly those in safe seats, will vote against the repeal bill. The UKIP numbers must be sufficient to outvote these rebels and at a rough guess we will need at least 30 UKIP MPs and allies plus a government desperate to hold on to power to achieve this. The current government would do nicely! Its a big ask and a long haul but we have to start now but where?

The UK parliamentary system rewards geographic concentration of votes. As the BNP vote is more geographically concentrated than UKIP they might well win a seat before UKIP. For many years the Liberals got millions of votes but only 5 or so MPs because their vote was spread over the whole country. UKIP is in much the same position as the Liberals but must try to avoid getting sucked into the lots of votes but no seats scenario which is what Farage's current strategy seems to be. I cannot envisage that either the Cons or the Labs will ever introduce electoral reform along the lines of STV or similar. Both big parties like the absolute power the current system gives them.

It therefore seems sensible to look at regions where UKIP did well in the Europeans, have a good candidate and a good local issue they can target. The South West, where UKIP membership is also strongest stands out. They have a potential good candidate in the well liked UKIP MEP Trevor Coleman. The decline of the fishing industry linked to high unemployment and poor wages are issues UKIP can exploit. There are also some unpopular sitting MPs badly tarnished by the expenses scandal

The Eastern region would also be a strong candidate except for the chicanery that has occurred in that region over UKIP MEP selection ending in their best potential parliamentary candidate Robin Page leaving UKIP. Worse, one of UKIP's MEPs Agnew is reported lobbying the EU for GM crops an issue that is unpopular and as far as I know is contrary to UKIP policy! Robin Page might well stand for UKFirst and if he does UKIP should not oppose him. For me its the cause that matters not the party label!

I don't know about the West Midlands region but given the melt down in manufacturing there is a local issue to exploit but I know of no good local potential Westminster candidate.

The South East foot soldiers seem very demoralised. Branches are folding. I have no doubt Farage will stand but will he be big enough to recognise that Trevor and Robin have much better chances than he has and let the South West have most of the campaign funds and not fund a campaign against Robin Page if he stands somewhere in the Eastern region. Knowing Farage, I expect and fear another costly Bromley fiasco.

The North West, Yorkshire and the East Midlands I regard as poor prospects even with a plethora of 18 year old candidates! These are also areas of BNP strength where we do not wish to give the BNP a propaganda coup. Wales may be more hopeful if UKIP can exploit the Labour expenses backlash. Labour voters in Wales want to vote against Labour but will never vote Tory. The SNP look unstoppable in Scotland.

I would not discourage any UKIP branch that wishes to put up candidates from doing so but they must realistic about their prospects and not get demoralised by a bad result. Also, if Cameron gets only a tiny majority or no overall majority, there will be another General Election to fund and fight within 18 months. So, if Trevor for instance came second in a Devon seat it would be a great achievement and establish him and UKIP as credible in any subsequent Wstminster election.

Targeting a few good Westminster prospects must be the right strategy. Its a no brainer!

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