It is glibly claimed by some of the less intelligent UKIP NEC & Leadership, particularly their more sycophantic and self serving parasites, without any apparent sourcing or reference in support of their claims.
Surely after some 60 years of EU scams and shennanigens they would reasonably expect to engage their brains before putting their mouths in gear and potentially making fools of themselves yet again - they claim that:
'money granted through participation in Pan EU Political Parties can be used to fight a referendum in the UK (IF WE GET ONE)'To view this unfounded claim CLICK HERE for UKIP NEC members to sneer and abuse supporters and thus drag the party into their gutter style of sneering behaviour is damaging UKIP as has been UKIP's manner with the level of idiot they habitually have in their leadership.
Clearly lacking any vestige of intellect or political nouse it would seem UKIP's only ability is to cover-up their ineptitude with ill manners and lies, such that it is almost impossible and definitely unwise, to believe a word they say, having so consistently been proven either dishonest or just plain wrong!
Barbara Booker takes a more intelligent and reasoned look at this funding endorsing points made in earlier sections on this Blog.!
Has anyone bothered to check if this is true? (the comment by Mick McGough quoted above!)
It's been generally accepted by not only UKIP spokespeople and EUobserver, but also the Daily Mail and Express, that a rule change now allows Europarties to use their funding to campaign in a referendum on UK membership, even though there appears to be no evidence for this other than Nigel Farage's word.
As Farage is very keen indeed for members to agree to letting him take UKIP into a Europarty, it would be wise to verify his claims by getting the facts direct from the EP's Constitutional Affairs Committee (AFCO) and the British Electoral Commission.
The trouble is, we are all very ready to believe claims about the 'evil' EU that play to our own prejudices. If those claims are based only on personal interpretation of possibly ambiguous statements translated from another language, it's very easy to be mistaken. Nigel Farage has made one interpretation of the debate at a recent AFCO meeting; I have made another. As the implications for UKIP's decision on joining a Europarty are so serious, I urge someone (Trevor Colman? Tim Congdon?) to establish the truth.
* * * * *
At the AFCO meeting on 14 March rapporteur Marietta Giannakou presented her draft report reviewing the regulations governing Europarties and recommending some changes, including one that would allow these parties to use their funds in referendum campaigns on directly linked EU issues. Current funding rules forbid Europarty participation in any referendum campaigns at all.
The draft report is at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdo...5/840655en.pdf and the only references to referendums are at points 16 and 30, and in the third paragraph from the end of section II of the explanatory statement. The contentious wording is at point 30 where, having noted that Europarties can already use their funds to campaign in EP elections, it says:
"they are prohibited from using these sums for financing 'referenda campaigns'; considers that the reason for this is probably a concern that European parties and foundations could interfere in the domestic affairs of Member States; believes, however that, if European political parties are to play a political role at EU level, they should have the right to participate in such campaigns as long as the subject of the referendum has a direct link with issues concerning the European Union"
Amendment 95, put down by Andrew Duff, removed from the draft report the words: "considers that the reason for this is probably a concern that European parties and foundations could interfere in the domestic affairs of Member States".
Nigel Farage interprets this as allowing Europarties to spend their funding on a national referendum in the UK, a view that was expanded on by Gawain Towler in his blog England Expects on 15 March, reported by EUobserver on 17 March as posted at CLICK HERE, and by the Daily Mail on 19 March (Now MEPs can use UK taxpayers' cash for propaganda to keep Britain in the EU) and Express on 21 March (Plot to 'rig' your EU vote). The similarity between the Mail and Express articles, using several near identical phrases, suggests that both articles may have sprung from the same press release; Stuart Agnew told the Mail that his group in the EP would use its funding to campaign for withdrawal, because "Why should taxpayers' money just go to fund the "Yes" side?"; now Mick McGough says "this money can be used to fight a referendum in the UK".
How true is all this? Well, Nigel Farage didn't even wait for AFCO to vote on the report before rushing out his version and using it to give UKIP a shove towards joining a Europarty. At 6:03am on 15 March he was tweeting away:
"Decision by EP to allow pan euro parties to get involved in national referendums means UKIP must join or money will go to pro EU side",
followed at 07:13 on Facebook by:
"MEPs in Committee have approved decisions to allow pan european political parties to become involved in national referendums on EU issues. This means that unless UKIP join one the money which we could spend getting our message across will be given to the other side".
The first untruth is that the "EP" or "MEPs in Committee" had taken a decision. They hadn't. AFCO had debated the report the day before, but didn't vote on it until the 10am session on 15 March, some four hours after Farage's twitter and Facebook posts. The rest of the EP didn't get to vote on it until the plenary session on 6 April. Even now, there has been no rule change, because the resolution adopted on 6 April was non-legislative. The report is only a request to the Commission to propose a draft statute, which will then have to go all through the EP procedures again for consideration and amendment before becoming law. In the meantime, Europarties are still prohibited from involvement in referendums.
The second untruth is that the report calls for Europarties to become involved in "national" referendums. It doesn't. It doesn't even mention national referendums. It talks about Europarties' role "at EU level", so it would seem logical and not unreasonable that pan-EU parties would want to become involved in pan-EU referendums. Giannakou herself, when interviewed recently said: "EU parties would be allowed to take part only in those referenda campaigns directly connected to European issues, for example on a change of treaty".
We also know from Sharon Ellul Bonici's e-mail last October CLICK HERE that the European Alliance for Freedom (the Europarty UKIP would be joining) is planning to call for a referendum under the new Citizens' Initiative: "one of the first campains we can engage ourselves in is to generate 1 million signatures to be able to instigate a pan wide European referendum on Turkey. The idea is to use the million signature clause according to the Lisbon Treaty".
As the law stands at present, they could use their funds to petition for a referendum, but not to campaign in the referendum itself. It's hardly surprising that MEPs want this situation changed.
Viewed like this, that the report has nothing to do with purely national referendums and only seeks involvement in pan-European ones, Duff's amendment 95 would have been aimed simply at removing unwarranted fears over EU intervention rather than, as Gawain Towler suggests, brushing aside EU recognition that it shouldn't interfere in domestic affairs.
A third untruth, at least under current British electoral law, is that Europarty funds can be used in a UK referendum campaign. Gawain Towler touches on this: "money donated to the Lib Dem Euro political party, by someone living in France, could be used to fund a pro-European referendum campaign in the UK by washing it through the European Political Party. In direct contravension of British electoral law, but so be it".
He is right, of course, but the same would apply if the donor living in another EU country had given money to UKIP's Europarty. Before UKIP members get pushed too far down the Europarty road, advice should be sought from the Electoral Commission on the implications of a possible change in EU law. Europarties, which by their nature accept donations from non UK residents, would presumably have to register as political parties here in order to become permitted participants in UK referendums. What would be ElCom's view on this?
Finally, even if such electoral hurdles were cleared it is by no means certain that Farage, Agnew, McGough, etc. are right in saying that UKIP could use Europarty money to fight for withdrawal in a UK referendum.
It cannot be emphasized too strongly that no EU funds would be available to UKIP itself. The money would go to the Europarty, to campaign in the referendum (if that was allowed) on whatever stance the Europarty took on EU withdrawal. Since other Europarty members are in favour of EU membership, and since they would be aware that winning a UK referendum would mean the loss of UKIP from the EP, quite possibly resulting in their Europarty's collapse, how can we be so sure they wouldn't want to campaign for the 'stay in' side?
Turkeys voting for their own demise at Christmas is one thing. Agreeing to fund the slaughterhouse is something else!
Posted by: Greg Lance-Watkins
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