One of the UK’s wealthiest men has pledged “whatever it takes” to ensure the UK Independence Party triumphs in the 2014 European Parliament elections.
The BBC reports Tycoon Paul Sykes backs UKIP European election campaign
Eurosceptic Paul Sykes said UKIP was the “last best hope for Britain” and he would help fund its election campaign.
Mr Sykes, who has formerly backed the Conservatives, made donations to UKIP between 2001 and 2004. His latest funds will pay for UKIP’s advertising. UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Mr Sykes’ backing was a “significant boost”.
Mr Sykes, who is estimated to have a fortune of around £650m, has given no indication of how much he is prepared to donate on this occasion, but said he believed the European elections were “the one last chance to stop the gradual erosion of our national independence”.
“Nigel Farage and UKIP are the last best hope for Britain. I am prepared to do whatever it takes to propel them to victory next year.”
He said he hoped success for UKIP at next year’s election would lead to an early referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU rather than “hanging about to 2017”.
“I think it’s time to step up and bring the referendum forward to 2015,” he said.
May 2014 European Parliament Vote
To help understand what’s at stake, Wikipedia reports the European Parliament Elections will be held in all member states of the European Union (EU) between 22 and 25 May 2014, as decided unanimously by the Council.
It will be the eighth Europe-wide election to the European Parliament since the first direct elections in 1979.
What Shift is Taking Place?
I asked reader Bernd from Germany for election comments. He replied …
This is a difficult question.
The large number of Euro-skeptic or EU skeptic parties are considering a common platform, but there is a huge rift within the right.
Last week Geert Wilder’s Freedom Party of The Netherlands and Marine Le Pen’s FN agreed to form an “Alliance of the Right” for the coming EU elections.
Currently the following alliances on the right are existing already:
- “Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists”
- “Movement for a free and democratic Europe”
- “European Democratic Party”
- “Alliance of European National Movement”
- “Free European Alliance”
- “European Alliance for Freedom”
- “Pirates of Europe”
- “Christian Political Movement for Europe”
- “EU Democrats”
All the above are subsumed under Euro-skeptics and have a total of 115 Seats in the EU Parliament.
- Christian Democrats (European Peoples Party) 275 Seats
- Social Democrats (Party of European Socialists) 194 Seats
- Liberals (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats) 85 Seats
- Greens (European Green Party) 56 Seats
- The Left (Party of the European Left) 35 Seats
Already the Euro/EU-skeptics are the third largest group in the EU Parliament.
As measured by seat pickups, I anticipate that the Euro-skeptics will be the winner of the coming elections. However, the rift between the eurosceptics in general and the extreme right wing parties will be more evident and more significant.
Clearly UKIP from UK and AFD from Germany have very little common ground with Golden Dawn from Greece, Front National of France or Freedom Party of Holland.
The latter are clearly nationalistic, anti-Islamic and anti-Semitic, whilst the first two are only EU and Euro-skeptic, not willing to embrace the other, uglier values of right wing parties.
In Germany, in Austria, in France, in UK, in Holland and in Belgium – the countries I frequently visit and over which I claim some knowledge, the EU-Parliament is seen as a joke. It is a show Parliament, with no real power, introduced to give the appearance of Democracy to the EU.
Regardless, the established main stream parties will do everything in their power to prevent the Euro-skeptic block from growing. I expect to see the usual smear campaigns by the media, throwing Euro-skeptics and right wing extremists into one basket. This will work in many places, but not everywhere. For example, smear campaigns are unlikely to work in France and Holland, but very likely in Germany.
I expect that the Euro-skeptic block will grow substantially – however I don’t expect the block to be number 2 in overall votes.
Thus, I doubt that the party mix in the EU-Parliament will have any bearing on EU Politics in the years to come. The agenda for the EU is set elsewhere and will be pushed through without regard to the will of the people.
UK Prosper Outside EU
UKIP leader Nigel Farage claims Britain would prosper outside EU
Britain would flourish outside the EU, Nigel Farage has said, predicting UKIP will cause a “political earthquake” in European elections next year. Addressing the party’s annual conference, he said leaving the union would “open a door to the world”.
I strongly agree with Farage that the UK is far better off outside the EU. But what about a “political earthquake“?
If “political earthquake” means policy shifts within the EU, then I would side with Bernd in that nothing much will change in European parliament, adding (but the voices, the debate, and the finger-pointing will all get more intense as Germany and France slide back into recession).
If, “political earthquake” means more UK awareness and eurosceptcism, with an increased likelihood of an up-or-down vote on UK membership in the EU, Farage may very well be correct, and I hope he is.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock