We’ve all heard the threats. The desperate death rattle of parties who have no positive vision to offer, who tell you to vote for them for no other reason than to keep their opponents out. “Vote UKIP, get Tories” wail Labour. “Go to bed with Farage, wake up with Miliband” warn the Tories. Or “Vote UKIP, get Hitler” which seemed to be the underlying message of a recent Channel 4 “documentary”.
Anyone who saw Nigel Farage’s inspirational launch of UKIP’s election campaign will know that UKIP have the most positive, upbeat message of any party, backed by the policies required to deliver real change.
So much for the theory, let’s look at what you actually get when you vote UKIP. The party may have arrived on the scene very recently in electoral terms, but we’re already seeing what UKIP representatives have achieved in their short time in office.
They lead by example. In Dudley UKIP councillors have set the standard by rejecting pay rises for themselves. At a time of austerity, it would be an insult to taxpayers to do anything else.
Councillor Paul Brothwood, UKIP leader in Dudley, said:
“With hundreds of staff on zero hour contracts and with council planning to cut £200,000 children’s services, we would rather see frontline staff and services prioritised and not councillors’ wallets.
The Labour Group has already given massive pay increases to senior management in Dudley Council which only UKIP fought. They now want councillors to have a piece of the pie.
The council is desperately short of money – I just can’t believe they’re offering a pay rise.”
All seven UKIP councillors rejected the 2.2% rise and are asking for the money to be donated to benefit residents and community groups. It is the principle of the thing, and while UKIP opposes the rise, their calls on councillors from other parties to join them in rejecting it have fallen on deaf ears.
Before we leave Dudley, we must mention the local UKIP MEP. Bill Etheridge paid £500 of his own money to get a team in to clear up a rat infested rubbish pile in his constituency. A local resident appealed for help in cleaning up the mess, hardly surprising when she found a dead rat in her two-year-old granddaughter’s cot. She said:
“I am so, so grateful to Bill. The council’s pest control kept having to come out but all the council was doing was papering over the cracks and fobbing us off.”
The rubbish was dumped in a road classed as private land by the council, so if Bill Etheridge had not stepped in with his own money to sort the problem out it’s likely the rat’s would still be living the good life.
Bill, who is also UKIP’s parliamentary candidate for Dudley North, said:
“Dudley Council has failed the residents in this road. When proper, decisive action needed taking, environmental services stood idly by whilst the townsfolk suffered.
I therefore paid for local lads from First Fence to come up and grasp the nettle, quite literally, of this problem and clean up the alleyway.”
Again, as with the refusal to accept a pay rise, something many of their constituents will not have had for years, in and of itself removing a hazardous rubbish pile will not change the world. But it is about principle, it made all the difference to the residents of that street and it reveals the mindset of our elected UKIP representatives; the people come first in all things.
In Norfolk, UKIP have already delivered huge change. They have been the driving force behind the County Council dropping the cabinet-style system of local government (seen to such good effect in Rotherham and elsewhere) in favour of the far superior committee system. The 850,000 people of Norfolk are now represented by five cross-party committees (adult social care, children’s services, environment, development and training, communities and policy and resources). Elected councillors have more say, transparency and accountability are increased.
UKIP Councillor Paul Smyth, who is also UKIP’s PPC for South West Norfolk, chaired the steering group who delivered this change:
“[This] will offer better governance for Norfolk. It will bring greater democracy, transparency and accountability to the council by giving councillors from all parties a much larger role in decision making.
The proposals… will provide us with a strong council, well defined delegations of authority and clear divisions of responsibility that should promote good governance in Norfolk. Each committee will contain a politically balanced mix of councillors, giving them a much stronger voice in decision making, which can only be good for democracy. All parties will have a part to play in the decision making cauldron.”
UKIP are represented on all five committees and chair two of them. You could not get a clearer example of how voting UKIP results in radical change and delivers real benefits for the community. It is also an example of what UKIP could achieve in Westminster. No party is in overall control of Norfolk County Council, with the Conservatives as the largest party. This scenario is likely to be repeated in the House of Commons in May. If a group of UKIP MPs can deliver change in the same way that UKIP’s Norfolk councillors have then we really could get our country back.
UKIP are a breath of fresh air at local level, challenging cosy cartels, asking awkward questions and delivering change. Only UKIP will take the same approach to national politics. We go into this election able to point to the record of two elected UKIP MPs. To paraphrase Monty Python, what have they ever done for us? How about this:
You could not wish for a better illustration of a real difference made by voting UKIP. Thanks to the good sense of the people of Clacton and Rochester & Strood, a vote in the House of Commons against the subsidised scam that is wind energy was won. If it were not for the hard pressed taxpayer and bill payer handing over huge sums of money, the wind industry would be a complete non-starter. Billions of pounds of our money has been thrown at these eco-crucifixes, money that is sorely needed elsewhere, or that could have been better invested in finding renewable technology that actually stands up on its own merits.
We must judge our politicians not on what they say but on what they do. UKIP have proved themselves at local and national level to be made of the right stuff. Whether it’s using their UKIP battle bus to transport isolated constituents to the shops or hospital appointments, or casting the deciding votes in Westminster, UKIP representatives have their priorities right.
Vote Tory or Labour if you want to help a failed political consensus or give a boost to a politician’s career. Vote UKIP if you want elected representatives who understand that their constituents are the boss, and who will put the people first.
Photo by theglobalpanorama