As a Ukip member I am taking up blogging on this site to defend and explain the policies of Britain's third party of politics, and to debunk some of the lazy journalism that is written about us. Too often Ukip's political enemies and those in the media take swipes at us by branding us racist and homophobic and for having ill-thought out and un-costed policies. It is understandable when you are a threat to the established, cosy tripartite system at Westminster.
I fought the last election as a Tory PPC in a key marginal seat (Batley and Spen under my previous married name of Small) and joined Ukip 18 months ago. I left the Conservative party when Cameron's Conservatism left me, when I wasn't allowed to speak the 'evil' of the European question and told to shut up on my support for grammar schools and uncontrolled immigration. More on this in subsequent posts.
Our enemies claim we are a one-man, one issue party. No so. The party is not just Nigel Farage, human dynamo that he is. We have eleven MEPs and tipped to do even better in the 2014 Euro elections, knocking the Tories off the top spot. Most of our MEPs have been in business, a rarity in Brussels and for most British Euro MEPs, who are mostly party apparatchiks or ex-Brussels officios. Of course, like any party, we have disagreements on policy; some members holding more libertarian views than others and those that hold the opposite views to some policy issues such as gay marriage.
Let's take that little political time bomb first. Ukip's stance on gay marriage is simple: we entirely, wholeheartedly support equal rights for couples regardless of their sexuality and we believe this has been achieved through the introduction of civil partnerships, which Ukip supported. However, we believe faith leaders have the right to defend their belief that 'marriage' is between a man and a woman. In this country we have hate laws and, despite Cameron giving assurances that all faiths will have the right to opt out of gay marriages, as prime minister of the United Kingdom, a member of the European Union and subject to the rulings of the European Courts, both of Justice and Human Rights, he does not have the right, nor the power to make such a guarantee. Instead, faith leaders will be prosecuted under hate crime and other judicial rulings.
Where does our support come from? Most of the media would have you believe that our support is from disaffected right-wing, aged Tory members and voters - Bufton Tufton down at the golf club with a gin and tonic in hand, a bulbous purple nose, sporting a club tie with odious hang 'em and flog 'em ideas. No so. Yes, many of our supporters come from Thatcherite Tories, old and young (more anon), and Mondeo man who voted for Thatcher in 1979. However, most of our support in the north of England comes from ex-Labour voters because they see the London metrosexual elite of the Labour frontbench and increasingly their carefully selected MPs, as out-of-touch with their lives. They see that uncontrolled immigration has had a devastating effect on their employment and wages. The arrival of eastern Europeans who are cheaper and willing to work longer hours have undermined the British workforce. I ask where are the six figure salary union leaders speaking up for their members against immigration? Why are they not demanding that Miliband adopt a common-sense approach to limiting immigration? He cannot because he wholeheartedly believes in the EU as does Cameron and they cannot stop the arrival of unskilled labour (more on Romania and Bulgaria whose 30m inhabitants will have unfettered access to our jobs and homes coming soon).
Ukip would like to see us take control of who we issue visas to. Why can't we discriminate in favour of the brightest students from India and China who want to work and study here instead of low-skilled eastern European migrants whom we have no control over? Recently, Ford announced the closure of its Southampton plant with the loss of over 500 jobs. Ford had taken EU and British taxpayers' money via the Treasury, to support a factory opening in Turkey. Their union representatives talk of 'strike action' rather than the real cause of their unemployment. The working classes have borne the brunt of immigration, driving down wages, putting a strain on the NHS and housing, doing the jobs that the one million NEETs would have been capable of doing. It's just not disaffected Tories who support us.
Follow Janice Atkinson on Twitter: www.twitter.com/janiceukip