Why UKIP? you might ask. Certainly it's not a party I'd consider voting for. I don't agree with the way they approach immigration, in fact I can't think of a policy of theirs I agree with. I'm not a right winger that kind of tradition and conservatism is the opposite of what I believe. Perhaps if Nigel Farage hadn't disowned the entirety of their 2010 manifesto I could have had sympathy with the policy of painting trains in traditional colours, it's the kind of trivial and quirky policy that actually has an element of character to it. Probably one of the few that doesn't revolved around demonising foreigners as well.
I was surprised when I did the I Side With test that UKIP were not at the bottom, they were second from last. Somehow I agree more with the BNP!!!! (see note at the bottom) (27%) than UKIP (24%). But the test thankfully explains where you agree with a party. Apparently I agree with UKIP that tuition fees should be abolished, HS2 should be stopped. Very very bizarrely I answered that possession of drugs by non violent criminals shouldn't automatically lead to a prison sentence, somehow UKIP were more radical than me believing "we should decriminalize most drugs".
UKIP to their credit were the second party to get back to me. In terms of chances they have a huge one in this election. I think it's extremely unlikely that they will not come away with an MEP and will probably equal the 2 they returned in 2009. As I explained before the point of this exercise was to not only inform people of the parties policies but also to understand what our perhaps future MEPs though on issues and to hold them to account on them. This was the reason I included UKIP because they have a strong chance, it was also the reason I disincluded the BNP because they look destined to the dustbin of history (thankfully).
I also did not contact the new party who have splintered from UKIP An Independence from Europe, who already have MEPs (ex UKIP and a Dutch MEP) they seem less fervently right wing although their policy page is a little concise, so hard to get a good idea. They will be first on the ballot paper so might benefit from that, they also might also attract those against the EU that don't agree with Nigel Farage's anti immigration rhetoric. Perhaps I'll be proved wrong in writing them off, we shall see...
Below is the UKIP candiate Tony McIntyre's answers to my questions, they are without comment from myself, but I will blog at a later date with my thoughts on the candidates responses:
1. If elected as an MEP what would you most like to achieve in the next parliament?
See the UK leave the Union. It is my belief that this country would boom if we had control of our own destiny.
2. What is your party's goal in this term of the parliament?
See above. However the most important thing is that we should leave will our integrity intact.
3. Is the European Union a force for good in Cornwall at the moment? Why or why not?
When you have a club that charges you a large sum of money to be a member and then allows you to have some of it back to spend on projects that it dictates to you, as long as you match fund the projects, as has happened with a number of projects in Cornwall, how can that be the best use of your resources?
4. Could the EU be doing more for Cornwall?
Our own government should be doing more for Cornwall, rather than encouraging more developers to build more wind turbines with hefty subsidies.
5. If there is a referendum on the UK's place in the EU, would you campaign for or against UK membership?
Against UK membership.
6. Should Cornwall have a greater say in the EU, how might this be achieved?
When you realise that the total UK representation in the European Parliament will only be 8% of the number of MEP's elected, you begin to realise that the UK has very little representation. With that in mind I cannot see how Cornwall will ever have a 'greater say'.
7. Do you think Cornish fishermen get a good deal from the Common Fisheries Policy? What aspects of the CFP would you defend and which would you change?
The Cornish fishermen get a lousy deal from the the CFP. The CFP is specifically set up to benefit the larger fishing fleets of other European countries
8. Do you think Cornish farmers get a good deal from the Common Agricultural Policy? What aspects of the CAP would you defend and which would you change?
Cornish farmers do not get a good deal from the CAP. UKIP has stated that it would retain the subsidies that farmers receive if we were to leave the EU, it business terminology, it makes sense to cut out the middle man (Brussels).
9. Have European Structural Funds (Objective 1, Convergence) been a success in Cornwall? how should future funding be allocated?
If Cornwall county council had the funds to develop Cornwall, it would be better than officials in Brussels making the decisions for them. Local people know what is best for them and they also have a better idea of what will work.
10. The Cornish have recently been recognised as a national minority. Is this a good thing? How does this apply to an MEP?
As far as I can see, minority status means that the Cornish flag and the Cornish language are recognised. I can't see how this comes into the European argument. Please correct me if I am wrong
Before you all castigate me for agreeing 27% with the BNP, I know I may now be over 30 and succumbed to the saying of radicalism fading with age (from various sources):
“If a man is not a Socialist at 20 be has no heart, but if he remains one at 30 he has no head.”
But indeed where I agree with the far right wingers is actually pretty left wing radical stuff and certainly to the left of the Labour party. Increase corporation tax for large companies, decrease for smaller ones. No to austerity. No to banning strikes on the London underground. Ban zero hours contracts. Abolish university tuition fees. Finally no to privatisation of the NHS. Not that that party have campaigned on these issues or done anything about them with the positions of power they have held...