Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/581/7342
UKIP - yet another establishment party
WITH THE MPs' expenses scandal further undermining public support for the three main establishment parties, far right outfits like the UK Independence Party are hoping to revive their flagging fortunes in the forthcoming European elections. Naomi Byron exposes the reactionary nature of UKIP.
IN THE 2004 elections to the European Parliament one-third of the UK votes cast went to parties without representation at Westminster. The biggest of these was the UK Independence Party (UKIP) who won 16%, pushing the Lib Dems into fourth place.
UKIP do not oppose the European Union because it benefits the bosses at the expense of workers. They have no problem with privatisation of public services and industries, restrictions on trade union rights, redundancies or forcing wages down. The leaders of UKIP, and many of their backers are mainly right-wing Tories who are trying to push the Tory party into opposing the EU.
One of UKIP's biggest donors this year is Stuart Wheeler. He is a rich businessman and Tory party member who has donated millions of pounds to the Tories. Now he has donated £100,000 to UKIP and called on other Tory party members to vote for them.
These right-wing businessmen aren't giving millions of pounds to UKIP because they want more money spent on hospitals and education. They oppose the EU partly from a standpoint of wanting more "free trade" and "deregulation" of businesses. That is, more freedom for big business to gamble with our jobs and pensions, and to profit from the sell-off of more public services.
In their first election TV broadcast on 7 May, UKIP called the EU "a bloated organisation that is riddled with corruption where expenses and subsidies are abused". They should know - they are just as deep in corruption as all the other capitalist parties. Of the 12 UKIP members of the European parliament (MEPs) elected in 2004, UKIP have had to expel two for corruption.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has taken £2 million of taxpayers' money in expenses and allowances as a MEP, on top of his £64,000 a year salary.
Tom Wise, elected as a UKIP MEP in 2004, has been kicked out of UKIP twice after allegations that he channelled tens of thousands of pounds meant for his researcher into his own bank account. He has now been charged with money-laundering and false accounting.
Another, Ashley Mote, was jailed for benefit fraud in 2007. UKIP had selected him as their number two candidate in the South East despite knowing he was facing charges for fraud, but were forced to expel him a few months after his election in 2004. Incredibly, because Mote's prison sentence was less than one year, he was able to return as an MEP!
A key UKIP slogan is "no to unlimited EU immigration" - a cynical attempt to tap into the real fear that exists about jobs and wages. This fear is not just as a result of the current economic crisis but also New Labour's attempts to use migrant labour, particularly from Eastern Europe, to drive down wages and increase the profits of big business.
The only way workers can defend their rights is by taking collective action, like the construction workers around Britain who have struck against their employers' attempts to use the EU laws and court rulings to break national trade union agreements on wages and conditions by using overseas labour.
Workers all around the EU need to stand together against job losses, the 'race to the bottom' in terms of wages and working conditions, and the attempts to push through privatisation and to break trade union agreements.
UKIP do not care about workers' rights. John Whitaker, UKIP MEP for the North West sacked his constituency office manager after she had a stroke - an employment tribunal found him guilty of unlawful dismissal.
UKIP's attempt to gain votes as an 'anti-establishment' party is contrived. Its policies and actions make it part of the right wing establishment. Fortunately, in the European elections there is a genuine working class alternative that stands for workers' solidarity against the bosses' Europe, ie 'No2EU - Yes to Democracy'.
In The Socialist 27 May 2009:
Youth fight for jobs
Construction workers feature
International socialist news and analysis
PCS conference and workplace news
Socialist Party campaigning news