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The Observer’s Spectacular Own Goal

Back in 2002, I wrote a piece that ended up in my book “A Declaration of Independence”.  Somewhere in the depths of this piece, I made a reference to the repatriation of immigrants.

Did I propose compulsory repatriation?  No, I did not.  Did I advocate voluntary repatriation?  No, I did not.  So what did I say?  I merely expressed my surprise at the strident attacks from some politicians at the time on the very idea of voluntary repatriation, as though this were self-evident wickedness.  It seems to me that if an immigrant desires to be repatriated, and we choose to help him, that is an act of kindness and compassion.  I don’t advocate it as a policy.  But equally, I can’t see why the idea is, in and of itself, wicked.

However the Observer newspaper takes a different view.  They have had (I assume) a team of researchers reading everything I have ever written, and looking for lines of attack.  Well done them.  I hope they learned a few things.  But they came up with the repatriation quote, and used it as a basis for a shock-horror story under the title: “Ukip shock over by-election candidate who backed voluntary repatriation”.

Well.  There’s a thing.  I get the full alarmist treatment merely for questioning why some politicians attack the concept of voluntary repatriation in strident terms.  But the EU itself actually has a policy of voluntary repatriation of immigrants.  There is a European Return Fund with a budget of €130m/year, designed to pay for voluntary repatriation. The UK signed up to this in 1999 under Blair with the Voluntary Assisted Return & Repatriation Programme, or VARRP, which is administered on behalf of the British government in the UK by the charity Refugee Action. Its role is to pay for the voluntary repatriation of legal migrants.

There’s more.  Up until 2010, there was also the AVRIM programme, or Assisted Voluntary Return of Irregular Migrants, funded by the Home Office, which dealt with illegal immigrants.

The Observer adds, for good measure, and in a deliberate and malicious attempted smear, that the only party previously to support voluntary repatriation was the BNP.  They omit to mention that the Blair government and the European Commission also supported, and funded, voluntary repatriation.

So.  The Blair government signed up to a major scheme for voluntary repatriation.  The EU funds a voluntary repatriation programme with €130 million a year of our money.  The Observer has nothing to say about that.  But they maliciously attack a UKIP MEP merely for questioning why some commentators were so critical of such a programme.  This is further evidence of the massive and hypocritical propaganda machine deployed by some mainstream media outlets, and of course by the legacy parties, as they panic in the face of UKIP’s poll ratings.  It also helps to explain why voters on the streets of Newark today were telling me that they understand the media attacks on UKIP.  They know why it’s happening.  They see through it.  And they don’t believe a word of it.

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Roger Helmer MEP
About Roger Helmer MEP (81 Articles)
Roger Helmer is an East Midlands MEP and UKIP's energy spokesman. His articles appear both here and on his personal blogging site by agreement.

9 Comments on The Observer’s Spectacular Own Goal

  1. Garry Lelliott // May 19, 2014 at 12:29 pm //

    “The press provides an essential check on all aspects of public life. That is why any failure within the media affects all of us. At the heart of this Inquiry, therefore, may be one simple question: who guards the guardians?”. Any guesses as to who said that?

    It was Lord Leveson opening the phone-hacking enquiry on 14th November 2011. The press were outraged that their freedom was being restricted, but isn’t the price of press freedom the need to report accurately and honestly? To demand the freedom to misinform or distort the truth seems out of place with the virtues of a free and fair society, or am I missing something?

  2. our freedom will have truly begun only when the wisdom of John Bingley, author of the twin documents – ‘unlawful governance’ and ‘the coronation oath, the declaration and bill of rights 1688/9’ – is actually recognised, even by our so-called ‘political class, and our constitution as the paramount instrument of the rule of our country: `ceding governance abroad’ is a violation of the constitution and wilful defiance of that constitution and as such is an act of treason. A referendum is also unlawful and an act of treason

  3. I sincerely hope you win. It is now the situation that until the first step is taken, the long journey back to our freedom has not begun.

  4. Well done, Mr Helmer – rub their noses in their falsehoods and smears! I loved reading your thorough refutation.
    Keeping my fingers crossed for June 5th!

  5. Tell ’em how it is Roge!

  6. Roger – best wishes on 5th June. Let’s hope we have a second political earthquake. The fact that the by-election is being held because of the behaviour of a disgraced Tory MP is all the public needs to know. It’s time for decency and common sense.

  7. I see, they must be worried digging up the dirt what a surprise

  8. Roger, would I too be considered “wicked” if I suggested that this wicked attack upon yourself and UKIP, might justify consideration for legal action?

    • Brian OtridgeBrian Otridge // May 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm //

      Joe, do we need to bother? Legal action is expensive and the outcome is not guaranteed – we could end up severely out of pocket. In fact, every attack they make on us seems to push UP our poll ratings – look at the amazing ComRes poll today.

      There are even some journalists now recognizing that, and saying they have to be cleverer than that. Perhaps they now have to engage us on policy, rather than trivia, false scandal and tittle-tattle?

      I also saw today an allegation that the dirt-digging boys in Conservative Central Office are in cohorts with the Guardian – in return for CCO feeding them “UKIP dirt stories” the Gruniad has agreed to soft-pedal any attacks on the Tories.

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