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Kilroy goes bananas Jun 04

So disgraced former Tory MP Jonathan Aitken is backing the swivel-eyed loons of the UK Independence Party. He joins disgraced former Tory MP Piers Merchant, standing on the party’s list in the North West, and disgraced former BBC presenter and former Labour MP Robert Kilroy-Silk. The party’s leader, Roger Knapman, is a former Tory minister. They claim to be “the people against the politicians”, but they seem rather more like “the washed-up politicians against the mainstream politicians”.

Kilroy was at his most irritating on UKIP’s Party Election Broadcast the other night. He sadly had to resort to complaining about the EU’s rules about the bendiness of bananas as a reason for leaving. Yet despite the harbingers of doom in the right wing press telling us that the EU would change the shape of our bananas and cucumbers, would prevent our sausages being called sausages, and would ban smoky bacon crisps, Kilroy may have noticed that we still have pretty normal cucumbers, our sausages are still called sausages, and we can still eat smoky bacon crisps. And as for bananas, all that was introduced was a unified system for classifying the fruit for sale. Which would of course be just as necessary if we were in a free trade arrangement with the EU from outside, which is what UKIP purport to desire.

I want our MEPs to sort out the bizarre system of expenses and renumeration that undermines the European Parliament, and to end the nonsense of shifting the whole operation to Strasbourg every few weeks. But electing UKIP MEPs won’t achieve that: it’s in their interest, as a party that hates the EU, to reinforce rather than resolve the EU’s problems. It’s in everyone else’s interest for the EU to become an efficient, well-run organisation. While I will enjoy seeing the Tories (and the BNP) suffer in the European elections as their voters switch to the UKIP, I doubt that any elected UKIP MEPs will perform a constructive role in the European Parliament. Lucky we’ll have plenty of LibDem MEPs to do that then.

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