Outside the marginals

a commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010 & 2015 elections

Logically Reckless over Immigration

I don’t support UKIP or its attitude to foreigners (expressed or implicit), but (logically) I can’t see how Mark Reckless “misspoke” last night.

Twice last night Mark Reckless was asked whether a Polish plumber who lives in Rochester would be able to stay in the country if Britain decided to leave the EU.

First he said the Polish plumber might be allowed to stay for a fixed period then he said UKIP would look sympathetically at the cases of people who’d been here for a long time.
BBC News Website 19 November 2014 : UKIP: Should Polish plumbers be deported? (Nick Robinson’s blog)

How is that view at variance with UKIP’s desire to leave the EU and reduce immigration “because the country is full up”?

At the moment migrants from the EU are allowed in to the UK because like us they are EU citizens and EU citizens have freedom of movement throughout the EU. This is one of UKIP’s major gripes with EU membership.

Contrast this with someone from outside the EU – who would normally require a visa and or a “right to remain” to be allowed to stay in the UK.

If UKIP got us out of the EU (a no longer impossible scenario) the justification for Nick Robinson’s Polish Plumber being in the UK would cease and he or she should be treated just like any other foreigner whose permission to be in the country had expired.

Therefore saying that EU citizens should leave the UK when we leave the EU seems to me entirely logical. Allowing a fixed transition period shows a level of reasonableness from UKIP that actually surprises me – but then Reckless is a Tory under UKIP colours. (Yes, I do think Conservatives are more reasonable – just – than most UKIP members.)

This morning UKIP said their candidate had been misunderstood.

Then they claimed he’d been asked about illegal immigration. He had not and a Polish person would, in any event, have been here legally.

Hours later the party leader Nigel Farage told me that his candidate was confused after a long campaign.

He insisted that under the party’s policy no-one here legally would face deportation.
ibid

This is waffle – and showing an unusual sensitivity to wider public opinion. Which surprises me.

Perhaps:

  • Reckless’s comments are intended for those voters in Rochester who do want “the Poles” and “the Romanians” – in fact “all foreigners” “sent home”. They have heard that message and possibly their support has been secured.
  • Farages’s comments are intended for the media to try and ensure that UKIP do not get too much heat for saying what they believe.

Now, where have I seen this double-speak before? Ah yes, “Lib Dems, New Labour, “Modern” Tories, just more of the same …”. Perhaps it should read Lib Dems, New Labour, “Modern” Tories, UKIP, just more of the same …

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