26/05/2014 Newsnight


Jeremy Paxman is joined by a panel of guests to discuss the European election results, UKIP's next steps, the threat to the Conservatives and far-right success across Europe.

Similar Content

Browse content similar to 26/05/2014. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!



There is no arguing with Nigel Farage's much trumpeted claim today


that his party has pulled off something unprecedented. He is


right, they have, but what does it all mean? The established parties


dismissed the UK Independence Party as a one-man band, but now the


bandwagon is really rolling. Will an upsurge of protest transform


politics in this country, or is it just a flash in the pan? Bank


holiday Monday entertainment from the latest incarnation of the


political panel, because there is no over estimating the distress UKIP


have caused the established parties. I think there are racist amongst


them. The BNP has disappeared, so where has it gone? I have heard


enough speeches from UKIP members to make me wince with embarrassment.


And they are not alone, anti-integration and


anti-immigration parties are on the march across Europe. Will the


political establishment listen to them? David Cameron looks like a


stunned mullet, Ed Miliband is ashen and Nick Clegg, who now has fewer


MEPs than the Green Party, seemed suddenly to have discovered he has


been wearing no trousers for the last six months. Most of us didn't


bother to vote in yesterday's elections to the European


Parliament, an institution we don't much like and don't much understand.


But of those who did vote, the largest number expressed detestation


of the whole European project. They weren't alone. All over the EU


extreme right and hard left parties advanced at the expense of the


centre. The peasants are revolting. First tonight, Laura Keunssberg's


assessment. Can UKIP translate European success to Westminster?


This report contains flash photography.


On your marks, get set, only 347 days to go. The leader of the


smallest party now fancies his chances in the big race next year


and these people from Canvey in Essex are some of the voters who put


UKIP in pole position. Until the main parties start listening, the


indigenous population will go to UKIP. He says what we are all


thinking and he has got a platform where we have not. You are


frightened to say anything because they will say you are racist,


frightened to say anything because are not racists. Nigel Farage


grinning because his dream of topping in national vote came true.


It is an earthquake, it is a remarkable result and it does have


profound consequences for the other parties. Our game is to get this


right, to find the right candidates, to target our resources on getting a


good number of seats in Westminster next year. So, could he do it? Nick


Clegg was cut back to just one MEP, two fewer than the Greens. The


Tories were left with 19 seats, losing seven. Ed Miliband was beaten


into second place. And Nigel Farage was out in front with 24, with 11


extra on his side. In this area this week's results would send a UKIP MP


to Westminster. But is this a quick howl of protest or something more?


Would you ever vote UKIP in a general election? No, I would not.


Although some of their policies have touched a nerve, I think they go to


the extreme. It depends. If they stick to their word once they are


in, then yes the trust will build up. But at the moment they are not


setting me on fire. No one has achieved what Nigel Farage has


achieved in 100 years. But turning that into Westminster seats will be


much harder. But he can plot how to gain MPs. Whereas Nick Clegg, after


a dreadful performance, is struggling to control his. They knew


it would be bad, but not this bad. The Lib Dems are left with one MEP,


what a senior figure described as a shocking night. Now a couple of


backbenchers are calling for change at the top. A section of the


electorate are not listening to Nick Clegg. It is unfortunate, sad and


not deserved, deal with the world as we have got it. We said in 2010 we


would do something exceptional, enter into a coalition, for


exceptional reasons. To deliver the economic recovery, and just at the


point when our big decisions are being vindicated, we are not going


to buckle and lose our nerve and walk away. And labour was slapped


into second place, losing the fight with Nigel Farage. This was not


enough to see them into Number Ten next year, but they sneaked ahead of


the Tories. The Lib Dems were trailing by 7%. People will say, we


are discontented with the way the country works. UKIP is determined to


become a permanent party, but Labour and the Tories' combined share of


the vote went up, although David Cameron faces pressure from the


right. I see that as a demand for us to deliver and we have to


demonstrate tackling education, reforming welfare and getting


Britain's plays right in Europe are part of our long-term, economic


plan. But the Canvey Island MP is now a moderate. David Cameron is not


going to get away with that nonsense any more and the reason for that is


that Nigel is holding him to account and the people of this country are


backing Nigel. Not anything like everyone, not anything like yet, but


Mr Farage has made the others fighting for a place worry about


whether they are fit for the race. Well, to discuss whether this is the


start of four-party politics I am joined by a four-party panel. Tim


Montgomery, columnist for The Times. Miranda Green, the former press


secretary to Paddy Ashdown. The UKIP deputy chairman Neil Hamilton. And


Phil Collins, the journalist and former speech writer for Tony Blair.


Neil Hamilton, you are deputy chair, do you really believe you can


translate this into power at Westminster? Yes, we can. We made


solid progress today and considering where we were two years ago nobody


would ever say it would end up like this. We will have a very focused


campaign for the general election next year. We have learned a lot


from the elections in the last year. We will boil down the results of


yesterday, and we know instinctively where our targets are. What do you


think? I think it is a fantasy. Good. We have gone through the


wardrobe in some kind of political Narnia. In 2009, UKIP polled 7% and


fell back by 3%. This is bigger, for sure, but they will fall back again.


The idea that you are going to sweep through Westminster I regard as


fantastic. Tim Montgomery, there is a challenge for the Conservatives


and it is articulating the question whether some sort of packed could be


made. I do not think a pact would be sensible. People have been trying to


paint UKIP as a racist and corrupt party, but they have failed to stop


UKIP's surge. I think if the Conservative party tried to form any


alliance with UKIP, it would hurt the Conservatives more than


benefit. It does not rule out local accommodations were UKIP candidates


might stand aside for Eurosceptics, but overall it would be a dangerous


thing. Why are you shaking your head? Why would we want to shackle


ourselves to a corpse. Your party leader did open the door to it this


morning on the today programme. I was not up in time to hear my local


MP. But there is no prospect whatever of any pact between UKIP


and the Conservative party. When Jacob Rees Mogg floated this idea


last autumn, I asked the chairman of the branch in his constituency to do


a poll on UKIP members and 70% of them were against doing a pact. Only


about 30% of UKIP supporters in the opinion polling we did last year of


those who voted UKIP had previously voted Conservative. 70% either had


not voted at all or had voted for other parties. We got 47% of the


vote in Rotherham, one of Labour's safest seats, 32% in Hartlepool. We


are taking votes from Labour in massive numbers. Every poll says


your support comes more from conservatives than from Labour. The


main effect of a good UKIP performance in a general election


would be to deny the Conservatives power, which is maybe what you want.


It might be your final reflections. You are in denial. A strong UKIP


vote. The British people having a referendum on Europe that you say


you want. I am interested in results where the Tory leader is


campaigning... We have been trying to avoid intruding into private


grief as you are a Liberal Democrat. You were enjoying it. It is all over


for Nick Clegg, isn't it? I do not think it is at all and it should not


be. The European elections are one thing, but people vote completely


differently in a general election. Certainly it has been a horrible


shock for the Liberal Democrat Party and it is a really bad set of


results and also, unfortunately, it is cumulative pain because every


year since entering the coalition and the Lib Dems have taken a


beating. You completely miscalculated this. The results were


what was expected. What did the Lib miscalculated this. The results were


Dems do for you? They enabled us to have a debate on Europe. It was a


miscalculation. It was not. Sometimes you actually have to do


what you believe in. We are watching across Europe and extraordinary


thing this weekend, which is the anti-European parties sweeping the


board. The idea that a smaller British party... It did not happen


in Germany. The idea that a smaller British party could have avoided the


tide... Nick Clegg is not part of your problem. There is a sense it


was not a town all night for an Nick Clegg. But neither of the other two


main parties have a platform for victory. Nobody here has got a


platform for victory. If there is one party that you would bet on


being part of the game after the next general election result it is


probably the Liberal Democrats. And the way the Liberal Democrats


traditionally fight elections in a very targeted way where they are


very popular locally gives them still a very good chance of keeping


around 40 seats, which would be a very respectable result. The reason


you guys did so well appears to be because of immigration, a focus that


you had on people's concerned about it. How will that play out until the


general election? You will find a bidding war as politicians try and


stay still some sort of message. It is very difficult when you have this


thing, the voters have said something, but what have they said?


You will get policy suggestions. Reducing the time people can have


benefits, for example, but nobody knows the answer. It is not just


simply about immigration, there is more to it. David Cameron said he


had to practice to get immigration down. He said that in 2010. He has


to do more on immigration. What the Conservative party has to do is it


has to be the party of Government. What this election shows is people


do not seek Ed Miliband as a Prime Minister in waiting. They do not see


Nigel Farage as a Prime Minister in waiting. This is a protest vote. At


the general election people will choose a Government and that is


David Cameron's strongest card. He looks like a Prime Minister and he


should not pursue populism. He should be the father of the nation,


the guy who takes the tough decisions. It may not go down enough


to help the Conservatives win, but that is his best strategy. The


Liberal Democrats have to carry on with the coalition and carry on


confident that a general election will deliver a completely different


set of results in these elections. The problem I think is whether there


is so much panic on the backbenches, on the Liberal Democrat


and the Tory side, that it starts to destabilise the coalition. I think


they will not panic. Nick Clegg has had the courage of his convictions


and David Cameron has no convictions. He is scrabbling around


for strategies to disguise the impetus of the UK government being


in the EU, they cannot control our borders within the EU. 485 million


people in Europe have the right to come here, there is no way of


stopping them. The government has put forward a number of sticking


plaster solutions to be struck down by the European Court, and we will


show that the British government, the political class of this country


has no answers to the problems affecting people in their daily


lives will stop they are not interested in party games, they are


interested in cost of living, which is being increased. I have to cut


across you because we have no more time. Thank you very much.


The electorate's enthusiasm for UKIP was at least partly based upon its


claim not to be a normal political party. For the complaint now is that


mainstream politics is the province of pygmies. No-one ever accused


Michael Heseltine of that. And the UKIP vote represents a wholesale


rejection of his ideas about both this country and Europe. Tarzan has


retreated to his lair in the country much of the time. And it was there


that I found him earlier. I asked him whether the mainstream parties


should listen to UKIP voters. You should always listen but you


should interpret what they have said. What I see very clearly is


that people have had a terrible time. The consequences have been


very painful and for many people still are, people find a focal point


of their discontent. You think they are a flash in the pan?


Not as Matt agree as you put it because you're sceptical -- because


your scepticism has been there from the beginning. If you say to me, are


they going to be a major force in the next general election? The


answer is, no. They have clearly repudiated a particular and users of


yours. You have to interpret, what they reviewed it in? The European


Union. -- what are they repudiating. I do not believe that. It is the


place to go to protest about certain things that have been happening


which they associate with Europe. But the real problem is the


recession. Whenever you get a recession of the sort, mid-term


results find a protest point, it used to be the Liberal Democrats.


UKIP did not make any running about the recession. They talked about the


question of immigration. But the concern about immigration, which


again is a complex issue, it has been there for a long time, is a


problem of recession. Because the argument was that these foreigners


are taking our jobs. Has immigration been good for this country? Hugely


good, throughout the centuries. We have been the Gateway for wave after


wave of huge talent. One of the big problems we face today is a skills


shortage. Where are you going to get it? It is naive to say they will all


come back to work. The unemployed do not have the skills of a modern


economy. Surely the Conservatives would have done better if they have


brought down immigration to 100,000 people a year. If it could be done,


which they are trying hard to do, and I have no complaints. If I was


in the government, I would try to help. How do they go forward? Keep


your nerve, that is the first thing. George Osborne has played a blinder


in coinciding economic recovery with political context. We are now seeing


the economy recovery Dashwood cover, but as yet not rising living


standards -- the economy recover. You will find rising wages and


rising living standards to coincide with the election. Should David


Cameron bring forward the deadline by which there is a referendum on


future membership of the EU? Certainly not. Getting an agreement


would be hard but to think you can stampede 27 other countries into


agreeing what you want in a matter of months and get the legislation


through is simply wrong and irresponsible. He would be crazy. He


would be crazy to try to rush it because that will just create


alienation on the continent. Secondly, to bow to


alienation on the continent. demanding, which is, tell us exactly


what you are going to demand. So your view is, hold your nerve, don't


worry about this, it your view is, hold your nerve, don't


expression of anxiety and discomfort that people feel as a consequence of


economic circumstances. This is about recession. You don't think


UKIP voters are racist? I think there are racists amongst them, the


National Front has disappeared, so where has it gone? I have heard


enough speeches by UKIP members to make me wince with embarrassment.


But they will try to keep themselves away from the association. Should


there be a pact between the Conservatives and the Liberal


Democrats? Split the Tory party? That would be mad. It would be


constituency by constituency. The principle that the Tory party is


associated with the undercover approach and attitudes of much of


the UKIP party would be quite unacceptable to a huge swathe of the


moderate one nation Conservative party. Would it be acceptable to


you? No. You do not have a vote as a member of the House of Lords! But


you could not rate -- which you could not vote Conservative if there


was a pact? It would be very difficult. I am doing the political


thing because I sit on my bottom and do not vote? I could not vote the


other parties, so do I opt out? It would be very difficult. Much better


to tell you the truth now and to do everything in my power to support


the official Tory position, there will not be a pact. David Cameron


made it quite clear, William Hague, George Osborne, they are absolutely


right. There will not be a pact. Under any circumstances? Under any


circumstances. Thank you very much. Thus far, our coverage of these


elections has confirmed the prevailing prejudice about the


European Parliament. We have been parochial, because, as is evident in


the pathetic turnout, most people in this country think the elections are


irrelevant. But right across Europe, such voters as could be bothered to


vote turned out to endorse men and women who loathe much of what the EU


claims to stand for. They include a Polish politician who thinks the


Parliament so corrupt, it ought to be turned into a brothel. Chris Cook


is in Paris, where the Far Right are on the march.


The European election results suggest something has been happening


beneath the surface of the continent's politics. New parties


are on the rise in lots of countries and one word is being used to


describe their effect. Earthquake. In France, they have had the most


shocking results of all, the Front National, and extreme anti-immigrant


party, got a quarter of the votes. It won big.


Marine Le Pen's success mirrored strong showings by antiestablishment


showings from the left and right in other countries. In Denmark and the


UK, Greece and Spain. France's Front National has had good days before.


Even so, this was a big shock. The Front National is very different


from UKIP in Great Britain. UKIP is against Europe, against immigration,


like the National Front. But it is libertarian. The Front National, it


is a fascist party. In the classical sense of the term. It is a rejection


of Europe. But it is above all a rejection of French elites. The


Socialist Party of Francois Hollande hopes for an economic recovery to


win back voters. The French people are not racist and xenophobic, I do


not believe that. I believe the people are fed up and they need hope


again and they will have hope if we get the figures right. Which are not


just figures but people, people get the jobs. If unemployment falls,


will people come back from the Front National? It is not clear. One of


the distinguishing thing about voters of Audi macro is they care a


lot about immigration -- Front National. They do not care much


about unemployment. Maybe national elections will bring back the


antiestablishment voters to the old Potters -- parties, or perhaps the


answer is in Italy where a new mainstream Socialist Party Prime


Minister successfully fought back against the outsiders. It is a


message of change. He is very young, 39 years old. I could tell


you standards, exceptionally young. -- I Italian standards. People want


to give him trust. His predecessor has been in Parliament for over a


year and he must be perceived as somebody who has protested a lot of


and done very little. What effect will these new outsiders have? They


are so varied they will struggle to unite in the European Parliament,


who is going to side with Germany's National Democratic party?


Considered to be neo-Nazis. And these new outsiders might drive the


old parties further together. If there was not a Brussels


establishment before, there might be one now.


Joining me from Paris is Noelle Lenoir, France's former Europe


Minister and now President of the think tank Cercle des Europeens. And


down the line from Brussels is Daniel Hannan, a Conservative MEP.


Daniel Hannan, what do you think is happening in Europe? For a long


time, the Euro establishments described anyone who had any


democratic or constitutional or economic objections to the Brussels


racket as anti-European, xenophobic antinationalist. And in a horrible


way, that prophecy has become self-fulfilling, they have stoked


the phenomenon were complaining about. Years ago, you will remember


doing this programme in the 1990s, he pleb would come on and say, these


countries together, forcing them to use the same currency and have


policies they can't vote for will create a backlash -- people would


come on and say. Would you accept that, Noelle Lenoir? Daniel Hannan


is a very brilliant MEP but he does not know French politics. In France,


according to the polls, 73% are in favour of the euro. Most of them,


66%, they are pro-European. According to the results of these


shameful elections. The Front National is not comparator will to


UKIP. In many respects. -- is not comparator will. The issues are


different in different countries. In France, the Front National gathered


mainly the votes of the workers and the low level because they are


afraid, and the unemployed. More than one out of four young are


unemployed. That is really a protest vote. Some of these votes are


racist, Zenith phobic -- xenophobic and anti-Semitic, we have a


tradition in this respect unfortunately. But the electorate


does not change so much. And with regard to the Euro, there is a


rise... The French, most of them wish the Eurozone, the group of the


eight team countries -- 18 countries sharing the Euro, we need an


integrated Europe. Daniel Hannan, what do you make of that quite stark


difference? I completely agree. Marine Le Pen has positioned herself


even to the left of Francois Hollande on a lot of economic


issues, whereas her Father tended to be against welfare scroungers and so


on, she has been in favour of an increase in spending, more


nationalisation, more protectionism. In many ways, it is wrong to call


the Front National far right, they have little in common with the


mainstream right on a number of issues. They are very socialist.


What I think is that France is in a state of anxiety and frustration


with a political class that, whoever is in power, has delivered high


structural unemployment, immobiliser, the French state... You


cannot carry on like that. -- immobilisation. The money has run


out. It is not just France. We have seen angry reactions in a number of


the afflicted Eurozone countries. Is there any common thread? In France,


he, Denmark, in Greece, a number of places where support is going to


parties that are not part of the traditional European project --


here. Look at the Netherlands. These parties are different but the thing


they have in common is they are against the single currency, and who


coming new to the argument would not eat? The only reason the old


establishment parties are still in favourite is their fingerprints are


on the murder weapon. -- would not be. You are shaking your head,


Noelle Lenoir. The French are very much aware that if we are able to


borrow on the international market at a very low rate, under 2%, it is


because of the Euro. Second, I think that the results in the member


states are different because we have still, in spite of the European


Union, our national identity. Look at what happened in the Netherlands


went them -- when the most Federalist party obtained a splendid


result. And in France, you have a contradiction. We have a young Prime


Minister, Manuel Valls, who wants to diminish public expenditure by 50


billion euros. He has high popularity ratings as the French are


very dissatisfied with the government and they wish to change


because they know we are declining if we do not. There are


contradictions. If you were advising the Council of ministers tomorrow,


what would you say was the one lesson they should take away from


these results? Return more power to national Democratic institutions.


This centralisation of power has resulted not only in aid Democratic


backlash but in a xenophobic backlash. People are not just


blaming Brussels but other countries. Noelle Lenoir? Have


conviction or go out. Be strong, have a clear message and held an


integrated Eurozone. Thank you. That's it. The sweetie jar is empty.


Back tomorrow. Goodnight.


Jeremy Paxman is joined by a panel of guests to discuss the results of the European elections, UKIP's next steps and far-right success across Europe. Plus, Lord Heseltine on the threat to the Conservatives.

Download Subtitles