Expert View

Ukip manifesto continues obsession with crashing out of EU

by Denis MacShane | 25.05.2017

Denis MacShane is a former Minister of Europe and was a Labour MP for 18 years.

The big difference between today’s Ukip manifesto and previous ones is that there is no picture of Nigel Farage in it. Otherwise, its well-known obsessions about migrants and anything European have star billing.

The top line commitment is to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and kill the Article 50 negotiating procedure. That would crash the UK economy as our current privileged access to the EU’s 450 million consumers would come to a dead stop.

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Another promise is to create a 200-mile exclusive fishing zone. As in the glory days of the Icelandic fishing wars, this could require every trawler being accompanied by one of the just 19 frigates or destroyers the Royal Navy still sets sail in.

And of course there is immigration. Ukip proposes a new agency – the Migration Control Commission – which will reduce net immigration to zero in just five years. This will cover all incomers not just those from Europe. The Brexit line that stopping Europeans from coming to Britain means more room for Asian or African Commonwealth immigrants is now revealed as the fake promise it always was.

Girls who return home from family holidays in countries where female genital mutilation (FGM) is practised will be screened. That’s on top of annual check-ups of girls identified to be at risk of FGM from birth to age 16.

There will be “a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled immigration for five years after we leave the EU” which will shut down much of the hospitality and catering industries, as well as old-age care homes.

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    Tourist visas which have not been the norm for travel in Europe for decades – well before the UK joined the EEC – will come in as well work and resident permits. There is no costing of the impact on the UK tourist and retail industry of not allowing in the millions of visitors from Europe unless each has first gone through the rigmarole of applying for a visa.

    All cars from Europe will have a special windscreen sticker so that Ukip can easily identify them in case working out a foreign number plate is too complicated.

    Naturally, EU flags will be banned and 23 June will become a national holiday as “Independence Day”. Similarly, all owners of diesel cars can breathe easy – unless inhaling their own exhaust fumes – as Ukip will protect diesel cars from any special emissions tax or charges to enter city centres.

    Finally, Ukip will opt out of the European Arrest Warrant so the chances of getting a terrorist or other criminal who has scarpered to Europe to be sent back to the UK to face justice would plummet.

    Edited by Hugo Dixon

    3 Responses to “Ukip manifesto continues obsession with crashing out of EU”

    • Whilst you’re tempted to just laugh at some of the extreme ideas in UKip’s manifesto, there is a real danger that the Conservatives may want to take some of them on board as a means of wooing their potential supporters.

      If, for example, everyone has to apply for a visa to visit Europe, that would be an enormous hassle to people going backwards and forwards. Alot of people would just abandon the idea of crossing the Channel for a long weekend if their whole family had to go through a visa process in advance. Alot of people travel spontaneously in the way they do between London and Bournemouth. To have to purchase the visas would add insult to injury.

      This is exactly the type of issue that Theresa May needs to spell out where she stands. Its just not good enough to leave it all up to her and the Government to negotiate on our behalf “for the common good”, whatever that might mean.