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Anti-Europeanism: why I voted for UKIP

by
24 October 2014

iStock

From Mr A. M. Hughes

Sir, - Canon Angela Tilby (Comment, 10 October) thinks that much of UKIP's support arises from a sense of betrayal; she dislikes what she sees as its "scapegoating" of immigration and its "knee-jerk anti-Europeanism".

I have voted for UKIP because it is the only party supporting withdrawal from the behemoth that is the EU, and the only party that is honest about the magnitude of immigration and what can realistically be done to reduce it.

This is not the place to argue about the EU (though I cannot refrain from pointing out that its elected Parliament has no power to initiate legislation or to draw up budgets; that power lies with the unelected Commissioners). UKIP's opposition is not "knee-jerk": it was the raison d'être of its founding.

As for immigration, for years it was a taboo subject. Anyone who raised it was a racist or a bigot. Here in Oxford, my wife and I are unable to have an over-the-fence chat with our immediate neighbours because they have so little English; at our corner shop and newsagent, I was recently told, in answer to a question, "Sorry, I don't understand English."

As a country, we have the situation where foreign choirs and scientists have difficulty getting permission to come to the UK, yet any of the 450 million people in the EU can come here regardless of their language and their culture (it is differences of culture rather than of religion that can be problematic).

Many towns and cities in England have changed utterly in the past few decades. It is one of the most densely populated countries in the world: in Europe, only the Netherlands has a higher population density, and only four countries worldwide. Yet, in the year to March, 243,000 more people entered the UK than left it (I could not find immigration figures for England, but they are unlikely to be significantly different); 175,000 of these immigrants were from the EU, and so could not have been prevented.

Over the years, we have been told that joining the EEC was purely a matter of trade; that it would be economic catastrophe for the UK not to join the euro; that we should get a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. Even now, two of the Westminster parties are not offering a referendum on EU membership, and both insist that voters' opposition to immigration is based on unfairness in claiming state benefits and the effect on jobs and pay: not so. One party is suggesting five new towns near HS2; the other, five between Oxford and Cambridge.

I think a "massive sense of betrayal" is a very good way of putting it. I am angry and disillusioned.

A. M. HUGHES

3 Moody Road, Headington

Oxford OX3 0DH

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