Uncontrolled immigration from Bulgaria and Romania

Much has been written on the situation in Sheffield’s Page Hall district regarding the Roma community, mainly from Slovakia.  UKIP’s position is perfectly clear: immigrants are guests in our country and should be expected to respect our culture.  Those who commit crimes in the UK should expect to be deported.  But of course, whilst in the EU we lack the power to enforce deportations.

 

Earlier this week, I was interviewed by the Times newspaper.  I have yet to see the story that will be printed but for almost an hour and a half the journalist grilled me, trying to get me to make anti-Roma comments.  I have never, and will never, attack anyone based upon their ethnicity or culture.  But I will oppose the EU’s uncontrolled mass net immigration into the UK.

 

The plight of the Roma people is truly heartbreaking, but the appropriate response to that is not to simply open the UK’s borders to anyone who wants to come into the country.  The problem with unlimited immigration from Bulgaria and Romania is the scale.  When months ago, 4.2% of the working-age Bulgarian population were estimated by the BBC to be ‘actively planning’ to move to the UK, that figure could well be an underestimate.  Will the expected wave of immigration from those countries result in increased crime?  It may do.   The situation in Page Hall is certainly a cause for concern, but we can do something about it without resorting to racism.

 

David Blunkett warns of riots, but offers no solution.  I can’t help but feel that it’s irresponsible, planting the idea of riots into the public’s mind without proposing a realistic, workable solution.  UKIP proposes that solution:

 

1.  Leave the European Union, so that we can once again control our borders

 

2.  Deport those immigrants who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes whilst in the UK

 

Eventually, the message will get out: guests are welcome in the UK only when they act like guests.  Something can be done about Page Hall, but not whilst we’re members of the European Union.

A great weekend for UKIP

There’s not much that beats speaking to potential new UKIP members, so I was actually quite pleased to get the call to speak at a public meeting in Stockton on Friday before the NE Conference – even though it meant I’d miss out on the Tynemouth dinner.  By all accounts, the dinner was a real success – with Nigel Farage providing a video address.  Paul Nuttall MEP deputised (that is, after all, his role as Deputy Leader).  By all accounts there were almost 200 people there for the dinner, and although I haven’t seen a figure I’m sure it will have raised plenty of money for the Party.

So I went to the Stockton public meeting which was attended by over 60 people, mostly non-members. Particularly good to spend some time with Cllr. Mark Chatburn and branch chairman Ted Strike, both of whom really have UKIP at heart.

JA with Ted Strike and Mark Chatburn

Stuart Agnew talked about the EU, whilst I covered UKIP’s other policies. The meeting heard from the Save Stockton South campaign, a group fighting against building on the greenbelt. I pointed out that uncontrolled mass immigration from the EU28 doesn’t help, and also that UKIP policy is to sort brownfield sites rather than build on greenbelt.

UKIP’s referendum policy would help groups like Save Stockton South by providing a mechanism by which they could force politicians to take notice of the views of the community.

I’m sure that there will be some new UKIP memberships after the meeting! Somewhat annoyingly, I won the raffle (always better for them to be won by someone from the voluntary party) – so I recycled the prize to help with the raffle for Redcar & Cleveland’s quiz night (30th November).

After that it was straight up to Tynemouth, where everyone seemed to want to talk.  Mental note: I really must get to bed before 5am next time.  At least I avoided drinking too much.

The Conference proper was very good indeed, despite a few last-week hurdles which the Conference team had easily managed to overcome.  The absences of Nigel Farage, Jane Collins, Captain Joe Eastwood and Rob Comley – all due to illness – could easily have caused a problem.  But Amjad Bashir, Patrick O’Flynn and Robin Hunter-Clarke answered the call at short notice.  Captain Joe Eastwood was replaced with a Major whose name slips my mind (but surely, substituting a Captain for a Major can’t ever be a bad thing!).

I would estimate 300-350 people were in attendance, for what must be a contender for the title of ‘best-ever regional Conference in the North of England’.

My own involvement was limited to a speech as lead candidate for the NE region for 2014 – which seems to have gone down very well, and taking part in the panel Q&A session.  During my speech I spoke about the coming campaign, the challenges facing us and how we’re going to put together the right campaign team.  There is a plausible scenario which would lead to UKIP taking two seats, on less than 28% of the vote.  For example, a result like this would achieve it (percentage changes on last time):

UKIP 27.4% (+12)

Labour 27% (+2)

Con 12.8% (-7)

Lib Dem 10.6% (-7)

In practice, I think we’d probably need a shade more than that – perhaps 30-32% would put us in with a realistic chance of taking two seats.  I have a sneaky feeling that Labour will score more than 27%.  In my speech I used the quote “Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land amongst the stars” to explain what we need to do with our campaign.  We can’t rest on our laurels, blindly assuming that we’ll get one MEP whatever happens.  To do that, would be to tempt fate and deny us the possibility of getting two.

Our hopes, since my speech, have been buoyed by the return of Paul Sykes.  He is determined to get Britain out of the EU, and the front page of today’s Telegraph will report his intention to put millions into the UKIP campaign for next year’s European elections.  At those elections you have the choice to vote for more of the same failed pro-EU parties (Con/LD/Lab/Green) – or to vote for the fastest-growing political party in the UK (you know what that one is).

We have to have 121 Council candidates for the 121 Council wards up for grabs in the North East in 2014, and I’m confident that we’re on course to achieve that.  Gordon Parkin as Regional Organiser will take charge of ensuring that this target is met.

Back to the Conference.  The backdrop and banners gave a really professional UKIP feel to the venue.  I would of course name the donor who printed everything for the Conference free of charge, but I mentioned his name in my speech and he told me very nicely afterwards that he’d prefer to remain anonymous.  Oh well.  A very nice guy, very much in keeping with the wonderful friendliness of people across the North East region.

As ever with a Conference, I missed far too many of the speeches – being General Secretary and the no.1 Euro elections candidate means that lots of people always want to talk.  But everyone that I actually heard (Paul Nuttall, Roger Helmer, Amjad Bashir, John Tennant) was excellent.

The last section of the Conference (before Richard Elvin’s closing speech) was the Q&A session.  The idea of ‘no deals’ with Conservative eurosceptics was incredibly popular.  My response to the question about stepping down for Conservative eurosceptics was this:

Do they also agree with us on immigration?

Do they also agree with us on flat tax?

Do they also agree with us on grammar schools?

Do they also agree with us on the environment?

Do they also agree with us on taking tough action on crime?

Do they also agree with us about protecting our armed forces?

If the answers are No, then we can’t step down for them for the single issue of the European Union.

If the answers are Yes, then they have UKIP beliefs but stand for a Party which they disagree with.  In that case, they are hypocrites and should join UKIP.  We must stand against them.

A good day was had by all, and we await the final figures to find out whether the Conference has merely broken even or actually raised money for the region.

We followed the end of the Conference with a European elections candidates’ meeting, before the 20 or so who had bravely stayed around until after 8pm all went out for a curry.

Nissan won’t leave UK over EU

I really need to update this site more often!  The Nissan story is one which causes real concern in the North East.  This is yet another example of scaremongering from the pro-EU lobby.  Firstly, Ghosn didn’t actually say that Nissan would leave the UK if we weren’t in the EU.  He didn’t even imply that they would, but it certainly reads that way from the BBC article.  Secondly, outside the EU Britain would be more competitive not less.

My thoughts on this issue can be seen on the national UKIP website here.