I believe….in immigration?

As a right-winger and UKIP member, I believe in immigration. That sentence might sound slightly surprising coming from the General Secretary of a Party which is perceived by the media as anti-immigration. So let me explain. I reject uncontrolled immigration. I reject immigration beyond the ability of our country’s infrastructure to cope.

 

Recently, I’ve been listening to the Bruce Springsteen song ‘American Land’. It starts off well enough, talking about people relocating to America as it grew and helping to build the country. That’s the kind of immigration that I believe in. Those who believe that they can have a better life (in this case in the UK), who come over and are determined to see themselves as part of British culture and will put their heart and soul into improving this country for all of us. I’m talking about the kind of person who is proud to come to the United Kingdom and shows that pride at every opportunity. Such people are a real asset to the country.

 

That’s why I’m so angry at the ‘left-wing’ in British politics, which has consistently pursued an effective open-door immigration policy. Uncontrolled mass immigration doesn’t provide any of those benefits, but instead creates huge cultural problems for us. Worse still, it creates resentment. In Sheffield, I see workers losing their jobs to immigrant workers. All that does is create resentment and fuels the kind of racism that we’ve painstakingly worked to get rid of from our nation.

 

We don’t know who’s in the country. We have no idea how many people will come to the UK after the doors are opened to anyone from Bulgaria and Romania. We don’t know how many of those people are coming to improve our way of life and theirs, and how many are coming for the wrong reasons. That’s what happens when you lose control of your borders, and yet another reason why we shouldn’t be members of the European Union – which forces an open-door immigration policy from 26 other EU countries (and anyone entitled to apply for a passport from one of those countries) on us. Why should someone from Poland or Hungary have more right than someone from India, China, Australia or the USA to come to the UK? Any common-sense policy would look at the value of that immigrant to the UK, not which country they come from.

 

UKIP’s immigration policy is tough. But the actions of successive Labour and Conservative governments mean that our policy is absolutely necessary. Our population is now growing beyond the country’s ability to cope. The 5-year freeze on permanent settlement gives us time to take stock and assess who is in the country before deciding what level of immigration can be allowed after that.

 

Bruce Springsteen’s song sadly shows the attitude of the Left to immigration: “The hands that built the country we’re always trying to keep out” – assuming that the immigrants who helped to build America are the same people looking to settle there today. But this is a prime tactic of those promoting mass immigration – to mislead about the true nature of immigration at the moment.

 

I believe in immigration, when it is properly managed and controlled. Thanks to ill-considered policies, immigration is seen as a bad thing by huge sections of the population. The blame lies with the tired old political parties which have systematically failed in their duty to control immigration.

Speech in Doncaster

On Saturday I was the guest speaker at the Doncaster branch social meeting.  A number of new members (and some who’d been members for a while but never attended a meeting turned up.  It was also good to catch up with Rob Bower, who had leafleted for my Police Commissioner campaign last year but had also not got involved at branch level until now.

One of my pet political theories is that UKIP’s best chances of success generally come in towns which are satellites of major cities.  For example, Eastleigh fits this mould – as do Corby, Rotherham and South Shields.  Some of our first ever council seats were taken in Hartlepool and Dudley, whilst in Bootle our 38% of the vote at a Council election happened at a time when UKIP was at just 1% nationally.  I could give many more examples, but Doncaster fits the bill as a town of real UKIP potential.

At the meeting, there was a real sense that Doncaster has been ‘left behind’.  Whereas the city centre in Sheffield has been regenerated (some with the waste of money known as ‘EU funding’ where we are given some of our own money back and told how to spend it), Doncaster has seen little improvement for decades.  People are desperate for a change, and UKIP are in a position to offer that.

This feeling of being ‘left out’ or ‘left behind’ is one of the main reasons that such seats are attractive for UKIP: people  want change.  But there are other factors as well.  There’s a much stronger sense of community than in a big city.  And the demographics least likely to vote UKIP are not present in a smaller town.

Either way, the people of Doncaster need an alternative to Labour.  Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberal Democrats will provide it.

 

Belfast meeting a huge success

The Party’s support in Northern Ireland is increasing quickly.  As well as myself, the speakers were David McNarry MLA and Paul Nuttall MEP with Cllr. Henry Reilly as the Chairman.  The first surprise of the night was the sheer number of people who turned up: a venue with space for 70 members had been booked, and the start of the meeting had to be delayed so that a couple of dozen extra seats could be brought in.  By the start of the meeting, almost 100 members were in attendance.

My speech worked focused on the potential in Northern Ireland for UKIP success.  Council elections are held under Single Transferable Vote, which makes it much easier for a developing Party to take seats.  The European elections provide a real opportunity for us – breaking through in Northern Ireland politics is difficult because of fears that UKIP could ‘split the Unionist vote’.  But we have heard similar concerns over UKIP success on the mainland – and voters are prepared to leave their traditional parties at European elections.  There should be a real chance of getting a UKIP MEP elected in Northern Ireland.David McNarry’s intellect and deep understanding of politics was impressive.  He inspired confidence in UKIP’s potential in Northern Ireland and came across as an assured and confident leader.  Previously, UKIP has had Henry Reilly elected to the Newry & Mourne Council – topping the poll by a considerable margin.  Paul Nuttall’s speech was easily the most impressive that I have ever heard him give: full of passion and commitment.  He well deserved the standing ovation that he received at the end of his speech.

 

UKIP Councillor meeting

Last Tuesday I had the privilege to chair a meeting of the UKIP County Councillors in Lincolnshire. Some of the new councillors had worked hard over months or even years to get elected; others were elected because of the national swing to UKIP and hadn’t really considered the possibility that they might actually find themselves being elected.

 

I wonder, out of the 153 (unlike the national newspapers, I’m not forgetting the 6 by-election wins) councillors elected for UKIP on May 2nd, how many of them actually believed that they were going to be elected? Or did it come as a complete shock to them?

 

When we say that UKIP members are ‘real people not career politicians’, this is what we mean! But what really encouraged me about the Lincolnshire group was seeing the enthusiasm amongst those names that I hadn’t heard before. These are the people who found themselves elected without really expecting it, and rather than be daunted by the challenge they want to use their position to make a difference to their County and for their Party. It will take time for new UKIP councillors across the country to get used to the rather arcane rules and procedures of County Councils, and therefore it could be a few months before the full UKIP impact on those councils is seen.

 

But that doesn’t mean UKIP councillors aren’t already making a difference. In Cambridgeshire, our councillors have already managed to ensure that the Cabinet system of local government will be abolished. In Norfolk, they’ve not only repeated that feat but gone one better by managing to get the Conservative administration voted out. The leadership of both Groups has done a fantastic job in negotiating the right deals to bring power back to the people and away from the hands of a small, virtually unaccountable Cabinet.