Armed with an impressive array of ‘what ifs’, Business Report provides a somewhat satirical examination on UKIP and what they offer to the UK and its economy.
Nigel Farage, the outspoken leader of UKIP, can be simply billed as a man with refreshingly low expectations. Speaking in November, Nigel was impressed with his party’s by-election losses. “This party is going places’ he beamed. There has no doubt been a noticeable surge in popularity though and Nigel is aware of it.
“Unless we see some really substantial change from the government and the Labour party ... with a U-turn on Europe, open-door immigration, gay marriage and other things, then there’s no reason to think that this level of support for UKIP can’t be maintained” he told Sky News.
It’s probably optimistic to say that this surge is solely due radical and interesting range of policies that UKIP offer. Both labour and the conservatives have their problems, and it doesn’t take a genius to recognise the slow death of the Lib Dems, so it’s of no surprise that UKIP find themselves with a swathe of new voters.
You don’t have to look far to see Farage’s face nowadays either. Now a firm staple of Question Time and Newsnight, Nigel Farage appears more often than Will Self or Diane Abbott, and he has clearly benefited from the increase in publicity. UKIP sit as the third most popular party, registering a record 14% share on at least 3 different polls. The Lib Dems meanwhile have plummeted to 9%, so the chances of UKIP being successful in 2014 are now much greater.
Admittedly, a more likely scenario than them storming to victory in the general election is a Conservative/UKIP coalition in 2014. In order for UKIP to be interested however, a referendum promise would have to be written in blood, presumably that of a Belgian bureaucrat. One can only salivate at the prospect of Cameron and Farage at the helm, and seeing how well the Lib Dems have fared in the role of the coalition, it must seem tempting.
One of the problems with UKIP, which they will now have to address with urgency, is that it is quite difficult to shake off the feeling that they are a one issue party. Regardless, the appeal of leaving the EU has convinced the majority of its new fan base.
Farage appeared on Newsnight last week, in which the show took the idea of fortune telling even further by reporting the news for 2020 in their Europe Special. ‘Predicting what the future would look like if we were to leave the EU is difficult’, Newsnight’s Paul Mason warned, however that didn’t stop him from trying and both visions of a complete failure or economic security were presented with enlightening results.
To Nigel Farage, the future outside of Europe means that our ‘democracy would be regenerated’, and debates on new legislation would be fast and furious in the aftermath.
Their protectionist economic policies are not free from wide scrutiny however. Europe no doubt accounts to a significant proportion of UK exports, so could this mean that this market could be put at risk should we leave the common market in the future. The introduction of tariffs could also put investors off from settling in the UK. Sir Andrew Cahn, of Business for New Europe, believes “the UK would be lonely and poorer if it left the European Union.”
Despite worries from some leading business figures, Farage has a different point of view. Seeing as Europe only contributes a truly miniscule 38% of UK trade, it is imperative that we evacuate the Eurozone before it crumbles.
Nothing riles Farage more than Europe’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and should he rise to power it would certainly have to be one of the first things he would address. UKIP believe that the CFP has been a complete disaster from a UK perspective, as tens of thousands of jobs have been lost as a direct result.
In their 2012, local manifesto, UKIP advocate immediately withdrawing from the CFP and pursuing a policy of restoration of territorial water boundaries. This would potentially involve with the formation of an ‘Exclusive economic zone’, roughly 200 nautical miles from the coast, which the UK would have total control and create a fish profile network of any fish caught.
It’s expected that these tough policies would return a £3bn industry and put an end to the discarding of dead fish.
How he would implement these policies however is not exactly set out. Presumably the UK would feature a huge net would be erected which ensnares the entirety of the UK and the seas, making sure that not a single foreign fish could enter our territorial waters without immigration checks.
In addition to the ‘Farage Net’, massive iron gates would have to guard our land borders, as it turns out UKIP aren’t fond of economic immigration either. The free movement of the job market with Europe has meant a massive oversupply of unskilled workers, thus extending our borders to the whole of Eastern Europe would be ended. Under UKIP the total open door policy would be remodelled, in favour of their slightly ajar door alternatively, letting in a merely unpleasant draft.
So to summarise, we would come out of Europe, out of open door immigration and probably out of a lot of European trade deals. The only come out that UKIP don’t seem to be in favour of is gay marriage. As always with Farage, this issue is not safe from the cold touch of EU Directives or the European court of Human Rights.
UKIP really are a party of radical policies then, centrered around the offer of economic freedom if we leave the common market, however with this freedom we should be aware of a fair amount of “Farageian” restrictions ready to take their place.