Friday, 30 April 2010

A statement from Lord Pearson

There have been certain debates and discussions (many of them rather heated) about UKIP's tactics in the election. Lord Pearson of Rannoch has issued the following statement.

I understand those in UKIP who want to fight all our 560 seats in the traditional way. There are however a few very marginal seats where if we do so, we will prevent a committed Eurosceptic from being elected. We will not win those seats, and we will thus send a Europhile to Parliament instead. In some of these seats, we are not fielding candidates, and are actively helping the Eurosceptics. In others, we are fielding candidates, but I would like them to support the Eurosceptics and attract the votes of the other parties.

I have never made any secret about this strategy, and stood on this platform when I ran for the leadership. Of course I regret that some of my colleagues at local level do not agree with me. UKIP is a very democratic party, and they are free to act as they see fit.

I will continue to put our Country above party politics.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Report from Kettering

The Northamptonshire Evening Telegraph reports Lord Pearson's campaign on behalf of Philip Hollobone, the Conservative candidate in Kettering.
Lord Pearson praised Philip Hollobone's 'brave' views on Europe, immigration and banning the burkha and promised UKIP members would campaign for his election.
UKIP has withdrawn candidates and has pledged itself to back those candidates only who are definitely in favour of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, even if means a set-back in their political career.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Possible legal action against the BBC

The Hereford Times reports that UKIP is considering legal action over that last debate tomorrow evening.
Party leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch has written to BBC director-general Mark Thompson arguing that the corporation is breaching its own election coverage guidelines by refusing to allow Ukip equal footing with Labour, Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats.

Lord Pearson said that if the BBC does not agree to allow him to participate in the debate by noon on Wednesday, Ukip will apply to the courts for a judicial review of the decision and injunction overturning the ruling.
The Daily Telegraph, reporting on the SNP's legal action, adds that UKIP is supporting it and demanding the right to participate in the BBC's debate.

UPDATE: The SNP's attempt to prevent the last debate being shown by the BBC in Scotland without the participation of Alex Salmond has failed, as the Daily Telegraph reports. How this will affect UKIP's potential challenge is at present unclear.

Campaigning for Eurosceptic candidates

UKIP, as Lord Pearson said at the Spring Conference in Milton Keynes, is genuinely breaking the mould of modern British politics. As it is more important, strategically, to get some genuine opponents of British membership of the EU into the House of Commons than get a possibly small number of UKIP votes in those few constituencies, the candidates have stood down in seven constituencies.

The Worcester News reports that Lord Pearson is going further in a few of those constituencies where he intends to campaign for the eurosceptics who have the greatest chance either to retain their seats or to get in on May 6.

It has to be made clear, however, that there needs to be a definite commitment on the part of the candidate who is not to be challenged by anyone from UKIP.
"It won't be enough for them to say airy-fairily 'I'm a better off outer' - they will have to give a commitment with which I am satisfied that they really will fight for our freedom when they get into the House of Commons in questions and debates... and if necessary they must defy the whip," he [Lord Pearson] told the Press Association.
Interestingly, some Conservatives interpreted this move as to mean that UKIP will not be campaigning against any of their candidates who might be defeated by a Lib-Dem after that unexpected surge in public opinion. The truth had to be explained to them.

It used to be Brown, now it is Clegg

The Conservative Party, unable to produce a sensible policy on what they call Europe and the rest of us call the European Union, spend their time attacking UKIP and its leader, Lord Pearson. They used to say that a UKIP vote will give you five more years of Brown despite the fact that it does not look as if the next government will last for five years, no matter who heads it. Since that first debate and the unexpected surge of Nick Clegg in the opinion polls, they have changed their wording a little. For a while it was vote UKIP and get Clegg; now it is vote UKIP and get both Clegg and Brown. What is missing from all those attacks is a positive reason why anybody who cares about this country's government should vote Conservative.

Alex Singleton in the Daily Telegraph goes even further. He asserts that this election is not about Europe and a vote for UKIP is, therefore, a wasted vote. So this election is not about the fact that a large proportion of our legislation comes from the EU and Parliament can do nothing about it.

Curiously enough, Mr Singleton agrees with UKIP's position in that Britain should come out of the EU. He just does not think it is of any importance at the moment because
Britain’s exit from the EU will happen, but it will take some time. Dramatic changes in public policy are caused by major crises, and – even with worries about Greek debt – we lack a big enough European crisis to force and win a referendum against our membership.
Mr Singleton possibly did not notice that the collapse of the Soviet Union happened suddenly and unexpectedly, long after the crisis had emerged. The idea that miraculously the Conservative Party, if it wins the election, will take Britain out of the EU just because the time for that has come does not argue any great political acumen.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Recent media coverage

The Election Editor of the East Anglian Daily Times considers that
THE UK Independence Party pulled off a massive coup in Suffolk when national leader Lord Pearson came to support residents of a market town in their fight to prevent a Tesco super store being built.
Lord Pearson was launching the UKIP campaign in East Anglia and supporting the Suffolk South Parliamentary candidate, David Campbell Bannerman.

In the Observer, which cannot have many Conservative voters among its readers, there is a passionate plea from Jonathan Isaby, co-editor of Conservative Home, not to vote UKIP to the Conservative Party's detriment. That will deliver exactly the opposite result to the one wished for by UKIP, that is a more euro-federalist government. Since the result UKIP wishes is an exit from the European Union, Mr Isaby's argument falls somewhat short of the mark.

His argument that
The Conservatives, on the other hand, are fighting this election with a clear policy of not only seeking repatriation of certain powers and making any future transfer of power always subject to a referendum – but also pledging to pass a Sovereignty Bill, making it clear authority remains at Westminster.
merely shows that he still does not understand what being a member of the European Union means. The Conservatives do not, indeed, cannot explain how they are going to repatriate certain powers without opening up treaty negotiations. Furthermore, authority has not been at Westminster for several decades.

Melissa Kite's interview with Lord Pearson, published in the Sunday Telegraph, appeared on the web twice in slightly different formats. On Saturday evening she explained that Lord Pearson had "admitted" that UKIP was campaigning for a hung parliament. This has never been denied before and neither has UKIP's and Lord Pearson's opinion that things would have been very different if David Cameron had not reneged on his "cast-iron guarantee" to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.
"If Ukip can do well enough, say a couple of million votes, then we will be in a position to show David Cameron and the failed old parties that they can't form a government unless they give the British people the referendum, in or out of the EU," Lord Pearson said.

Mr Cameron has now promised to introduce a Bill to ensure that no further powers can be transferred to Brussels without a referendum. Lord Pearson said that was "useless" because the important powers have been transferred.
On Sunday morning the interview is in more detail, including a discussion about seats where UKIP candidates have stood aside to give real eurosceptics a free run and those where the strategy did not work out.

Lord Pearson also gives amusing insights into arguments his erstwhile party colleagues have been using.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Eastern Region

Lord Pearson will be visiting Suffolk tomorrow, April 22. He will be meeting with fishermen of West Mersea at 10 o'clock in the Boat Park, opposite the Victory Pub, West Mersea fishing port. The Common Fisheries Policy is one of the truly disastrous aspects of the European Union from economic, political and ecological points of view.

This is a good time to remind everyone that the Conservative Party did, finally, adopt a sensible fishing policy under Michael Howard that not only assumed a withdrawal from the CFP but went further and outlined various possible plans for the development of fisheries in Britain. The first thing David Cameron did on becoming leader was to ditch the policy. This was not very well known at the time and the excuse is frequently brought out that Cameron had to get rid of the "swivel-eyed europhobic image" of the party. Not that anyone outside the BBC ever noticed that. The point about the CFP is that withdrawing from it would have been popular with many people for many different reasons. The only opponents would have been the europhiliacs and eurocrats. Mr Cameron chose not to challenge them.

At 12 o'clock Lord Pearson will be talking to demonstrators outside 100 Hadleigh High Street (corner of Pound Lane and High Street).

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

World at One

For those who missed Election Call on the World at One today, with listeners putting their questions to Lord Pearson, the programme can be heard for a week.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Lady Pearson is standing for Parliament

It is now official: Lady Pearson of Rannoch is standing for Parliament in Kensington and Chelsea. Media reaction has been largely what one would expect with John Crace in the Guardian displaying the left's usual misogyny towards her and Sarah Palin.

News on News calls her UKIP's secret weapon but cannot get the title right and Jan Moir in the Daily Mail, who also gets the title wrong even if she supplies the family background, does her usual hatchet job with an extremely blunt instrument. All publicity is good publicity in politics, especially during an election campaign.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Kent campaign launched

As Kent Online reports, Lord Pearson launched UKIP's campaign in Kent yesterday (and an admission is needed: there were gremlins at work when the Dover day was being reported on this blog), emphasising two issues, the economy and immigration. Neither of them can be solved while Britain remains in the EU because no member of the EU can be in control of either.

The journalist who reported the launch seems to have been thrilled to bits when he discovered that Lord Pearson made "a minor blunder" by not knowing that UKIP was supporting Boris Johnson's airport scheme for the Thames Estuary. As Lord Pearson admitted to not knowing it and as party leaders frequently forget details of policy, this seems to be a very minor problem.

A far bigger criticism is raised by Channel 4's so-called FactCheck blog about "the majority of Britain's national legislation coming from Brussels". Its author, Cathy Newman, seems to think it ironic that UKIP should be referring back to a statement by a former German President, which just shows that she cannot understand the difference between opposition to the EU and dislike for foreigners.

Ms Newman's arguments and various contradictory references prove the difficulty of calculating percentages of legislation. However, she seems unaware of the importance of the directly applicable EU Regulations, which she mentions only in passing, and the amount of legislation they produce. Her final verdict is that UKIP is probably wrong but nobody seems to know the answer.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Visit to Dover

Tomorrow, Friday April 16, Lord Pearson will be in Dover. Here is the programme, as arranged so far:

10am: Dover Town Hall, Biggin Street, CT16 1DL

Lord Pearson to meet representatives from Dover Chamber of Commerce.

10.30am: Dover College, Effingham Crescent, CT17 9RH

Lord Pearson to meet with headmaster.

11am to 1pm: Dover Sea Sports Centre, Marine Parade, CT17 9HU

Lord Pearson in roundtable discussion with Kent PPCs (around 13 currently planning to attend from across the county). Q&A session with PPCs, plus Lord P earson outlines the UKIP view on the possible sale of Dover port.

The media have been invited from 11.30am.

Time set aside for media interviews. Paul Francis, political editor of the Kent Messenger Group of papers is attending, as is Nick Ames from the Kent on Sunday Group. Any broadcast media will be confirmed nearer the time.

1pm: 45 minute boat trip around the port

Boat leaves from nearby the sports centre. PPCs may choose to join Lord P earson on the trip. This will also provide another photo opportunity.

Policy on Wales

Lord Pearson launched UKIP's Welsh campaign today by promising to scrap the immensely expensive Welsh Assembly for which only 25 per cent of the Principality's population voted and make Welsh MPs in Westminster resume their task of dealing with Welsh affairs. UKIP has one MEP from Wales, John Bufton, who was also present at the launch in Cardiff's Yacht Club.

The Leaders' Debate

As we all know, according to the ITV organizers of the debate, there are only three party leaders out there. Presumably, they still have not noticed that every opinion poll shows a sizeable chunk of the population not supporting any of those three.

Nevertheless, Lord Pearson will be there in the studio, though not on the panel, this evening. Campaign 2010 with Jonathan Dimbleby will be shown live this evening from 10.35 to 11.35.

A polite request

It has not been necessary to monitor comments on this blog so the policy will continue to be an open one. However, it is not helpful to discussion if people do not sign their comments (with an assumed name, if they really feel shy about revealing their real ones.

So, this is a polite request: please try to sign your comments. A Google account for blogs is free and easy to acquire. If you do not wish to bother, by all means don't. It is just as easy to put up a seemingly Anonymous comment and put a name under it.

Thank you.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

UKIP campaign has been launched

UKIP has gone for the jugular. Three jugulars, to be precise. As the Press Association reports:
Ukip said "Sod the lot" as they launched their manifesto, telling voters it was time to ditch the three main parties.

The party's new poster features the faces of Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg alongside the slogan "Sod The Lot".

Ukip leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch said it was time for a new politics and argued that leaving the EU would save up to £120 billion a year - with no jobs or trade lost from Britain. It was a choice of public sector cuts from all major parties versus no cuts at all under Ukip, he said.
Lord Pearson also gave a list of candidates (none of them are MPs any more) whom UKIP will not oppose:
The party will not field candidates in constituencies held by MPs who it is satisfied are opposed to Britain's membership of the EU. Lord Pearson named the Conservative candidates Ukip would not run against as Philip Davies (Shipley), Douglas Carswell (Clacton), Janice Small (Batley and Spen), Alex Story (Wakefield), and Philip Hollobone (Kettering).

It will also not run against Labour's David Drew in Stroud and independent Bob Spink in Castle Point. Ukip will actively campaign to elect these candidates but Lord Pearson was at pains to say they had not asked for Ukip's help.
Tomorrow Lord Pearson will be launching the Buckingham campaign.

Monday, 12 April 2010

UKIP General Election campaign is to be launched tomorrow

Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 13 UKIP will be launching its General Election campaign at the Atrium on Millbank, SW1P 3JA at 9 am.

Lord Pearson of Rannoch, UKIP Party Leader, will talk about UKIP’s decision not to field candidates against a number of sitting Eurosceptic MPs and candidates, both Labour and Tory...breaking with the tired, old traditions of British politics.

David Campbell Bannerman will give a brief run-through the manifesto and Paul Nuttall, Party Chairman, will introduce the new poster campaign.

The following day Lord Pearson will be in Buckingham to launch, together with Christopher Booker, Nigel Farage's campaign there.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Yet more campaign news

Kent News reports that on Thursday, April 15, Lord Pearson will be in Dover in order
to meet the party’s Kent candidates and outline his concerns about the possible sale of Dover port.

The UKIP leader will also meet local business-leaders at Dover Town Hall and representatives from Dover College.

He will then take a boat trip around Dover port to see the facilities that have been earmarked as a possible source of revenue to finance some of the national debt.
This should be of interest to anyone in Kent who is interested in UKIP's electoral advance.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Straight talking

The BBC website quotes Lord Pearson's comments on Andrew Neil's Straight Talk that is being broadcast several times this week-end.
The leader of the UK Independence Party has said David Cameron winning a working majority in the election "is certainly the end of this country".

Lord Pearson said this was because the Conservative leader had ruled out a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) for five years.
Conservative response was that if they are in government they "will change the law so that any future treaty that hands over areas of power will be put to the British people in a referendum, will never join the euro, and wants to bring back powers from Brussels to Britain". This is, of course, meaningless. A great deal of power has already been given away, not least in the Lisbon Treaty on which the Conservative leader had given "a cast-iron guarantee" that there would be a referendum. None of that is up for discussion.

Much more power will be given away as a result of treaties that have already been signed and of other agreements such as the Hague and Tampere ones that deal with various judicial matters such as immigration. None of that will be up for discussion either.

As for bringing powers back to Britain, we have heard nothing from the Conservative Party that inspires one with any confidence that they even understand the process that would be required, let alone be prepared to put it into action.

On another subject, Lord Pearson announced that there will be no UKIP candidates against three well-known Conservative opponents of the EU and Britain's membership in it, Douglas Carswell, Philip Davies and Philip Hollobone, as well as at least one Labour opponent. As soon as UKIP can find a Lib-Dem supporter of Britain's withdrawal they will announce that they will not stand against him or her.

Straight Talk With Andrew Neil will be broadcast on the BBC News Channel on Sunday, 11 April at 0130BST and 2330BST, and on Tuesday 13 April at 0330BST. It can also be seen in iPlayer here (with thanks to the reader of this blog who provided this link).

Friday, 9 April 2010

More campaign news

Lord Pearson will be present at the launch of both the UKIP campaign in Wales and in the South-West.

On Wednesday, April 14 there will by a meeting in the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club, Ferry Road, Grangetown, Cardiff CF11 OJL at 10.30 am. Speakers will be: Warwick Nicholson, John Bufton MEP and Lord Pearson.

On the same day there will be a meeting at 1.45 pm at the Marriott Royal Hotel, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TA. Speakers will be: William Dartmouth MEP, Trevor Coleman MEP and Lord Pearson.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

It seems we do not have to ask the Commission

Lord Willoughby de Broke, the other UKIP peer in the House of Lords asked HMG about the proposed ban on mephedrone, which is widely opposed and has been described by various analysts as being illegal under EU rules, "whether they were required to consult the European Union before banning mephedrone".

HMG, in the person of Lord West again, thinks no.
The UK Government do not consider that they are required to consult the European Commission before controlling mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

The technical standards directive is not designed to cover action by member states to control dangerous drugs and consequently no consultation with the Commission is necessary prior to laying a draft order before Parliament to control mephedrone under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.
It will be interesting to see if HMG's lawyers will turn out to be right on the subject.

More on those arrest warrants

And more on whether HMG feels at all responsible in this matter.

On April 7 Hansard published the following Written Question from Lord Pearson of Rannoch:
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answers by Lord West of Spithead on 19 November 2008 (WA 199) and 25 March 2010 (WA 324-5), how many British citizens have faced proceedings under the European arrest warrant; how many have been surrendered; and what accounts for any difference between the number arrested and the number deported.
Lord West answered on HMG's behalf:
On 19 November 2008, the Home Office replied to the noble Lord stating that, from 1 January 2004 up to 30 September 2008, 203 British citizens had been arrested pursuant to EAWs. 101 British nationals had subsequently been surrendered to other European member states pursuant to EAWs. Due to changes in late 2008 in the way the information was recorded it is not possible to provide figures for the remainder of 2008-09 without disproportionate effort. However, a new system introduced on 1 April 2009 will allow SOCA to provide more detailed figures once these have been validated.

The difference between the number of arrests compared with the number of surrenders over any period is due to the judicial processes in the UK. Once the subject has been arrested on the European arrest warrant, it can take from a matter of days to many months before the subject is surrendered to the requesting territory.
It would appear that HMG remains ignorant of the numbers and is not over-anxious to find out.

Campaign news

The Bucks Herald reports that Lord Pearson of Rannoch and Christopher Booker will both be there at the launch of Nigel Farage's campaign in Buckingham on April 13. The event will take place in the Buckingham Community Centre at 7 pm.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Letter in the Daily Telegraph on a possible Greek bail-out

On March 27, Lord Pearson had a letter in the Daily Telegraph [scroll down to second topic], in which he touched on the possibility of Britain being forced to help bail out Greece and on the chances of the euro's problems being used by the colleagues in Brussels as a "beneficial crisis".
SIR – I fear Britain can already be forced to bail out Greece under EU Treaties (report, “EU draws up plans for single 'economic government’”, March 26). The Government admitted to me in the Lords on March 15 that “any request for financial support… would be considered by the… Council, where it would be voted on by a qualified majority”.

I also fear that the euro’s difficulties will not break up the EU itself, as many now hope. Even if Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy and Ireland all fall out of the euro, it will not stop the European integration project.

Instead, it will be taken by the Eurocrats as the best “beneficial crisis” yet, to be overcome with “more Europe” under the powers granted at Lisbon.
The letter was in reply to a piece by Bruno Waterfield on March 25, in which he talked of Van Rompuy's "mission ... to draw up a master-plan for the best way to oversee and enforce economic targets set in Brussels as a key part of a bail-out package for Greece". The last paragraph of the letter was edited out but was used in a speech in the House of Lords on March 30, which will be blogged next.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Indy reluctantly acknowledges UKIP's achievements

The Independent today has an article about the three main fringe parties and speculates on how well they might do on May 6. Naturally, its preference is with the Greens, who, according to Michael Savage, author of the article, have tripled their support in the last decade. There is no mention of the recent problems the warmists have had and the growing disenchantment in their ideology. But Mr Savage does note that it is, in fact, UKIP that has made a huge break-through recently in electoral terms.
National strategy is overseen by the party's new leader, Lord Pearson, and the campaign director, James Pryor, who formerly advised Margaret Thatcher and John Major. No doubt it is Mr Pryor's involvement that has led Ukip to focus on Tory heartland issues such as grammar schools and clamping down on crime, as well as on its popular anti-EU message. However, the profile that Mr Farage has built for himself, through the odd outburst in Brussels and his aggressive performances on Question Time, means that he is largely left to run his own show in his quest to win the Buckingham seat. The party reckons it is his strong performance at hustings that will win him crucial Tory votes, so the strategy is simple – long days on the campaign trail.

Recent successes have buoyed party officials. They believe Ukip's strong performance in the Norwich North by-election last year went largely unreported. All the attention was on how the Greens would perform, but it was Ukip that made the biggest leap, with a swing in their favour of nine per cent. The party secured more than 4,000 votes – only 800 behind the Liberal Democrats, and enough for them to beat the Greens to fourth place. Resources have already been found to fight a high-profile campaign in Buckingham, with Stuart Wheeler, the spread-betting millionaire who has previously donated to the Tories, handing around £100,000 to Mr Farage's campaign.
A fair wind behind UKIP?

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Other countries are moving towards that ban

The news from Belgium is that the parliamentary Interior Affairs Committee has unanimously endorsed a Bill that would outlaw the wearing of burqua or the niquab or any other veil in public places. This will now go to a full parliamentary debate before the end of April.

New Europe reports that the European Commission has reacted cautiously both to this and to the continuing discussions in France:
A Commission spokesperson said that they were concerned at the move, but initially it was a matter for member states, but they would be watching the issue and examining any bill put before the Belgian lawmakers very closely as it may fall foul of EU anti-discrimination policy.
The same article also quotes Lord Pearson on the subject as saying:
It is good to see that the French and the Belgians are moving in our direction on this important issue.
One has to overlook the routine reference to UKIP as being extreme right-wing. A media outlet like New Europe is unlikely to understand that those political definitions long ago outlived their usefulness.