Sunday, 25 November 2012
Are UKIP any alternative for workers?
I’ve heard a lot of late of the UK independence party so I thought I’d tackle them head on in this blog post. I’d like to give a detailed analysis of whether the working class should see them as any sort of alternative at all to the major political parties. No doubt UKIP will gain in support in the short term due to the disaffection from the 3 major parties they have some very wealthy backers and have a well known representative in Nigel farage who gets a lot of television and radio air time despite his complaints far more than reel alternatives like TUSC and those genuinely opposed to the cuts. UKIP are trying to position themselves as anti establishment and we as socialists must be very clear this is a absolute lie given their funding base and the aims of its party UKIP are yet another establishment party playing on the fears of workers and middle class voters on the issue of Europe and given the Euro crisis its no wonder a reactionary anti EU stance is getting an echo with voters at the moment. But we must be wary of the dangers they pose. 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 has been right-wing Tories who are trying to push the Tory party into opposing the EU. One of UKIP's biggest donors in the past was Stuart Wheeler. He is a rich businessman and Tory party member who have 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 2004, 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 too 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 present and previous UK governments including new Labours 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 recent N14 general strikes across mainland Europe showing the potential power of the European working class. 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, ex 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. So UKIP who may gain in the short term by reactionary views towards the EU have no real practical solution for the working class of Europe or of Britain for that matter and must be treated with the contempt that they treat workers with. They are no alterative and we must be on our guard against them with their rich mates ploughing money into this right wing anti immigrant party. With UKIP nationally now regularly out polling the Lib Dems and attracting some rather unsavourily far right characters many of which are ex BNP we must always be wary of the far right racist possible fascist threat which if the labour movement fails to give a lead could easily gain in support as a reaction.