Saturday, June 05, 2004

Should an anti EU party stand in European elections?

This was Liberty and Law's response to the Daily Telegraph's editorial argument that an anti EU party should not stand in Europen elections.

Re: What independence means
Date: 4 June 2004

Sir - Much of your leading article on the United Kingdom Independence Party (June 2) made good sense, but when you ask why the UKIP should stand for European Parliament elections when it wants to leave the European Union and when the European Parliament would have no influence in achieving that aim, you fail to convince.

Reasons for standing are obvious. Nobody takes seriously a political party that cannot win representation in an assembly and our first-past-the-post system ensures no domestic parliamentary representation for the views of a very large, frustrated segment of the electorate in all the major political parties. Participation in the European elections makes that electoral success possible without which political extinction is inevitable.

Failure to stand for them would be interpreted as a lack of belief in the UKIP's electoral appeal. Success demonstrates support for the principle of leaving the European Union and renders ridiculous the claim by other political parties and newspapers that there is no serious support for its position. Success gives some credibility to and a platform for its campaign.

No European representation means no Newsnight interviews, no Question Time appearances, no media coverage and no influence.

For the UKIP, not standing has to be a non-starter.

Gerald Hartup, Director, Liberty and Law, London W1