Hi, Iliana Oscar. I’m with the Washington Ireland Program. Sorry, it’s a bit of a selfish question, but you advocate that the UK should leave the EU. Northern Ireland currently and tax reasons are about 11 billion a year, yet they take about 23 billion from the UK purse. They’ve also had an awful lot of money recently from the European Peace Fund. I was wondering if you’ve considered the implications for Northern Ireland leaving the EU.
Oh money, isn’t it great? Wonderful, isn’t it? I tell you what. You give me 20 quid, and I’ll give you 10 quid back. You then tell the room how much better off you are, because that’s effectively what’s happening.
We as a nation, put £55 million a day into the European Union. Coincidentally, haven’t had their account signed off, but the order is for 18 years in a row, but nevermind. And we get about half of that money back. Most of that money comes back to pay people to own land. And indeed, as Roger will tell you, to put those wonderful wind turbines on them. They’re terrific wind turbines, they really work well. Roger will explain it all later, I’m sure. So we get about half of our money back.
We’re a massive net contributor to this union in terms of pure cash, but if you actually look up a cost to small business, of an excessive rule book … Whether it’s environmental or health and safety, or employment legislation … When you actually quantify what the costs are, they are massive.
What the EU are very good at doing, they’re good at trying to buy people off with their own money. I’ve often said that Stalin used to kill his opponents, and what the European Union do, is to bribe their opponents. And so we get people like Neil Kinnock, who was the last Prime Ministerial contender to advocate in the ’80s we should not be part of this political project. And they make him European Commissioner for ten years, and give him a great big salary.
As far as Northern Ireland’s concerned, they tried their very best in Brussels to show how wonderful they are by supporting various peace initiatives. Despite all of that, actually Northern Ireland is probably the most Euro skeptic place in the world. Because not only are there the unionists, the DUP in particular, very, very strongly against European Union, but actually, unlike the Scottish nationalists, Sinn Féin do have some … I’m not being nice about Sinn Féin, by the way … But Sinn Féin do have som sincerity in that they believe that the Ireland of Ireland should be independent. So I’m pretty confident come the referendum, that Northern Ireland will be strongly in the no camp. Our problem in winning this referendum, is going to be London and Greater London, and the number of people that work for the big banks that we’ve discussed in this room today. Those that are doing very nicely out of the status quo, will be our problem.
Right here in the middle.
How are we doing on time?
We’re good. Now, this needs to be … We’ve got a few more questions.
I’ll wrap it through.
But in order to keep our time, we’ve got just a few minutes left. So let’s try to make these questions tight, and get two more, then we’ll call the time.
Yes, I’m Russell King. Bobby Jindal recently made a public statement about the so-called no-go zones in British cities and European cities. The British Prime Minister and Mayor of London disagreed with them.
To the best of my understanding, it’s in Muslim areas maybe, where they might have Sharia law. You don’t have the entire national law there. There are hate speech laws I believe, in Britain and Sweden that sort of means you cannot make even an innocuous statement about some immigrant groups. Can you discuss the hate speech laws and the no-go zones, whether or not they exist or not?
Yeah, it’s very easy. I just send you about 20 front pages from The Times newspaper over the last two years, condemning me for some sort of form of appalling bigotry. I mean, you’re right. We can’t tell the truth anymore. With the Romanian migration that we’ve seen into Britain, a lot of it organized and run by organized criminal gangs. So we now have a situation where over 90% of ATM crime in London, is committed by Romanian gangs. And yet if I say that, I’m accused of being racist. It really is quite difficult.
Does Britain have no-go zones? I suspect that France has a much bigger problem with this than Britain. I think there were quite large parts of the urban areas in big French cities, that are really seriously problematic. I don’t think Britain has no-go zones as such. But have we pursued a policy of turning a blind eye, because it’s easier to do so? Well let me just give you one very quick, I promise, example.
In a medium sized northern town called Rotherham, population about probably 350,000 people. We have just uncovered in the last few months, the grooming and sexual abuse of 1,400 girls. 1,400 girls in a town of that size, have been serially sexually abused and raped. And over 95% of the perpetrators have come from one specific religious and ethnic group. And yet, because they were seen to be Pakistani Muslim men, clearly what has happened, is the police and the local authorities thought it better to allow this kind of thing to continue rather than to confront it and to be thought to be racist. It really goes back if you like, to what I was trying to say earlier. We have to start having more self confidence in who we are and what our values are, and asserting them.
Right here in the front row, and then the young man in the green shirt will be your last question.
Hi, Mr. Farage. Thanks very much for coming. I’m Michael Shaw. I’m from Northern Ireland.
I guessed that.
There’s a lot of it about, isn’t there?
I can’t wait to join a compendium to leave the European Union.
Yay, give a round of applause.
I was absolutely disgusted to see the establishment rounding you and collude to ensure that you didn’t get into Parliament. Is it possible that we’re just going to see more collusion between the established parties and their corporate buddies to ensure there’s not a fair fight in the referendum?
This is, this is the biggest political decision that we faced for many, many decades. This is it. This is the big one. And I talked earlier about people who work for the big guy. You are going to see the most massive coming together of the vested interests whose lives work as part of this corporatist project.
Whether they’re big landowners who now can bring in labor from Lithuania at a very, very low cost, whether it’s the big banks who benefited from it … We are going to see a coming together. Probably the levels of nastiness and unpleasantness that I’ve come up against so far, will be seen as nothing yet compared to what’s going to come over the next 12 or 18 months, depending exactly when the date is.
So, we’ve got the modern day battle of Britain on our hands, and it will be nice … I know you’re from Northern Ireland, and I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail I hope. But it will be nice if as a result of this visit of a group of us from the European Parliament … It would be nice if we started to hear one or two American voices actually speaking up and saying that an independent Britain would be good for America in the world to counteract Obama and the State Department. That might just help us win this referendum.
Okay. Young man in the green shirt, he’ll be our final question.
And then you can make any wrap up comments.
Hello, Mr. Farage. My name is Alex, and I have to questions that are semi related. Being the leader of an insurgent political force that more relates to the right wing, how do you view the current state of the modern Republican Party, and the divide between the more establishment/anti-establishment groups?
And also, I had the pleasure of seeing you speak at CPAC this year. Do you know if you’ll be invited next year, or if you’ll be doing any more speaking events in the states?
Generally in life I find, that when I’ve been invited somewhere once, I never get invited back. So I say, we’ll just have to see on that one.
The reason, the reason that UKIP in the end, won the European elections and managed to hold up very respectably in the general election despite this big surge and this big fear of that ghastly woman from north of Hadrian’s Wall, whose party is both Nationalist and Socialist … I couldn’t resist it. The reason is … Look, I was before getting involved in politics, I was a member of the Conservative Party. Why was I a member of the Conservative Party? I thought Mrs. Thatcher was a very necessary thing when she came and brought in the reforms that modernized Britain, painful though some of them were. You know? So I would have considered myself traditionally, to be on the center right of British politics.
What I’ve learnt through UKIP, is there are some issues that are so fundamentally important, that the old labels of left and right become completely irrelevant. And by talking about sensible immigration controls, and the shape of our communities, and the wage levels of those in skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled jobs … What we’ve done is to reach out across the political spectrum, and in fact in many ways, to bridge the class divide that exists in British politics. I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve done that.
I can’t really, and I shouldn’t really comment much on the Republican Party, but my observation would be that the Republican Party doesn’t seem to pick on those issues these days, but cross that bridge in that same way. Ronnie Reagan, when he was … He was a pretty remarkable fellow, it seemed to me. What Ronnie Reagan did, was to go for big issues that reached across the left/right divide, and you had the phenomenon of the Reagan Democrats. No Conservative Party in the western world can ever win a majority if they haven’t got significant blue collar support, and that is what I think the Republican Party needs to do, and I think it failed to do that at the last election in quite a big way.
We’ve run overtime.
Hi, Mr. Farage. My name is Jamie Kirchick. I’m a fellow with the Foreign Policy Initiative, here in Washington. I have two somewhat related questions.
You mentioned two crises, but one that seems to missing is Ukraine. It seems to be a pretty big crisis, probably maybe even I would in my opinion, more importantly mentioned. I’m curious to what your view on that is. British policy should be EU policy and whatnot.
Somewhat related, I agree with you on the importance of the special relationship with Great Britain. And one of the reasons I’m worried about Brexit, is without Britain and the EU, we will lose a voice for free markets, free trade, Atlanticism, stronger defence. The EU’s not going away, and I think it’s better that we have Britain in it. This is from an American perspective, and perhaps that’s selfish, but I think it’s better that we have Britain in it, than without. So how would you allay those concerns? Thank you.
Okay. Point number one. I think what happened in the Ukraine was absolutely appalling. Moronic, actually. What happened was a democratically elected leader of the Ukraine was brought down by a street staged coup d’état, by people waving European Union flags.
I think the foreign policy that we pursued though NATO, which does need serious reform as an organization as well, but the model’s okay. The foreign policy that we pursued, is we’ve said we want the Ukraine to join NATO. Politically, the message that the European Union’s been pushing, and indeed the biggest cheerleader of all for this, has been David Cameron, is we want the Ukraine to join our political union.
Well, all of those frankly, are very provocative acts on Russia and Putin. Whatever we think of them … And I think the Ukraine crisis is something that we have provoked. All right? Now when I make that argument, it doesn’t mean that Putin’s my best mate or that I want him to be, and I can see why people living in the Baltic states are genuinely concerned about Putin. But can I say this? This will probably shock you. But, we’re all told that Putin’s a baddie, and that Assad’s a baddie. All right? These are the really bad guys in the world.
Let me put this point to you, that actually, when it comes to the biggest threat that we face, which is violent extreme Islamism, on that great battle, which may well over the next couple of decades, be the next big terror that we actually have to confront on those issues, both of those men are on our side. So I do think when it comes to some of this big foreign policy stuff, we need to start thinking. Not about what’s good, or the right thing to do for the next six months, but where we should be positioning ourselves for the next decade and more.
Second point. Britain inside the European Union has lots of influence, and therefore that’s good for America, because we will convince the EU to be free trade, Atlanticists. I’m sorry, we’ve been there now for 35 years, and we haven’t succeeded. One of the most recent statistics over the course of the last five years, on 65 occasions of which the British government at the final meeting of the counsel … When the final rubber stamp is going on legislation … For the last 65 occasions where the British representative said, “Excuse me, we’re not very happy with this. Can we have a rethink?” I think we’ve got 90% record now, of losing. So when we’ve really raised an issue, we’ve lost 90% of the time. We are not going. Britain has about an eight percent share of the vote and the say within the EU.
The concept of national vetoes is one that’s been watered down and virtually eradicated. If anybody in Washington thinks that somehow Britain is going to have a reforming influence on the European Union, just look at the way they’ve talked to and treated Greece over the course of the last few days, and you’ll realize these people are obsessed with their project in exactly the same way that the Soviets were obsessed with their Communist project. The Soviets used to convince themselves that the reason Communism wasn’t working, is there wasn’t enough of it, and if you have more Communism, it might succeed. And that’s exactly the same with the European Union.
Okay, can we bring a mic down here to the front row?
He asked two questions, that was cheating.
Pardon me. Hi, Carl Golovan. I’ve heard it said that you believe gold is actually money, and not credit borrowed into existence at usury, which is the foundation of most central banking.
I just wanted to comment that America was founded as a constitutional republic, based in part on the writings of Roger Sherman, who put in our Constitution … No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin, a tender in payment of debt. He wrote in caveat against injustice in 1752, subtitled on the evils of a fluctuating medium of exchange … How if there are multiple systems of paper money, that they can be differentially inflated in order to steal wealth, one from the other. It seems to really be what’s happening between Germany and Greece. All of that pointing towards what the Bretton Woods agreements were supposed to be, where gold was the anchor of honesty in international trade.
What do you think about Iceland as a geopolitical focal point for a new Bretton Woods, where each nation could bring some gold and hold each other accountable to not over inflating our currencies and dumping them into each other’s economies?
I get the point about the way governments are able to inflate currencies. And I certainly get the point about the way that governments, even my government back in Britain, through quantitative easing and all sorts of extraordinary tricks, have behaved over the last few years.
The simplistic argument that we should return to the gold standard, is not one I buy. The trouble with going to the gold standard, is a fixed system of currency pegs based on gold. If you think about it, is actually rather like a slightly bigger version, an even more rigid version, of being in the Euro. It doesn’t give countries that are having good times or bad times, the ability for their currency to fluctuate. I’m not sold on the idea of returning to the gold standard, though I am sold on the idea that as electorates, we’re going to have to start making our governments rather more accountable for the sheer level of debt they’re piling up. But it’s one of the very difficult things to discuss.
One of the narratives that we got from Cameron and from Osborne the Chancellor in the general election, is vote Conservative, because we have been prudent. We’ve been the prudent government. And actually, in the space of five years, they’ve doubled our national debt. They increased our debt level in five years, more than the Labour Party managed to do in 13 years. It’s quite some achievement really, when you think about it, isn’t it? So yes, I do want governments to be more responsible, but I don’t buy a return to the gold standard.
Okay, let’s go back over here. I see lots of hands. The gentleman in the back row, and then we’ll do you next.
Hi Nigel. As a British Conservative, what makes it tough to support what you’re saying, or to believe in what you are trying to do?
You’re very vague about if Britain leaves the European Union, what it’s going to do next. So trade agreements and being more friendly with the United States, basically isn’t enough. Britain is an intellectually much bigger country than that, and needs to form alliances around the world on trade, military, government affairs. What are the principles that we should use to do that?
Is it Parliamentary democracy? Is it just English speaking? Is it military? We need to really investigate a lot more before making this jump. Can you say what to do next?
Okay, well William Dartmouth is going to speak very specifically on trade, and how potentially our trade situation is better not being tied in with this old-fashioned concept of a Customs Union.
What was interesting, was to hear you say about what a big country we are. Which is very interesting, because the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg … Even the Prime Minister are on record as saying they don’t think Britain is big enough and good enough, and strong enough to negotiate our own trade deals on the world stage.
When I mentioned Iceland earlier, if a country’s a third of a million, can negotiate a trade deal with China, I’m damn certain we can. I look at Switzerland, who’ve got more genuine FTAs around the world, than we’ve got as EU members.
You’re right about one thing. One thing that the No Campaign has to do in the run up to this referendum, is to come up with some quite definitive answers on these things. My current position is quite simple. If the Swiss can get a deal that suits them, and the Norwegians can get a deal that suits them, and if Mexico can have exactly the same terms of trade with Europe that we’ve got at the moment but without being members and without paying one percent of our GDP as a membership fee, I’m sure that we as now the Euro Zone’s biggest export market in the world, can get our own bespoke deal with the EU.
Do you know something? If you do business with countries that speak the same language as you, and if you do business with countries that have Common Law and countries that have recognizable contract law, you actually find there are huge trade advantages to wiping away tariffs and barriers with those countries. And I would see the first area for the UK to prosper with new FDAs, would indeed yes, be with the English speaking parts of the world. It’s a no brainer. That’s a very good, quick easy place to start.
Okay. Yes, right here, and then we’ll come back over to this side.
Mr. Farage, my name is Bob Patterson. I write for the Philadelphia Inquirer, just three hours north of here. Could you share your perspective? I know you don’t live in America, but do you sense that America faces the exact same threats to sovereignty, independence, autonomy, as Britain?
I guess what I’m particularly asking you … This recent Obama trade deal that went through was all pushed by Goldman Sachs, all the big banks. All the same people that are pushing the European Zone, and these deals aren’t really about free trade, they’re more about maybe integration on an economic level. So could you care to share your perspective … If the United States faces the same kind of dangers that England faces?
Then my last question, real quick. Would you be considered the Donald Trump of England?
I’m pretty sure that if the EU was to try to expand itself across the Atlantic, Obama would be the first to sign America up to it. Obama loves this concept of big supernational organizations, whether it’s international courts, whether it’s the EU, whether it’s the United Nations.
We’ve got this breed of people, and they all work hand in glove, and you’re quite right. It’s the unholy trinity, isn’t it? Between big government, big banks, and big corporate businesses. What is happening with these new so-called trade deals and everything else … What is happening, is we’re seeing a victory of corporatism over capitalism. And it is the job for those with genuine conservative voices, to start making the arguments for capitalism, for popular free market capitalism. Which is actually being crushed by big business and big government corporatism, who are setting up a framework and a rule book that makes the costs of market entry to any potential competitors too damned difficult, and hands the world over to a few big companies. So yes, there are great similarities.
I also feel very strongly, that immigration is increasingly becoming a big argument in America. And much as we were told, what terrible people we were to even dare to raise the issue. We’ve now made it a mainstream debate. And I suspect in America, this immigration debate about who is coming, in what numbers, and what quantity they are, that will also become a big debate.
I just have to say, slightly selfishly, back to you from my side of the pond … It would be nice if America had a President who actually liked my country, because the current one doesn’t appear to. Now in terms of Donald Trump, I will avoid all comparisons with Donald Trump. But I like to think of myself as the updated Henry VIII. That’s about where I fit in.
Okay, let’s come right here to the second row.
Hello, Mr. Farage. My name is Jordan Harms. I’m a student at Georgetown University. Props to the man who suggested you’re Donald Trump, because if I was British, I definitely would vote for you.
My question is two pronged, and they’re both similar in theme. One primary concern, you touched on it briefly about the Islamic State. We call it ISIS or ISIL, whichever suits us. One primary concern that I think the European Union faces, is the problem of foreign fighters.
I’m sure you know, especially about these British citizens who regularly travel to join ISIS. Not necessarily because they have any love for Sharia law, but simply because they’re disgusted by what they see in their own country and in their own societies. Especially now, with the recent deal of Iran and in the nuclear scheme of things.
What is the best strategy that the European Union or at least in terms of Britain, can do to assuage this problem of ISIS that is a problem of foreign fighters?
Okay. All right. On the Donald Trump point, seriously. I do think some of the things he’s picked up on in the last few weeks are very similar to the kind of themes that we picked up on in British politics. The feeling that there is a centralized bureaucracy in Washington, maybe not connecting with some of the concerns of ordinary people.
Look, we’ve been very, very good over the last decade and more, about worrying what’s happening in the Middle East and North Africa, and Afghanistan. We’ve been very busy intervening in all these places, and we’ve been almost negligent in the growth of Jihadiism within our own communities.
What I said last year to the usual hells of outrage … What I said last year, that we now have a fifth column living inside our own countries. They carry our passports, they speak our language, and they hate us. They want to kill us. They want to overthrow our culture, our Constitution, our whole way of life.
My own view is we should worry a bit more about what’s happening within our countries, than what is happening across the rest of the world. And I think that is going to be the politics of the future. I think we’ve intervened too much militarily around the world, without always thinking about what this may mean for the longer term. We must focus on our own countries. Part of that it seems to me, needs to be we have got to be more assertive in saying who we are as a nation. What our values are. What those that built your great country and built mine, what they represented.
In the case of my country, we actually have a Christian Constitution. We have a Church of England. It is the established State Church. Yet our leaders in recent years, whether they’re political or even some of our bishops, appear to be almost ashamed to stand up and defend our culture and who we are. So we need to be more muscular about this.
The man that I admire hugely from the Conservative Movement over the course of the last 30, 40 years, is the Australian, John Howard. John Howard, he won four elections. And Howard who said … His big message to immigrants coming to Australia is if you’ve got a trade or skill to bring, and you can make this about a country, you’re welcome. And we couldn’t care less whether you’re black or white, or yellow, or whatever you are, we couldn’t care less what your religion is. We’re not interested. But if you come here, you speak our language, you integrate with our society, you become part of our Australian dream … If you don’t want to do those things, don’t bother coming in the first place. And isn’t that what we need to do, to be a bit more assertive?
Just quickly, on the issue of foreign fighters. David Cameron’s big push now, is that when they find out that someone wants to leave the country and go and fight in Syria, for ISIS or ISIL or whatever we call it, that we now stop them leaving the country. I’d pay their ticket. And then take away their passport, and make sure they never ever come back.
Okay, the back corner there, and then down here to the front row.
Hi, Stephan Grover with Euro News. What is your view on the Iran deal? You haven’t really touched upon this.
I think that he’s probably going too far, too fast. Is the idea that you talk to people a good idea? Of course it is, whoever they are. You should always be talking to people.
Is the removal of sanctions a good thing? Well, if it will fill your car up with gas over the next five years, it might be quite a good thing. Have we gone too far in terms of the nuclear provisions? Well actually, unless I’m mistaken and unless something fundamental has changed, don’t they still want to blow Israel off the face of the Earth? That’s at least what I think.
So unless there’s been some massive shift in the Iranian stance on the existence of Israel as a State … Unless that’s happened that I haven’t noticed, then I think Obama has gone too far.
Okay, right here.