I agree with Nigel. Or at least I did last summer when he told the Institute for Government that the power and cost of Britain’s quangocracy needed to be drastically cut back in order to restore our democracy.
But, like so many other aspects of UKIP’s supposed principles (not least the libertarianism of which it once boasted) that’s now gone out of the window.
Most of the attention paid to Farage’s new immigration policy today has focused on the question of numbers – he has refused to specify the limit to which UKIP would seek to reduce migration, despite his own migration spokesman saying last week that it was 50,000 a year.
But actually it’s the mechanism by which this immigration policy is meant to be run that is of more importance. The UKIP leader has used the classic get-out of a politician who doesn’t really want to deal with an issue and announced everything would be decided by a quango, the Migration Control Commission.
The idea of a body of unelected “experts” centrally planning our border policy is a long way from that direct democracy Farage espoused only a few months ago. Essentially he now plans to take power back from unaccountable apparatchiks in Brussels only to hand it to unaccountable apparatchiks in Whitehall. That may not be the kind of sovereignty many people had in mind.
Notably, it’s also a million miles from Douglas Carswell’s view of how important policy decisions should be taken. He tweeted approvingly today of the idea of an Australian points system (which would set out the criteria for entry to the country) but I rather doubt that he shares his leader’s enthusiasm for putting a quango in charge of such a major issue.