Nigel Farage is Leader of UKIP and an MEP for the South East of England.
If believe that Britain would be better off out of the European Union and restored as a self-governing nation then of course you should vote UKIP next week.
It really is as simple as that. Of the parties that can make an impact in this election, only UKIP believes in getting Britain out of the EU. David Cameron may have been forced – much against his will – to offer an In/Out referendum in 2017. But he does not bother to disguise the fact that even if he does eventually deliver this referendum, then he intends to lead the campaign to keep Britain in.
Even if you have a strong preference for a Conservative win at the general election, and even if you have not given up on the pipe dream of Cameron negotiating new and much more favourable membership terms with the EU, you should still vote UKIP. Let me tell you why.
A UKIP victory in these elections will send out the strongest possible signal to Brussels that public consent for British EU membership is not merely wafer thin, but virtually non-existent. If you are one of those who think there is a real prospect of Angela Merkel and the rest making significant concessions (and I must make it clear that I am not) then why not ensure a UKIP victory in order to increase the leverage available to the British negotiating team?
A vote for UKIP will also be a vote against open-door immigration in respect of more than 400 million people from more than two dozen countries. Freedom of movement within such a big and economically diverse group of countries is completely unsustainable. The British people are overwhelmingly against it. Yet Cameron has already given up the ghost on renegotiating that.
UKIP believes in a stringent immigration system, but a fair one that doesn’t discriminate against people from Commonwealth countries. A vote for us is a vote for a level playing field. At the moment, Britain has a complete open door to southern and eastern Europe and yet is imposing ever-tougher restrictions on people from the rest of the world – many of whom could benefit our country.
A vote for UKIP is also a vote for Britain to be true to its traditions of looking out to the open sea and seeking to be a global trading nation. The EU is a failed project. It has at its heart a failed economic system based on a failed currency union that is sucking the life out of many of its members.
In previous, bloodier times, Britain saved Europe by force of arms. UKIP believes it is Britain’s destiny now to save Europe through the force of our example. By leaving and prospering, we can strike a decisive blow against those who are determined to create a superstate.
We can show that having your own currency able to find its equilibrium value on international exchanges, and having the right to set your own interest rates and strike your own trade deals, are essential components of a nation’s economic well-being.
A vote for UKIP will also be a vote to break a stultifying consensus built by the post-Blairite political class that represses public opinion on many other issues. It will be a vote against the massive escalation of foreign aid and the arbitrary 0.7 per cent of GDP target. It will be a vote to withdraw Britain from the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. It will be a vote against an energy policy that pours untold billions into subsidising wind farms in order to meet EU targets – all at a time when many frail elderly people cannot afford to heat their homes.
In short, it will be a vote for many of the things that Conservatives used to stand for before a whole generation of the party’s elite was spooked by getting beaten by Blair three times in a row.
The truth is that David Cameron and his gang sold-out conservatism and bought into Blairism at exactly the wrong time – just before all the underlying weaknesses in the New Labour project brought it crashing down.
UKIP has been proud to carry the torch for strong defence, tough law and order, an energy policy focused on affordability for consumers, rigorous immigration controls, lower taxes and a smaller state. But most of all we have carried the torch for Britain becoming a self-governing country once again. Leaving the EU will not see Britain’s problems solved overnight. But it will put into the hands of the British people, via their elected representatives, the levers of real power once again.
I am never going to stop “banging on” about Europe until this mission has been accomplished. UKIP are not Little Englanders, we are Out-Into-The-Worlders. And let nobody tell you that a regional customs union in an era of global trade is a concept whose time has come. On the contrary, it is a concept whose time has passed.
Next Thursday is your free hit against a deeply complacent and craven political establishment that is wedded to outdated ideas that are failing the British people and disgracing the British nation. Give us your vote – or just lend us your vote, and you will help us create the earthquake that British politics so badly needs.
I appreciate that many of you who intend to vote UKIP next week also intend to return to the Tory fold at the general election next year. I am quite happy to accept your support on such terms, although naturally I shall also be trying to persuade you that what you might be regarding in advance as the electoral equivalent of a one night stand could easily develop into a fruitful long-term relationship. But that is a conversation for another day.
For now, I simply invite you to focus on the compelling prospectus that UKIP has put forward for these elections and then to put your cross in our box.