As we wait for political events to provide our next opportunity to appeal directly to the British voter we need to prepare ourselves to deal with the stock criticism that our stance means a withdrawal to a little England isolated from our neighbours in Europe – a small fish in a small pool. This can compromise our appeal to the electorate and we need to be ready to deal with this utterly false accusation.
UKIP stands for the extension of free trade to all nations, seeking to provide minimum standards for consumers and removing barriers to competitive activity, facing down blatant terrorism, confronting cross border crime, protecting the environment and conserving energy. All these require international cooperation. They do not require the destruction of our democratic sovereignty and submission to an unaccountable foreign regime. The alternative to Brussels supranationalism is not isolation and impotence – it is intergovernmentalism.
The field of criminal justice reveals how States working in cooperation can conduct an effective war on cross border crime. The creation of a judicial and security mechanisms including extradition treaties, recognition of judgements of foreign courts, cooperation with security and police agencies, the Hague Convention and many others demonstrate the effectiveness of such cooperation. It does not require us to sacrifice sovereignty and basic constitutional freedoms. One has only to consider the impact of the ‘European Arrest Warrant’ to realise the appalling consequences of the EU’s removal, without any democratic sanction, of our historic protections against loss of personal liberty.
Again, the arrest of the butcher Mladic has reminded us of the futility and impotence of the EU in dealing with international terrorism in Bosnia – recently illustrated in the absurd posturing of the EU over the Libyan crisis.
Canada has demonstrated that fish stocks can be restored and maintained by governmental action by the State whose shores adjoin the fisheries. The catastrophe of the EU fishing policy demonstrates the effect of imposing top-down dictats in the service of the overriding goal of political union. The daily examples in our fishing ports of the folly and shame of this policy are testament to the extent to which the Conservative party has been willing to sacrifice the interests of our country.
The baleful processes of the EU, utterly cut off from the people it governs, extend to so many fields of policy – trade, business ‘regulation’ and competition, environment and ‘climate change’, energy, fishing – which require international cooperation between States not subjection to an alien political regime at a cost of over £1bn a week.
We in UKIP must show that our vision is a global one extending far beyond the stockade of protectionism that is in reality the essence of the EU. We must demonstrate that only by withdrawal from the EU can we release our business enterprises from the colossal burden and cost of ‘regulation’ at home and embrace free trade with all nations abroad. Only through cooperation – not through directive – can we confront the international issues of the age.