The referendum result was truly momentous, and for almost everyone, a bit of a surprise.
Strong passions surged on both sides, although much of the Remainers’ passion vented itself only after the result in a spasm of panic and fear.
We have been hoping against hope for this result since our inception. The surprise is that so few seem genuinely perplexed by the question ‘what happens to the UK now we have voted to leave the EU’.
I am not worried about the future of Wales or the UK because we have been plotting out different options for some years. We must reassure those with genuine worries, that everything will be fine and, in fact, a lot better. To keep things in perspective, George Osborne’s ‘Armageddon’ Treasury model forecast only a few weeks ago showed that, if we stayed in the EU, our national income would be 37% higher in 2030 but, if we left, it would still be 29% higher. No one would be poorer, but incomes might not rise quite as fast. Osborne’s extrapolation that Brexit would cost every household £4300 per annum was a gross distortion of the Treasury’s own skewed analysis.
Such pretended arithmetic certainty fourteen years hence is obvious rubbish. But the economic benefits of Brexit can be achieved only if the UK properly leaves the EU, as voters decided. UKIP’s role is vital in ensuring this happens.
In the coming months, the different political parties will produce ideas about the best kind of deal, but different factions within the parties will put forward other variants. The Welsh voter could face a complex and confusing array of detailed options compared with which finding the best energy deal would look like child’s play.
UKIP is the most trusted party on EU issues and, as we are not in the throes of a leadership contest, the public can be confident that our opinions are genuine and not influenced by personal ambitions. Whatever internal differences I have had with Nigel Farage, on this matter we are absolutely united.
In the 2010 General Election, EU membership was low down in voters’ concerns, but some intimately connected issues were right at the top, uncontrolled immigration first and foremost. Since then, UKIP has been very effective in joining the dots in peoples’ minds between EU membership and voters’ concerns on domestic issues. As we exposed the connections between the problems people were facing and the EU, we gained public trust.
Post-referendum polling showed the top motivation for voting Leave was to regain democratic control which has leached to the EU since 1973.
This is where UKIP’s presence on the political palette comes into its own. The last General and Assembly elections show we take votes from all the other parties, and even when we don’t win the seat, we can dramatically affect the result.
We would not have had a referendum at all without UKIP. Our vote in 2010 cost the Conservatives the majority they hoped for, so Cameron offered a referendum to try and shoot the UKIP fox in 2015. ‘The best-laid plans…’ In the last few days we have started hearing noises from politicians, saying that a Brexit deal with the EU may still require the freedom of movement that the electorate decisively voted against. Jeremy Hunt and Daniel Hannan are both in this camp. Hunt has even suggested a second referendum to see if the public really did mean they want the UK to leave the EU.
This would be a dangerous betrayal of the referendum result – although entirely in keeping with the EU elite’s response to previous referendums elsewhere. It would be beyond parody if the direct-democratic decision of the referendum, based on the public’s demand to reclaim sovereign democracy, is ignored by our elected representatives and a second referendum proposed. But this would be no great surprise to UKIP.
One reason why the public are so angry with British politicians is that their genuine concerns have been ignored for years by an Establishment which thinks it knows what’s best for the public. There is no reason to suspect this attitude will change anytime soon.
So UKIP is there to ensure there is no backsliding and the Brexit which most of the country voted for actually happens. We will ruthlessly expose any shortcomings in the Brexit deal being negotiated.
The Establishment should take the referendum result as a sign that people have had enough of not being listened to. Any attempt to subvert the clear result of the referendum will be met with an explosion of anger by the people of Wales and the UK. That anger will quickly reach the ballot box, and voters will switch to UKIP from the Establishment parties in droves.
The EU has gone from bottom of the list of peoples’ political concerns to the very top, and UKIP will make sure it stays that way until the Government delivers exactly what the British people voted for.
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