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UKIP don’t know their enemy.

Following a discussion with Camilla about UKIP, I decided to write to them about a schoolboy error I found on their website a few days ago. I thought this might make interesting reading for those of you who are following the UK general election from a largely Eurosceptic country.

Error on your website.


This news item confuses the Council of Europe with the European Union. The two are very different. The Council of Europe was founded in 1949 with the UK as one of its founder members. It has 49 members (including Turkey, Russia, the former Yugoslav countries and the Caucasian countries) and cannot make laws for the UK. The European Union was founded in 1957 (as the EEC) and has 27 members. The UK joined in 1973. As UKIP is all too aware, the EU can make laws for the UK which supersede those made at Westminster.

This article contains an error which I can only assume is intended to mislead readers into believing that the Council of Europe has the power to ban smacking in the UK against the will of the British people. This is not the case. The alternative is that the error results from simple ignorance, which I find surprising in a party so strongly committed on the issue of European integration. Surely you should know your enemy better than this?

This e-mail will be published online. My opinion of UKIP will greatly increase if a correction to this article is published on the front page of your website before the general election.

Yours faithfully,

Tim Macdonald
School of Law
University of Edinburgh


Camilla,  02.05.10 22:19

But surely you would not consider voting for them?

Camilla,  03.05.10 10:33

I also find it hilarious that one of the important rights they want to safeguard for interference from the EU is the legality of hitting children.

Tim,  03.05.10 12:17

I'm very disappointed that UKIP aren't standing in Edinburgh North and Leith, because it means I'm deprived of the chance to actively not vote for them.

I think what they really object to is the EU/CoE telling us what to do. If you want to see something hilarious about UKIP, look no further than their decision to be the Animal Rights party as well as the anti-EU party.

Tor,  03.05.10 19:47

While their animal rights manifesto seems mostly sensible, I find it interesting that they are strongly opposed to religious slaughtering techniques, yet feel that the legality of fox hunting is best left to the local authorities.

Camilla,  03.05.10 20:04

That would be because the former is something dirty foreigners do, while the latter is a proud British tradition.

Tim,  03.05.10 22:10

That policy is a hilariously inept attempt to pretend they aren't legalising fox hunting. The whole point of the controversy was that city-dwellers were forcing country-dwellers to stop doing something which didn't affect the city-dwellers in any way. If they allow local authorities to overturn the ban, all the rural areas where there ever was fox hunting will do so, with the result that fox-hunting will only be illegal in places where there aren't any foxes to hunt anyway.

What makes it even better is that this isn't even a subtle disguise. You don't need to know anything about the inner workings of British politics to work out what's going on – a child could see through it. It makes me wonder if this isn't some incredibly clever double bluff to make everyone think that they aren't good at hiding things, so they must be more honest than other politicians.

Camilla,  04.05.10 00:39

Or the average UKIP voter has the political acuity of a kindergarden kid.

Tim,  04.05.10 15:59

But can you really say anything better about those who vote for the other parties?

Camilla,  04.05.10 16:16

LibDem voters seem moderately sensible... :P