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UK elections: UKIP manifesto

Apr 30, 2010, 2:01 PM | Article By: Alhagie Mbye our UK correspondent

Apart from the three main contenders in the coming UK election, there are also few other significant parties capable of hindering the chances of the mainstream political parties. And the main parties are aware of them.

These small but noteworthy parties cannot be easily ruled out as some of them had done well during the last local and European elections and have secured seats. Despites their ideologies and proposals that are sometimes uncomfortable with the majority of the British people, these parties are doing well in their own strongholds.

As a result, this correspondent will first reveal the manifesto of one the parties called United Kingdom Independent Party (UKIP), a party that came out second during the last European election. The UKIP said they should now be considered as a party to be reckoned with due to its performance and warned that voters may turn to them as a source of 'salvation'.

The party known for its 'opposition' to Europe and the European Union said that certain powers granted to the EU is 'unacceptable' and they are prepared to reconsider Britain's position in the powerful European block. Such opposition and comments caused many respectable commentators and other parties protesting that the UKIP is 'campaigning against the interest' of the British people and should reconsider their strategy. But the party is not shy in attacking the EU on a regular basis and even went further to announce that 'the UKIP will save up to £120bn a year by leaving the EU.'

Economy: In its manifesto, UKIP revealed: 'We want Britain to regain three essential freedoms by leaving the EU.' These includes what it called a 'Freedom of Action', so that it can 'control our borders and no longer have to grovel to the EU for permission to save our Post Offices, factories, etc.' 'Freedom of Resources', by 'keeping the £16.4bn p.a. in cash (£45m a day) currently sent to Brussels and spending that money in the UK.' Also with 'Freedom of the People' which the party said 'with real power' returning to British citizens, from 'remote EU bureaucrats'.

As a result, UKIP said it will 'save up to £120bn a year by leaving the EU' and that 'no British jobs or trade will be lost.'

The UKIP indicated in its manifesto that it will also 'take tax off the minimum wage by raising the tax threshold to £11,500' and will further 'reduce everyone's taxes with a 31% flat tax.'

The party also revealed that it will 'abolish' the tax on jobs, 'phase' out employers' National Insurance (NI) contributions over five years and replace VAT with a 'Local Sales Tax' to help councils and local businesses.

IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM: The party's controversial immigration policy is also another issue; nonetheless, it announced that 'uncontrolled mass immigration' is unacceptable and even vowed to introduce an 'immediate five-year freeze on immigration for permanent settlement.' The UKIP also stressed that it will 'regain control of Britain's borders to stop foreign criminals from entering our country.'

The UKIP seen by many as not only 'an anti immigration party' but creating 'distrust' within a multi-cultural society like Britain led by Nigel Farage, has been described by the leader of the Conservatives, David Cameron as 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists.'

However the party is less concerned about such criticisms from the public;  instead it vowed it will 'expel' certain people out of the country and will further introduce a 'strict new points-based visa system and time-limited work permits' as well as to 'triple the number of UK Borders Agency staff engaged in controlling immigration.'

Law and Order: In its manifesto, the UKIP said that it will help enable voters to 'set policing priorities' through locally-elected County Police Boards and demand 'zero tolerance on crime and double prison places.'

In order to assure this, the party said it will take 'sentences mean what they say' and added that 'life must mean life.' In a more simplistic term, the party said that it will not support lenient or soft in sentencing.

Most controversial further creating more conflict between the party and human rights campaigners, the party is still maintaining and campaigning to 'scrap the Human Rights Act' that 'benefits criminals and not their victims.' The party insisted that there will be 'no votes for prisoners' and will 'abolish the Crown Prosecution Service and return to county police prosecutions.' Such statement described as 'absolutely ridiculous and practically impossible' by senior legal professional is another bone of contention within the legal circle.

Health: The UKIP said it will keep the National Health Service (NHS) free at the point of delivery and 'make no cuts to frontline services'. The party also outlined that it will replace 'overlapping tiers of NHS bureaucracy (SHAs/PCTs) with locally-elected County Health Boards'.

Another controversial and debatable pledge by the UKIP is its intention to 'introduce private sector franchise partnerships' to run NHS healthcare services; while at the same time allows its assets remain in public hands.

Furthermore, the party said it is adamant to introduce what it called a 'Health Credit Vouchers' to allow people to opt out of the NHS if people wish and to 're-examine community care and support congregate communities for people with learning disabilities' and to 'restore free NHS dental check-ups and eye test'.

Pension: The party outlined that it will 'roll all existing state pensions and benefits' into a non means-tested minimum £130pw 'Citizen's Pension? and reinstate dividend tax credit at 20%'.

In addition, UKIP will 'reduce the annual limit for tax-relievable pension contributions to £10,000, from £255,000 and will bring public sector final salary pensions back into line with typical private pension provision.' By leaving the EU, the UKIP stressed that will avoid having to 'pay for unfunded EU pensions'.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade: Once again, UKIP said it will leave the EU and continue in free trade with the other European countries. No jobs it said will be lost, and that it will establish a 'Commonwealth Free Trade Area' with the other member countries.

The party stressed that it will regain Britain?s currently 'dormant seat' at the World Trade Organisation and vowed to 'promote democracy, genuine human rights and free determination around the world'.

Environment: The party said that it will invest in nuclear power and clean coal to 'avert Britain's impending energy crises' and 'oppose' wind farms in general.

UKIP said it will establish a 'Royal Commission' to determine the truth about man-made global warming as well as incentivise the reduction of waste and 'effective methods of recycling and incineration.'

UKIP said it will also 'encourage' use of electric road vehicles and more electrified rail and 'invest an extra £3bn p.a. in the UK's road and railway systems'.

The party will 'introduce three new high-speed rail lines,' and re-open some lines closed by Beeching, shelve plans for the sixth Heathrow terminal and third runway in favour of a Thames Estuary airport. Interestingly, UKIP said the party will 'make foreign lorries pay to use British roads.' It added that it will 'ban' the EU's 'superlorries' as well.

However such statement is contrary to EU law as legislation and directive for free movement of goods which is one of the 'four freedoms' of the Single Market and one that is very prominent for that matter speaks differently, thus UKIP is equally under intense criticism in that regard.

A London university professor and specialist on EU matters shortly before compiling this article told this correspondent that 'whatever the politicians think in regards to such relevant matter cannot change directives signed and accepted by our own government and incorporated into UK law, however everyone is free to criticize EU policy, but the fact of the matter is there is little they can do to that effect.'

The canvassing of votes and the revelation of the manifestos continues.