So he’s from a party that hates the smoking ban, HS2, Brussels, travellers, burqas, regulation, tax, wind farms, foreign aid, crime, Abu Qatada, tuition fees, lazy people, Muslims, foreigners and the hunting ban. Oh, and it’s also got a deep fear of immigrants. Yes the party is Ukip and the man who came on TNT Breakfast Club today is their migration spokesman Steven Woolfe.
Born in 1967 in Moss Side and now living in Chester, Woolfe has Mancunian roots that place him right in the firing line of TNT questioning derived from issues within our city.
Moments before his arrival on radio, Respect party representative Colette Williams sat in the opposite corner of the ring, awaiting eagerly to unpeel Mr Woolfe on issues around immigration. Naturally, TNT was poised in-between the two.
Why do you think every time there is a recession, immigrants always become ‘the issue’ – the people coming to steal ‘their’ [Brits] jobs?
Williams: Because they are the easiest target. They haven’t got a voice; they haven’t got media, access to radio or newspapers. The newest target: economic migrants. This word, ‘migrants’, it’s becoming such a dehumanising word. Listen to the news now; 900 people including young children perishing in the cold water [Mediterranean]. All they were trying to do was flee a country that is in turmoil. We need to be asking ‘Why is Libya in turmoil?’ [The British] destabilised the government there.
Do you really believe that Ukip is a viable option for a new, diverse Britain?
Woolfe: Absolutely. There are nearly 80 candidates standing for Ukip in this year’s parliamentary elections from all different backgrounds. That’s 17 per cent and that’s more than The Liberal Democrats, The Greens and The Conservative Party, added together. These are people from Muslim backgrounds like in Bradford and Rochdale; in London we have West Indian and African candidates, Jewish candidates too. They are representing the diversity of our country. We don’t think the other political parties have done the same.
Williams: What we are seeing nowadays is that instead of ‘No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish’ is just ‘Let them drown’ – all these economic migrants trying to come and make a better life for themselves. I don’t think Ukip are viable. I think Ukip are just being used as a loud hailer for all the political parties.
Woolfe: When Nigel asked me to be the Immigration spokesman, I declined it. I said I’m not going to be the Immigration spokesman; I will be the migration spokesman. Ukip is not anti-immigration. We don’t believe that the EU should set immigration rules; it should be this country. Immigration rules at the moment are distorted and in my view discriminatory. My Irish grandmother can come here without a visa but an African person can’t. That’s wrong. Everybody should be treated the same, like the Australian visa system we want to put in.
How do you feel about unemployment as addressed by Colette?
Woolfe: Last year we had 628,000 people [immigrants] in Liverpool and Aberdeen, it’s accepted economic knowledge that what it has done is push wages down, so that in large parts of our country we have the minimum wage becoming the maximum wage – and there is evidence for that. There is also displacement of jobs. No country in the world accepts that you should have open doors; you want a level of control. We are saying how do you control that? Our view is control it more equally by having the Australian-style points system – tweaked a little for the UK.
Colette: If you have two applicants going for a job, one had an African name and the other ‘Colin Smith’; we know which one is going to get through the interview. These are the things that the politicians have forgotten to talk about. They don’t talk about that economic migrants have, and always, will bring in more benefit than they actually take out.
Woolfe: Immigration into this country does succeed and can contribute, but you have to ask yourself at what level, in terms of pure numbers. How do you manage to get levels of numbers to integrate into society?
Colette: You’re playing to the fears of people; that these people of colour, these people that are non-Christian, non-British, non-White will come into your country and take your jobs, houses and education.
Woolfe: I don’t think it’s a question of colour; a great deal of EU citizens is all white, so that argument fails on that particular point. I have proposed that the law that enables an EU citizen to marry someone outside of the EU can come and live here freely through marriage. But someone who is born here has a British passport and wants to marry someone from abroad can’t; they have to go through a 6-9month process. That [law] has to go. They have to be treated equally. And I fail to see how any of those policies there, are racialist policies. The policies are clear. Compare those to the other political parties. That’s all I’m asking people to do.
TNT Breakfast Club