Twickenham’s UKIP candidate has attacked the EU’s ‘Eurovision Song Contest’ style voting system and likened the European Parliament to a ‘cartel’ at a hustings focused on international affairs.
Barry Edwards, UKIP PPC for Twickenham, made the comments at a Teddington Church where the spotlight was on human rights and the arms trade.
When asked about the European Convention of Human Rights – incorporated into English Law since 1998 – Mr Edwards moved the conversation on to say there was no mechanism to reform the EU.
“The EU is a fundamentally discriminatory organisation – it is a cartel which we have no control over,” said Mr Edwards.
“It is not democratic and there are fundamental problems with the body. It operates like the Eurovision Song Contest, that wonderfully fair competition where everyone is meant to vote for the best song but nobody does, they vote for their mates.
The subject of climate change was also raised at the hustings, and Mr Edwards, who has a BSc in Environmental Science, challenged the Green Party on their idea of growth while maintaining sustainability.
“Climate change, along with nuclear weapons, are the biggest threat the next generation faces.”
He also attacked potential voters for disagreeing with his links between European migration and environmental issues.
“I am an environmental scientist and I have studied the relationship between population and resources, so for the Greens to say they want to grow is actually saying they are not environmentalists,” he said.
“They are proposing 500,000 new houses. How is that environmentally correct? We need the countryside to grow our food and natural spaces for our wildlife. By building – to house people from the rest of Europe – seems to me irrational.”
The connection between European migrants and environment brought a negative reaction from the audience.
“What you ought to do before making judgment is fundamentally look at the facts. It seems to the three organisers of this event are about tolerance, intelligence and wisdom,” he said.
“If you look at what Sir David Attenborough has said [on the issue of overpopulation] you may understand slightly the problems we will face in the future. I suggest every single one of you do that before you start jeering at me.”
“Of the 27 countries on the Foreign Office’s human rights concern list the UK sells arms to 25.”
Tania Mathias, Conservative candidate, advocated the use of ‘smart-metres’ in homes to help decrease energy use and Lib Dem Vince Cable said that climate change, along with nuclear weapons, are ‘the biggest threat the next generation faces’.
Nick Grant, Labour Party candidate, stated he believed there was a need to refocus efforts from employing people in the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO), who sell arms abroad, and look to create more ‘green’ jobs instead.
“Of the 27 countries on the Foreign Office’s human rights concern list the UK sells arms to 25,” he said.
“How much longer can we go on with this fundamental conflict between our view of human rights, our moral position in the world, and the trade that we are cultivating and expanding?
“I am surprised and saddened that Vince Cable has been so involved with the expansion of this trade.
“I would like to see those 150 people employed by the DSO recycled to work on exporting the great renewable technology that we have in this country.”
The hustings event was organised by Amnesty International, Twickenham & Richmond United Nations Association and Twickenham, Richmond and Kingston Network Against the Arms Trade.
Picture courtesy of Steve McCubbin, with thanks