Saturday, 2 April 2016

The UKIP response to the steel crisis

The UKIP response to the steel industry crisis is staggeringly hypocritical and opportunistic, even by their own woeful standards.

Hypocrisy and lies

Nigel Farage, UKIP and the Brexit crowd have gleefully jumped on the opportunity to use the ongoing steel industry crisis as a stick to beat the EU with, despite the fact that they repeatedly voted against EU measures to protect the European steel industry from dumped Chinese steel.

The UKIP excuse for voting against measures to help the steel industry is the same tired old nonsense about how they supposedly always vote against EU rules as a matter of principle, even if they would be good for the UK.

The obvious argument against this kind of petty absolutism is that voting against EU measures that would benefit the UK is a perfect example of "cutting off your nose to spite your face". Voting against British interests is bad enough, but then using troubles in the industry that they explicitly voted against helping in order to crow about how membership of the EU would "spell the end of the steel industry in this country" is shockingly hypocritical.

Another much more compelling criticism of UKIP voting against measures to protect the European steel industry on the grounds that they "always voting against EU rules" is that this justification is an outright lie. In 2014 the UKIP spokesman for energy and industry Roger Helmer voted in favour of the TTIP corporate power grab in the European Parliament.

It turns out that if the purpose of the vote is to protect the European steel industry from dumped Chinese steel UKIP will vote against it on "principle", but if the purpose of the vote is to allow multinational corporations to completely over-write the sovereignty of all of the states in the Europen Union (including the UK), apparently it's perfectly fine for UKIP to vote in favour of it!


Various UKIP and Brexit social media pages have seized on the steel industry crisis to begin sharing misleading infographics about how the EU is supposedly preventing the UK from renationalising the UK steel industry. There's an awful lot wrong with this kind of anti-EU propaganda,enough to fill an entire article in fact, but for the sake of brevity I'll stick to a few key bullet points.

  • UKIP is an extremely right-wing party led by a guy who describes himself as "keeping the flame of Thatcherism alive". The idea that free market fanatics in the UKIP leadership would nationalise the steel industry if they had the option is absolutely laughable.
  • If UKIP do succeed and achieve Brexit, that will simply consolidate Tory power and they've already clearly stated that they'd rather see the UK steel industry die than consider nationalisation. It's clearly the Tories standing in the way of nationalisation, not the EU.
Consequences of Brexit

If we subject Nigel Farage's claim that continued EU membership
 would "spell the end of the steel industry in this country" to a little bit of scrutiny it becomes completely obvious that it's unrealistic scaremongering rubbish.
If Britain quits the EU, we won't suddenly get a government that gives a damn about the UK steel industry, we'll be stuck with the Tories, who see the UK steel industry as a sacrificial pawn in their efforts to suck up to the Chinese.

Remember when the Redcar plant was shut down costing 3,000 jobs in the industry and causing terrible knock-on effects for the rest of the community too*. What were the Tories up to then? They were busy sucking up to the Chinese and concocting "one of the worst deals ever" to bribe them into building our energy infrastructure for us weren't they?

It's also important to note that the Tory government were actually the ringleaders of the resistance to EU measures to impose import tariffs on artificially cheap Chinese steel.

Just weeks ago the Tory business minister Sajid Javid told parliament that it would be wrong to protect the British steel industry by imposing punitive import tariffs on dumped Chinese steel, and now it turns out that the Chinese have put a 46% import tariff on Welsh steel!

The Tory response to the massive over-production of steel by the 80% state owned Chinese steel industry ruining the UK steel industry, and the Chinese imposition of punitive import tariffs on Welsh steel is to say that nationalisation of the UK steel industry is off the table as an option, and the imposition of punitive import tariffs on Chinese steel would be morally wrong!

What UKIP are arguing for is to hand stewardship of the UK steel industry to the completely unrestrained Tories, who clearly value their budding "special relationship" with China so much more highly than the UK steel industry that they're prepared to sacrifice in order to beg favours from the Chinese.


It's understandable that UKIP want to argue in favour of leaving the EU, it's the entire raison d'etre of their party after all.

The problem isn't that they want the UK to leave the EU, it's the way that they opportunistically use a crisis in the steel industry to fearmonger about the EU, when they voted against EU measures to help the steel industry, and when they know as well as everyone else that the steel industry truly will be doomed under unrestrained Tory stewardship because they're clearly far more concerned with sucking up to the Chinese than they are with protecting a strategically vital British industry and the tens of thousands of jobs it supports.

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* It's worth remembering the idle Tory promises to "do everything we can" to help the Redcar plant that soon closed with the loss of 3,000 jobs and contrast that with David Cameron's promise to do ... err ... "everything he can" to support the steelworks at Port Talbot.

David Cameron's surrender to the Chinese
The Tory nuclear price-fixing deal
The Tory "economic recovery" mantra is a lie
The pathetic Tory response to the steel industry crisis
12 Tory-UKIP defectors
The Tory ideological mission
Asset stripping "bankrupt Britain"
Margaret Thatcher's toxic neoliberal legacies