This blog is mainly about the governance and future of policing and crime services. (Police & Crime Commissioners feature quite a lot.) But there are also posts about the wider justice system. And because I am town councillor and political activist, local & national issues are covered a little, as well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

UKIP: Some questions


I have some questions for which I would be grateful for some answers. Many thanks.

1) If the UK votes to exit the EU in a future referendum, how long do you think it will take to negotiate bilateral agreements on (say) trade, healthcare for domiciled Brits (etc.) with all the countries with which we currently enjoy such agreements on the basis of our shared EU membership?

2) How proportionate is this length of time matched with the resources available in the FCO, BIS & other Whitehall departments, do you think? Will you be campaigning to stop cutting those departments over the next few years?

3) What promises can you make to people living in Spain and elsewhere in the EU about what will happen to them eventually, and in the interregnum period while these agreements are being negotiated? (Ditto businesses trading with the rest of the EU?)

4) Post exit, as it were, what will happen to all the EU citizens currently living and working in the UK? Will they have to go back to the EU country from which they came? What happens if they are a child who was born in this country but whose parents are (say) Polish?

5) Where on your website, is all this explained, in detail?


This is the third of my recent trilogy of blogs about UKIP. You can read the other two here: a deconstruction of the UKIP local government manifesto and a short story about love, hate and love again

UPDATE 1147 310514: Good article by David Arronovitch in the Times yesterday:


  1. Barry Cooper29/5/14 12:36

    Hi John,

    1) Article 50 gives us a two year re-negotiation period, during which existing arrangements are in force. Plenty of time to agree bilateral arrangements where necessary.

    2) There is a huge amount of wastage and duplication of responsibility in those departments even after the cuts, so simple re-allocation would work. If, as I have been advocating within the party, we end all structural aid while maintaining medical and humanitarian intervention funding (saving around £9bn), you could cut or reallocate International Development staff and resources very easily.

    3 & 4) UKIP is not advocating deportation of legal residents from the UK and we do not expect other countries to not follow a similar path. Residents here legally would be allowed the same chance of pursuing permanent residency for themselves (and of course children born here are British) as any other immigrant - they would just happen to be here already ad not subject to a points-based system just like Australia's.

    It is a bit alarmist to envision hordes of British pensioners being marched off to Spanish docks - it would not only be diplomatically improbable, but it would also hammer the already fragile Spanish economy, so they will not do it. As for trade - we import £50bn more in goods and services from EU states than we export. We are the Eurozone's biggest export market bar none. The idea that tariff walls will go up and a trade war will start is plain nonsense - not to mention against WTO rules (and since we will reclaim our unilateral seat at the WTO, we will finally have some influence there again).

    5) It is not - as you well know, the UKIP manifesto (as with every other party) is being re-written and reviewed for 2015. Official announcements of specific policy, in detail, will commence this Autumn.

    1. Thanks for taking the time to reply, Barry.

      1) Do you know how long it took to negotiate our exit from HK for example? I believe it took from 1979 to 1997. And that was with one country...

      2) Do you know how much of the 'structural aid' is actually spent on British goods and services being supplied to otyher countries? I suspect cuts in Overseas Aid will do as much harm to the British economy as will to the growing economies of other countries (whom we might want to keep as friends & allies...)

      3) So current EU residents would have to 'pursue' permanent residency or working visas. Do you happen to know how much that administration might cost?

      4) I am not being alarmist, but my searches indicate to me that many exPats are feeling a tad alarmed. At the very least, the will be feeling very uncertain. Why would British ExPats leaving Spain harm their economy when you give the impression that EU migrants in the UK do the opposite? Please explain this apparent inconsistency.

      5) You could have left the 2010 manifesto up there for information's sake? As a point of reference at least... Surely core policy details about just how the UK can manage an exit from the EU would not change much...? Do you have an extract from the 2010 manifesto that covers these points that you could place here?

      And again - thanks for engaging in the debate.

  2. Barry Cooper29/5/14 13:25

    1) Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty gives 2 years, more would be negotiated if necessary - it is in the EU's economic interests to make it work. The length of time for HK was to create the special administrative privileges of the territory to preserve the rights and prosperity of the residents within the Chinese state - its a different thing.

    2) Cut EU tariffs for goods from the developing and they can afford to buy our stuff without our buying it for them. Trade, not aid.

    3) No idea.

    4) Ex-pats in Spain (for a specific example) are generally (although not exclusively) living on pensions and in no way represent a drain on the welfare and infrastructure of Spain. They are mostly financially independent and support local service job creation.

    Although certain demographics of immigrants in the UK are similarly beneficial, the cross-section is far more heterogenous than the British retirees or working professionals that almost universally make up the numbers of our nationals living in the EU. British low-skilled and unskilled workers do not migrate to other EU states - why would they when, if they cannot get a job here, our welfare system is more cushy than the minimum wage in much of the EU? So there is not the wage deflation and strain on schools, health care, housing etc in the Eu due to British migration that we see cases of here.

    Yes, certain EU migrant demographics are very beneficial to our economy, others much less so or not at all - this speaks to the idea of "uniformity" of the EU as a nonsense since even in looking at who goes where and why, there are clear and significant differences between the member states nationals who migrate. Only to be expected really given the massive dichotomy between the economies in question - I certainly do not blame people for coming here to get the chance at a better life given where they are originating, but that does not mean that our borders should remain open or that all immigrants offer the same to their new host nation.

    Our suggested immigration system would not halt migration from EU states - they would have the same chance to come here and build a new life for themselves while contributing to the "system" as anyone else from anywhere else in the world. It would be on an even playing field with applicants globally - quality control as well as quantity. And incidentally, far less discriminatory than allowing any national of an EU member-state to come here at a whim (regardless of skills) while discriminating against skilled and valuable workers from the non-EU world.

    5) The 2010 manifesto was a self-indulgent exercise by the now Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman (they are welcome to him). It is has been quite rightly abrogated. Intellectually and "professionally" we have come a long way in the last 4 years - DCB's magnum opus is a reflection of "old UKIP" and the proverbial (and much loved by the media) stereotype of UKIP's "pub-bore" mentality. While most of the core principles will remain the same, a lot of specifics will be "fixed" to drag them away from where they were then, and even contiguous policies will be refined to make them more workable, pragmatic, practical and, most importantly, costed and implementable. You will see them later this year.

    1. 1) 2 years to negotiate 30 parallel agreements - sounds like a lot of work!

      2) It is not that simple

      3) But it could be quite a lot couldn't it...

      4) So if ExPats are no drain on Spanish economy, you would be happy for them to return if they wished? What about health care costs?

      5) I look forward to seeing the detail... Expect to have it picked over!

  3. Barry Cooper29/5/14 14:27

    Hi Jon

    1) Its worth it since those agreements will be prioritised to benefit the UK and not have to take into account 27 other states with widely differing needs and priorities. It may well take longer than 2 years, but in everyone interests to make it work.

    2) No, it's not, but the tariff issue is an important one. Agricultural imports from Africa, for example, as massively restricted by EU protectionism. They would need less of "our" money to build roads and wells if they could sell to EU markets.

    3) See 1.

    4) I would have no problem, but they will not all return since there will be no tit-for-tat expulsion of foreign nationals since UKIP does not plan on expelling any legal resident.

    5) I fully expect it!

    1. 1) Each one will be a negotiation - so may or may not finally be in our interests... But it will be a dogs breakfast of differing arrangements in each country. Will businesses like that? Exporting is hard enough...!

      2) It's a fair point - but not really the original Q. Banking on huge savings from DfID is a bit of a fantasy in my view: huge resources - political, diplomatic and economic developmental will have to be redeployed into negotiating all these bilaterals. And when all these bilaterals in place - there will be unforeseen consequences.

      3) see 2)!

      4) That is clear policy then: no EU migrant who is living / working here at the moment legally (as per EU regs etc) would be expelled post exit... ??

      5) Good.

  4. Barry Cooper29/5/14 20:07

    4) Correct. Goes for non-EU migrants too. No one here legally will be deported. UKIP does not go in for retrospective legislation. They -may- have to apply for a work permit and be subject to the same conditions as newly arriving immigrants, but they will not have to leave as soon as we get out of the EU. If they get their permit, but end up on benefits for several years without ever having paid into the system, it -may- be likely that their legal residence would be reviewed. If they get their permit, and are in work and avoid criminal convictions, they will likely get permanent residence and eventual citizenship as per the implimented mechanisms. Again, not published policy, but this is a broad sweep of how it will be presented following further polishing and refinement.

    1. "They -may- have to apply for a work permit and be subject to the same conditions as newly arriving immigrants, but they will not have to leave as soon as we get out of the EU"

      a) and if they don't succeed in the application for a work permit?
      b) same conditions... what might those be then? Will benefits that they have previously received be withdrawn?
      c) as soon as... but eventually?
      d) is this what your supporters believe? I have a hunch that some (many?) UKIP supporters think that on EU exit, all EU migrants will have to 'go home' and releasing lots of 'British Jobs for British Workers'