For some time UKIP was the subject of derision and treated with laughter and scorn.
Those responsible may hide it, but nobody is laughing now, particularly the Tory establishment in Gainsborough. UKIP is an established and significant part of our modern political debate.
Nobody knows this more than Sir Edward Leigh, the long-time sitting MP for Gainsborough. He knows also that Cameron seems not to have a grasp of sincerity or truth. At UKIP we don’t believe he will be delivering on his promises. And of course, both the Liberal Democrats and the Labour Party have distanced themselves from Cameron’s pledges on our membership of the EU.
Sir Edward Leigh writes in the local press about what he has done for Gainsborough and continually promotes his track record as an MP. He tells us about his traditional Tory values – lower taxes, law and order, less state interference. He tells us that he is Eurosceptic and that we must reform the EU and our part in it, or leave! He is critical of what is happening to our schools, housing, and health service because of uncontrolled immigration. He is deeply critical of his masters at Westminster - but he does nothing about it
If you spend time talking to people about their concerns and fears in the Gainsborough constituency, as UKIP activists do, you can quickly gauge the mood and opinions. And they differ wildly from the received opinion. Controversial or not, it is right to highlight just some examples of what Gainsborough people see of our national and sovereign decline.
They see that the EU and lap-dog government policy now means that we are no longer able to dig coal, build ships or forge sufficient steel to meet our needs without the permission of the EU. Our farming is in jeopardy because of rules imposed from Brussels.
They see that we cannot rid ourselves of convicted foreign criminals.
They see that health tourism to our country is embraced and encouraged by the world and supported by the EU. Our NHS is fast becoming an International Health Service paid for by the British tax payer. They see that the NHS, bloated by “managers” and yet often not able to offer basic care, is crumbling at our feet. We can’t sack those responsible because European law won’t allow it.
Our telecoms industry is at the mercy of European companies.
Our transport system is close to chaos.
They see a rush to embrace misguided green issues and the dissipation of our nuclear and other power generating skills that simply ensure that we are perilously close to being totally at the mercy of Europe and other countries for our energy needs. How long before we see power cuts? Wind farms are not the answer: but they are sprouting up in this green and pleasant land and are blight on the landscape – unless you happen to be a rich landowner that is being made even richer by allowing them to be positioned on your land.
They see a collapsed banking system, controlled by deregulated individuals, and which has brought us to the brink of national bankruptcy.
They see Town Halls staffed by executives earning more than the Prime Minister, inflated councillors’ salaries and expenses and the spending of vast amounts of tax payers money on politically correct nonsense such as diversity monitoring and supporting non-elected foreign lawyers in that other absurd enforcement of another piece of EU crusading: human rights. And all of this while staff are forced to endure poor pay and declining working conditions. Where are their human rights? And of course, this is not to mention the loss of public and social services and where food banks have become an established fact in some of our towns
They see our police force nationally and locally losing the respect and the support of the public. We have Police and Crime Commissioners, filling a completely unnecessary office.
They see an education system in total turmoil where critics tell us that business leaders have warned that the UK’s education system is fostering a “cult of the average”, that it is failing to help bright youngsters and that the system is failing to do enough to prepare young people for the world of work and to succeed in life.
They see defence spending that now takes second place to so-called overseas development aid. Much of that aid money is reported as being wasted by regimes over which we have little sway. India is building aircraft carriers and sending missions into space, while we go cap in hand to France to help us meet that most basic responsibility of government, the defence of the realm!
They see a justice system which is little more than a joke, where unelected judges and not parliamentarians make the decisions. We see ambulance-chasing human rights lawyers dressed in archaic clothing belonging to earlier centuries, making fortunes from tax-payer funded legal aid and using litigation of their own making to pursue goals other than justice.
They see uncontrolled immigration undermining our local services, health, education and housing. As a member of the EU, Britain has lost control of her borders. Millions of unskilled immigrants have arrived here in a totally uncontrolled manner; up to one million economic migrants may be living here illegally! EU and human rights legislation means we cannot expel them.
In summary, they see that we are powerless to deal with all of this because of the EU and its dictates. At UKIP we continue to believe that Britain should be independent of the European Union, free to decide how and with whom we trade, comfortable with ourselves and with government at both national and local level that is accountable to the British people — and none other.
That Tory power is in jeopardy nationally and locally and that they are very fearful of UKIP and its common sense, common man, approach, is surely now a reality. UKIP has not yet fielded a candidate to challenge the longevity of the Tories in Gainsborough. But now it’s time for the people of Gainsborough have a real say in how they are governed nationally and locally; and that is surely not through a political elite of professional politicians like Sir Edward Leigh, who has little choice other than to be hide-bound by, and subservient to, Brussels.
Unless of course, like some of his recent colleagues, he crosses the floor!
Dr Howard Thompson
Chairman, UKIP Gainsborough Constituency Association