Why are UKIP silent supporters of the biggest EU rip-off of all?


10:20 am - May 6th 2013

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by Stuart Rodger

UKIP politicians and their supporters are fond of ranting, raving and railing against how the great EU monster is ripping us all off. Come 2014, we’re supposedly going to be swamped by Bulgarians and Romanians, who will simultaneously steal all our jobs and bleed us dry with welfare claims.

But dig a little deeper and you find more curious contradictions from UKIP.

Under the ‘Food, Farming and the Countryside’ category on the policies section of their website, they say they want to:

Ensure there is no sudden loss of Common Agricultural Policy farming subsidies such as single farm payments.

The Common Agricultural Policy is the EU’s system of farm subsidies. This is no small, trivial part of the EU’s budget, it constitutes some 49 billion euros of the EU’s 130 billion euro annual budget.

If this self-described ‘libertarian’ party were going to cite an aspect of EU policy that is ripping us off, surely this would be one of the first in their sights?

Where does this money actually go? Perhaps, you might think, it goes to small, struggling farmers across the country. Subsidies, after all, are supposed to help small businesses survive and develop.

But no: these subsidies go to the very richest people in Britain. The Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor – number 8 on this year’s Sunday Times Rich List – receives some £820,000 a year. The Duke of Buccleuch, Richard Scott – number 434 in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List – receives some £405,000. Indeed, the money seems to go to organisations who don’t even do any farming: Serco receive some £2 million. Talk about scroungers.

But this is only half the scandal of the CAP. Some development economists argue that the CAP helps to keep the Third World poor and hungry. The farm subsidies of the EU and US, however, help to keep their prices artificially low – so Third World farmers cannot compete.

UKIP’s support for the CAP might seem inconsistent, but it reveals something important about their real agenda.

Note that they also oppose a financial transactions tax, support a flat rate of income tax of 31%, support the scrapping of inheritance tax, and take a ‘sceptical’ view on anthropogenic climate change.

UKIP are a party whose agenda is very much of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

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Reader comments


“Note that they also oppose a financial transactions tax, support a flat rate of income tax of 31%, support the scrapping of inheritance tax, and take a ‘sceptical’ view on anthropogenic climate change.”

GOOD. While your kind want to destroy peoples pensions and impliment an extremely damaging tax ontop of the taxation you already inflict, they propose fairness and economic sense, any party that supports a financial transaction tax should be removed from the political arena as they display a dangerous lack of economic understanding.

UKIP are a party whose agenda is very much of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.”

Laughable.

2. peezedtee

“first in their sites” should be “first in their sights”

I am NOT an UKIP member, nor ever will be because we can’t reform the EU, and in particular the evil CAP,from outside. Anyone who cares about starvation in the Third World HAS to oppose the CAP.
However: what UKIP actually says is:
“Future Levels of Subsidy and the Future of the Single Farm Payment: UKIP would gradually move towards replacing the system, and would simplify the system of payment in the mean time.”
The full quote that Mr Rodger cuts to deliberate mislead is “Ensure there is no sudden loss of Common Agricultural Policy farming subsidies such as single farm payments (already paid for by British consumers and taxpayers). Over time, UKIP will use labelling and advertising campaigns to promote British produce and fairer food prices. This will replace the need for many subsidies.”
UKIP do NOT support subsidies.
The number of times that you invite “Guest” writers who simply lie is seriously worrying.
FYI i) I don’t imagine that the Duke of Westminster even notices the £0.82m that Mr Rodger says his farms receive – that is less than 0.1% of his wealth.
ii) Hill farm subsidies, which we had before joining the EEC, make economic sense and reduce food shortages. UKIP haven’t cottoned on to this

4. MarkAustin

This is a silly article. If you are going to criticise UKIP, do it for their less sensible policies, not the better ones. To phase out the CAP after the UK leaves the EU is emminently sensible: the alternative would be a “big bang” abolition of the subsidies which would probably bankrupt all farmers except the “hobby farmers”.

Indeed as John77 points out you haven’t even quoted the policy right, which makes this point clear.

Stop panicking and face the challenge of UKIP clearly.

[deleted]

[deleted]

“Nevertheless I shall try to talk sense rather than descending to his level since some of the readers of Liberal Conspiracy (OK, not Sally) are both willing and able to conduct a rational debate.”

Yes…I just wanted to understand what kind of mind that lack of logic comes from so I checked it out. The absolute sense of entitlement to other peoples money and control of actions..meh

pack1,

“While your kind want to destroy peoples pensions and impliment an extremely damaging tax ontop of the taxation you already inflict, they propose fairness and economic sense”

Can I at least assume you aren’t including a flat rate of income tax as “fair”?

9. Churm Rincewind

@ Mark Austin (4): “To phase out the CAP after the UK leaves the EU is emminently sensible: the alternative would be a “big bang” abolition of the subsidies which would probably bankrupt all farmers except the “hobby farmers”.

But if the UK were to leave the EU on a set date, then presumably there would indeed be a “big bang” which could well bankrupt British farmers. I cannot see any reason why the EU, in the event of a UK withdrawal, would arrange its affairs in such a way as to protect farmers in the UK. Why on earth would EU states agree to spend their money in support of a non-member?

These UKIP trolls are laughable today.

the alternative would be a “big bang” abolition of the subsidies which would probably bankrupt all farmers except the “hobby farmers”.

So you’d leave the EU tomorrow… but you’d try and ‘phase out’ the benefits. Oh right.

How does that work exactly? Biggest pill of rubbish I’ve heard in a while

11. Scomber scombrus

Sunny – I believe the entire UKIP platform is built on the assumption that we give more money to the EU than we receive. Ive no idea whether this is true, but from a UKIP perspective presumably the intention would be to use the money saved by leaving the EU to continue subsidising the farmers for a period after. In any case, even if this UKIP policy does turn out to be as unimplementable as the rest of their ravings, the original post completely misrepresents their position on the subsidy by implying they don’t want to phase it out at all, when they clearly do.

Ive no idea whether this is true, but from a UKIP perspective presumably the intention would be to use the money saved by leaving the EU to continue subsidising the farmers for a period after.

Not what their manifesto says.

And given the EU is a big part of their appeal / focus – how about something that isn’t half-baked on the issue?

They aren’t even clear about the inconsistencies and rubbish they put in their own manifesto.

13. Scomber scombrus

Legitimate criticisms, and having re-read the OP I see it doesn’t actually accuse UKIP of hypocrisy on the issue (as I had somehow originally concluded) but focusses entirely on the odd lack of clarity and prominence of policy on such a significant chunk of EU expenditure. Must attend more reading comprehension lessons.

@ Sunny
Your choice to indulge in insults rather than debate show your lack of integrity and argument.
AFTER I have said I am not and never shall be a member/supporter of UKIP you label me as a UKIP troll.
I expect that you will delete this, a la Richard Murphy, as soon as you wake up but perhaps some readers will notice in the interval. I despise cheats.

The slightest fault/history of any UKIP candidate is Plastered all over these pages, yet to point out a writer you promote is a criminal who spends his time throwing paint at MPs gets instantly deleted…class.

“UKIP’s support for the CAP might seem inconsistent”

Agreed. This fund is on the radar of the liberal left, who pick up its inconsistencies, market distortions and absurdities.

The single farm payment is a payment for not breaking the law. No one else gets a payment for not breaking the law. At the last round of discussions we could not persuade France that this a bit expensive, and better value for money was required. Now that there are all these bulgarians and romanians etc, this policy is pretty unafordable.

But the ERDF is a much bigger problem for UKIP. This is a much bigger fund, and it is to develop social and economic cohesion. ERDF funds projects that break down the barriers the frontiers represent – for example cross border transport networks, cross border co-operation and projects that develop shared action. Despite this being a bigger spend, and more against what UKIP stand for they have no policy on it.

…more on UKIP policy.

their manifesto says this
“Our traditional values have been undermined. Children are taught to be ashamed of our past. Multiculturalism has split our society. Political correctness is stifling free speech.”

Can anyone spot what the are going to do about this? I have never seen a manifesto which describes a problem and then offers no action.

@ davidh #17
Perhaps I could if I tried but why should I?
And it is true that “Political correctness is stifling free speech.” My wife periodically complains about my using phrases that were unexceptionable in my youth (or even later) because political activists have subsequently chosen to attribute to them their own bigoted prejudices. e.g. “black” or “coloured” – we are now required to describe those who resemble cafe-au-lait as “black” in disregard of both language and the useage that we and they grew up with.

” Ive no idea whether this is true, but from a UKIP perspective presumably the intention would be to use the money saved by leaving the EU to continue subsidising the farmers for a period after.

Not what their manifesto says.”

If ‘what their manifesto says’ is the bit you quoted then I would suggest you are being disingenuous or even downright perverse in interpreting it as suggesting the EU keep paying subsidies to British farmers. Of course the EU wouldn’t pay such subsidies and of course it wouldn’t be expected to by anyone.

That leaves one logical and probable meaning for what you quote: that with the money saved by the UK government from leaving the EU, it would pay equivalent subsidies to the old EU ones for a certain period.

And since there is great environmental, social and security value in producing as much of our food as possible here, only the most witless person would have a problem with having such subsidies in principle. And yes, of course they should go to the most needy and not necessarily to the biggest landowners – but then, the latter situation pertains to our ongoing EU membership which you clearly favour.

You’ve not really thought this through, have you?

20. Shinsei1967

Funnily enough the UKIP website is down and so I can’t check exactly what their agricultural policy is, but from what I remember about it the author seems to be missing its central point.

Regardless of whether the current scheme subsidises industrial farmers (big landowners, pension funds, & Serco) more than it should, isn’t the central policy of UKIP to stop the UK tax-payer subsidising French & German farmers. Farage isn’t against subsidies per se he’s just against what he thinks is the UK tax payer paying out more than they get back.

Beyond that UKIP policy is a work in progress (to put it politely). I suspect that Farage’s view of farming owes more to have watched All Creatures Great and Small rather than to any in-depth study of what a modern C21st farming system needs (combining globalisation for cheapness and locality for envoronmental reasons).

“You’ve not really thought this through, have you?”

That’s the motto of the site!

So you’d leave the EU tomorrow… but you’d try and ‘phase out’ the benefits. Oh right.

How does that work exactly? Biggest pill of rubbish I’ve heard in a while

I’m not sure what the difficulty is with this idea – which is firmly on the rational side of the UKIP spectrum. Presumably the plan isn’t that the EU continues to pay farming subsidies during the transitional period – it’s that the UK Government does. It’s also fairly straightforward where it would get the money to do so – from the money that would otherwise have gone to subsidise French farmers.

Large chunks of UKIP policy are flat-out barking, so it’s to the credit of LibCon that you’ve managed to highlight one of the most reasonable.

Presumably the plan isn’t that the EU continues to pay farming subsidies during the transitional period – it’s that the UK Government does.

What do you mean ‘presumably’? Are you making policies for them? Don’t you think they should spell this out given what a major part of EU spending CAP is?

It is genuinely hilarious that commenters are attacking the article for misrepresenting UKIP, while simultaneously admitting they don’t actually know what UKIP would do in the case we highlight.

24. Shatterface

UKIP’s support for the CAP might seem inconsistent, but it reveals something important about their real agenda.

There’s a more obvious agenda here: a right wing attack on the EU subsidies disguised as a left wing attack on UKIP hypocrisy.

The CAP is certainly a problem, and for the reasons outlined by the OP.

However, attempting to paint this as a problem for UKIP is ludicrous.

What have the other main parties to say on the scandal of the CAP?

26. Richard T

Why is this site so rattled by UKIP?

The stench of fear is overwhelming, and puzzling.

27. Shinsei1967

@Sunny

I really don’t see why you find this all more complicated that it is.

The UKIP policy is to stop the UK tax-payer subsidising French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Belgian farmers.

They don’t appear to have any particular problem with subsidising UK farmers (whether the Duke of Westminster or a one man and his sheepdog hill farmer).

To be fair to UKIP and the Tories, they have been an easy ride by the Left on this. Funny how we have seen the Daily Hate’s vilification of the poorest people in society but the biggest scroungers in the entire Country have been let of Scot free. I notice few, if any, on the Left calling for the benefit cap to be extended to farmers. If we can no longer afford the post war settlement, from the Nationalised industries to the Welfare State then surely we cannot afford to maintain the last remaining dinosaur from that era, handouts to parasite farmers and the richest landowners in the Country?

So why have the Left remained silent over this? Not too many natural Labour supporters among the landed gentry I would have thought. In fact, if anything, the Left and the greedy farmers look like natural enemies.
Here’s the thing. The one recurring theme on this website is a basic ‘Why can’t the Left act/be/sound like the Right?’ followed up with pleas for ideas on how to privatize schools or hospitals or raise a general witch-hunt against non Anglo Saxon immigrants. Yet, here we are, a subject ripe for the language of the Right, about small State, self responsibility, subsidy, dependency culture, free markets, private enterprise and everything else, even immigrant labour, yet the Labour Party and the Left in general ignore the trunk swaying, cannonball shitting elephant in the room.

Fuck me if we didn’t even have a debate about bus passes and heating allowances for the rich, while cheques for hundreds of thousands of pound are being thrown out like confetti? We seem to focus on issues like gay marriage and what shelves Barbie dolls and chemistry sets are on.
Perhaps if a few farmers could be persuaded to pick up some UVF mugs, they would appear on the radar?
Now, having said all that, I saw a ‘disabled’ person last week and he wasn’t in a wheelchair, disgusting or what?

There are some interesting points raised here; there does need to be alterations to who gets the payments, namely the business that is actually managing the land not the landowner. The subsidies are payment for the environmental minded management of land, the countryside would probably become intensified further if these payments were lost to make up for lost income. Has anybody realistically thought about the shear increase to food prices that would be witnessed if subsidies seceded to exist? The Public don’t want factory farms and yet they don’t want to pay high grocery bills; there has to be a compromise somewhere and subsidies seems to be that compromise.


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