08:18 Wednesday 10th April 2013
Bigger Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
[P]AUL STAINTON: Last time we spoke to our next guest, he bemoaned the lack of English speaking migrants in Peterborough. He also said he thought people get on less well in the city than they did ten years ago. Well today, he’ll visit different parts of Peterborough, as part of his tour of England as we head towards local elections of course on May 2nd. Of course, referring to Nigel Farage, Leader of Ukip. We’ll speak to him in a moment, but first our reporter Johnny D in what’s often described as the Polish quarter of Peterborough. Good morning Johnny. Where are you? (OB)
JOHN DEVINE: Good morning Paul, Good morning everybody. Yes, I’m on Lincoln Road in Millfield, a very very diverse area of the city of Peterborough I must say Paul, because where else in our county could you find shops, one side of the road we’ve got a guy selling halal meat, and there’s also a West Indian cafe. Opposite that we’ve got a Polish off-licence. That’s just a little flavour of the shops round me here Paul. I’ve got with me Cllr Mohammed Jamil here. Now last time Nigel Farage was in town he said there was a lack of English speaking migrants. He said people get on less well than they did ten years ago. What do you say to that Mohammed?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Well I would totally disagree. We are a city. It’s a diverse city. It’s quite rich in the culture that we have. And people generally do tend to get on. As with any other city, there will be issues amongst people. If you go to places within the South of England where there are no migrants, you’ll have issues there. We don’t have any higher proportion than anywhere else in the country.
JOHN DEVINE: Peterborough City Hospital, the NHS Trust have racked up huge debts treating so many extra people. Council housing lists are longer than ever. Schools are bursting at the seams. What benefits are immigrants bringing to Peterborough Mohammed?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: If we look at most of the immigrants, they are actually hard working decent people. Now you’re going to have a small minority of persons who then go out and maybe claim benefits, but it’s a small proportion. The likes of Ukip tend to scaremonger people into saying they’re here for our houses, they’re here for our benefits. But if you look at the majority of people, they’re here, they work. You speak to the local employers who employ them, they can’t speak more highly of them. Therefore they contribute, they pay council tax, they pay the local taxes, they spend their money in the local economy. Therefore what they bring is very positive.
JOHN DEVINE: Just very quickly Mohammed, how has this area changed, where we are, in the last ten years do you think?
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Millfield ten twelve years ago was a run down area. It was almost becoming a ghost town. Now the influx of migrants, they’ve come in, they’ve settled here, they’ve opened their businesses. They are now spending. they are now the employers. They’re now contributing positively to this local economy.
JOHN DEVINE: Councillor Mohammed Jamil, live in Lincoln Road Millfield, thank you very much this morning.
MOHAMMED JAMIL: Thank you very much. (STUDIO)
PAUL STAINTON: Thank you very much to Johnny D. and Cllr Jamil. As I said, Nigel Farage is in the studio, listening to that. Nigel, good morning.
NIGEL FARAGE: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: last time you were here, you had some in depth discussions I believe with at least one 16 year old girl, and from that you concluded there was enmity in part of Peterborough, or animosity, hatred.
NIGEL FARAGE: Well I didn’t quite say hatred.
PAUL STAINTON: Well that’s what enmity means.
NIGEL FARAGE: Tension, growing tension. Growing anger.
PAUL STAINTON: That’s the definition of that word.
NIGEL FARAGE: Growing anger. And it’s not just Peterborough. I’ve been touring the East of England for the last couple of days. I was in Boston last night. I met real anger there. And people saying to me it’s actually breeding very bad feeling. And the big problem is jobs. That really is at the absolute heart of this.
PAUL STAINTON: We’ll get to that in a second, but I’m interested how you get to that from just a discussion with a 16 year old girl in Peterborough. We’ve had no reports of hatred or animosity. We’ve not reported on that at all, yet you found it just on a fleeting trip. It’s amazing.
NIGEL FARAGE: Yes, not just from one person, from dozens of people I spoke to. The case of the 16 year old girl was where she was denied work because she couldn’t speak Polish, which I must say I was very shocked by. I now learn that this is actually quite commonplace, and that British people are now being discriminated against in terms of getting jobs. If you have a managed migration policy, it is not difficult to assimilate people through a community. And for 50, 60 years after the war, that’s what this country did.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you really want any migration though? Does your party really want anybody coming to this country?
NIGEL FARAGE: I want us to model ourselves on Australia, who say if you’ve got a skill, we want it. If you’ve got a criminal record we don’t want you. If you’ve got a life-threatening disease, we don’t want you. And we don’t care what your colour is. We don’t care what your religion is. We will invite you to come to Australia and become part of our Australian dream. And that’s exactly what Ukip want.
PAUL STAINTON: So if you’ve got a disease, you’re not welcome.
NIGEL FARAGE: I’m sorry. If you’re coming in here with a life-threatening disease or a form of TB that’s untreatable, why on earth should the British taxpayer pick up the bill for that? We should be putting our own people first.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you just coming in stirring up trouble? Is that what you’re doing? Many people call you the Messiah. Many people say, oh they’re going to solve all our ills. But instead of the Messiah, are you just not a very naughty boy?
NIGEL FARAGE: Hah. Well what I want to do is to warn people that from 1st January next year we’re about to open our doors to 29 million people from even poorer countries, countries that are effectively failed states. They’re in the grip of organised crime. Poverty in Bulgaria is so bad that half the population cannot heat their homes. We’re saying to them from next January, come here to work, but also, if you want, come here to claim benefits.
PAUL STAINTON: Are you saying 29 million people live in Bulgaria and Romania.
NIGEL FARAGE: Yes.
PAUL STAINTON: Ok. And they’re all going to come here, are they?
NIGEL FARAGE: I didn’t say that. I said we’re opening the doors to 29 million people. And we have no limit. Whether 50,000 come, 500,000 come, a million come. We have no limit. And that’s the problem with this. And so what I’m saying is use your vote, or whatever opportunity you can, to tell the British Government to say No. enough is enough. We’re quite happy to take skilled labour from Bulgaria and Romania, but nothing else.
PAUL STAINTON: Would you send people back?
NIGEL FARAGE: No
PAUL STAINTON: You’re saying we’ve got a big migration problem on our hands.
NIGEL FARAGE: We have.
PAUL STAINTON: A lot of people are already here. A lot of people are already fitting in very nicely thank you very much. You claim they’re not. Are there people that need to go back then, people who’ve got diseases ..?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well, for example, there have been in the Metropolitan Police area alone, 27,000 arrests of Romanians over the course of the last few years. There is a big question, should people who come here and commit crime be allowed to stay. And I think there’s a a very strtong argument that says no. But people who come here legally, under EU rules, we can’t retrospectively say you’re not welcome here. That would be wrong.
PAUL STAINTON: If you’re not stirring things up, why are you coming to Peterborough? There are no council elections here.
NIGEL FARAGE: No, but there are in Cambridgeshire, and there are in Huntingdonshire, most of East Anglia there are ..
PAUL STAINTON: Why Peterborough though?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well because it’s on the main road and I’m staying here. (LAUGHS) It’s as simple as that.
PAUL STAINTON: Ok. You’ve talked about doing deals with various parties. You’ve talked about who you wouldn’t do deals with. Would you do a deal with the Tories?
NIGEL FARAGE: My priority is not to do a deal. My priority is to build the Ukip brand. We’ve grown in the polls in the course of the last 18 months. We nearly won the Eastleigh by-election just a few weeks ago. We are fighting more councils seats than we’ve ever fought, up and down the length and breadth of this country. We’re getting ready for European elections next year. I’m not trying to pull the party backwards. I’m not trying to do deals with anybody. I want our agenda to succeed.
PAUL STAINTON: Can the public trust a man who draws an MEP salary but doesn’t bother going to meetings? Can they trust that man to fix the country’s ills, if we’re not just talking about migration? Can you be trusted to fix the economy, create new jobs, get rid of the deficit?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well one thing’s for certain, we can’t trust the lot we’ve got at the moment. (LAUGHS) Because every single forecast they made two and a half years ago they’ve missed by a country mile. I am a member of the European Parliament. That’s true. I spend more of my time campaigning in the United Kingdom than attending dull Commission meetings.
PAUL STAINTON: You still take the coin, don’t you?
NIGEL FARAGE: Just as Alex Salmond has done for 25 years in Westminster. Just as the Irish Nationalists did years and years ago.
PAUL STAINTON: Does that make it right?
NIGEL FARAGE: Just as the Spanish separatists do in Madrid. There is a long history of people attending parliaments they’d rather not be part of.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. Does it make it right?
NIGEL FARAGE: Absolutely right. Because if I wasn’t there, somebody else would be there who would want to take Britain deeper into the European Union.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes.Margaret Thatcher of course, famously was a battler against and inside the EU, but she never wanted us to come out.
NIGEL FARAGE: She did in fact. In her last book it’s absolutely explicit. And anybody that met the Baroness in the last five years says she was totally clear, Britain must get back its independence.
PAUL STAINTON: So you’re following Margaret Thatcher’s legacy. Is that what you’re saying?
NIGEL FARAGE: (LAUGHS) Well, let other people make their minds up on that. I was a Margaret Thatcher supporter. I thought whilst the medicine was very unpleasant, she did the necessary things to modernise this country.
PAUL STAINTON: You can’t possibly do a deal with Ed Miliband then can you, or the Liberal Democrats?
NIGEL FARAGE: It doesn’t look very likely, does it?
PAUL STAINTON: If you’re a flag waver for Margaret Thatcher.
NIGEL FARAGE: I would have thought doing a deal with Ed Miliband would appear to be an extremely difficult thing to do.
PAUL STAINTON: What would he have to do to convince you? Because the Tories are never going to do a deal with you, are they?
NIGEL FARAGE: Not with this current regime. They can’t stand us. They keep throwing abuse at us.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re waiting for Boris, are you?
NIGEL FARAGE: (LAUGHS) Well I don’t know what’s going to happen. All I do know is the stronger Ukip get, the weaker David Cameron’s position is.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. What’s top of your in-pile. Say you’re Prime Minister in a couple of years time. What would be top of your in-pile? Would it be pulling up the flood gates and stopping people coming in here, or would it be dealing with the deficit, and if not that, what?
NIGEL FARAGE: The first priority would be to get back control of our country. 75% of our laws are now made somewhere else. We can’t control our borders. We don’t regulate our small businesses. We don’t control our fishing or farming. All of it is decided somewhere else. My priority is to get proper democracy back to this country.
NIGEL FARAGE: Where are you going today? Where can we see you today?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well I’m going to be in Northamptonshire, and then I’m going to be on the Fens. I’m going to be in Ramsey where Ukip have a very strong presence. I’m then going further across, and I’m going to be in Holt in North Norfolk. We’re covering some miles.
PAUL STAINTON: What sort of reaction have you got so far?
NIGEL FARAGE: I can honestly hand on heart tell you that I started off near Penzance about ten days ago, and we worked our way up to Hadrian’s Wall. We’re now coming back down the Eastern side. And everywhere we go the response has been terrific. And the fascination of Ukip, this is the first time a UK political party has drawn its support rom across the spectrum, across all of the different classes. We pull as many Labour votes as we pull Tory votes. And it is a completely new political phenomenon.
PAUL STAINTON: Not that many though. 10%.
NIGEL FARAGE: What, Labour votes?
PAUL STAINTON: In a recent survey you’re at 10% aren’t you?
NIGEL FARAGE: Of what? Nationally?
PAUL STAINTON: Yes.
NIGEL FARAGE: 17% in the Observer last Sunday. Double the Lib Dems. YouGov put us on 10%. Do you know why? They don’t include Ukip in the list of runners and riders. They say, how would you like to vote, LibDem, Labour, Tory or Other. They don’t even include us in the poll.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re an Other.. You’re a fad.
NIGEL FARAGE: They would like us to be Others.
PAUL STAINTON: You’re a fad, aren’t you?
NIGEL FARAGE: The Establishment would love us to be Others. But the reality is, election after election, at local and national level, we’re doing better and better.
PAUL STAINTON: Yes. What are people telling you as you go round the country? What are they telling you are their worries, their policies? Because you’ve not mentioned the NHS in anything we’ve talked about this morning, which is a big issue for a lot of people, a particularly massive issue in Peterborough.
NIGEL FARAGE: And why are we wasting millions of pounds a year on health tourism? I mentioned health earlier in this interview. What are we doing? We’re letting in people with tuberculosis and severe diseases that are costing us tens of thousands of pounds.
PAUL STAINTON: We’re a welcoming country.
NIGEL FARAGE: We’re a welcoming country, but there comes a point ..
PAUL STAINTON: We look after people.
NIGEL FARAGE: Well if you followed that logic, you’d say to the whole world, anyone that wants to come can come. It doesn’t make sense. There’s a feeling that we don’t dislike anybody, but it’s about time we started putting British people first.
PAUL STAINTON: Nigel Farage, who’s the Leader of Ukip, live on the Bigger Breakfast Show this morning. Thank you for that.
NIGEL FARAGE: Thank you.