UKIP in Peterborough

08:29 Wednesday 25th April 2012
Peterborough Breakfast Show
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

PAUL STAINTON: The polls are suggesting that UKIP could overtake the LibDems as the 3rd biggest party, and the party could grow further as disillusioned Tories perhaps jump ship. But apart from leaving the EU, what else do they stand for, UKIP? Well let’s speak to Peter Reeve, who’s Cambridgeshire’s County Councillor for UKIP. Morning.
PETER REEVE: Good morning.
PAUL STAINTON: You are just a one-issue party, aren’t you?
PETER REEVE: That’s something the media keeps trying to portray. But it’s absolutely wrong. UKIP has very clear policies across the spectrum of all of government. And certainly in local government we have very strong committments, and have something quite unique to say in politics.
PAUL STAINTON: Ok. What would you do about the debt that we’re in at the moment? Would you go along with what the Tories and the LibDems are doing?
PETER REEVE: No. This is one of those clear examples of where UKIP stands away from the crowd. Debt’s a major issue in this country.
PAUL STAINTON: What would you do?
PETER REEVE: What UKIP will do is very clear. We ask the question, why are we spending £50 million every single day being a member of this club, the European Union ..
PAUL STAINTON: That’s Europe again.
PETER REEVE: .. which would be much better spent at home. Well the problem we face is that almost every issue that we talk about, and we do try and keep to the domestic issues as much as we possibly can, but almost every issue boils back to European legislation somewhere beneath it.
PAUL STAINTON: Which is why everybody keeps accusing you of being a one-issue party.
PETER REEVE: Well it is. And the sad thing is that the three old parties refuse to discuss that side of it. Very often governments get blamed for things that have come directly from the European Parliament, or not even the Parliament, very often from the Commission.
PAUL STAINTON: So you’re blaming Europe for everything really, the economy, immigration, the environment, two World Wars. Is there anything Europe’s not responsible for?
PETER REEVE: No, what we’re very clear about is that not only are there problems with being a member of the European Union, and the two big issues with that are a lack of democracy and the amount of money it’s costing this country that we simply can’t afford anymore; but the problem also lies quite firmly here at home, with the UK central government and with local councils. If you look at the level of waste that’s in our system at the moment, it’s staggering. And again if you look at the lack of democratic accountability, both within local government here in Cambridgeshire, and across the country, and also in central government, it’s staggering. Some key issues, talk about any issue pretty much, but wind farms is a clear one.
PAUL STAINTON: Is that why you’ve done so well in Ramsey and places like that? And yet you’ve yet to puncture Peterborough City Council.
PETER REEVE: Ramsey is a very clear example. It’s a kind of pathfinder for where the rest of the Party is heading. In a microcosm, what we’ve done in Ramsey is taken control of the Council. We’ve refused to put up tax, unlike most of the councils here, certainly unlike the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in Cambridgeshire, who whilst households are facing a huge problem in terms of cashflow, and many families are struggling to put food on the table, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats here in Cambridgeshire actually think it’s a good idea to put up tax and take more money away from those families and those households.
PAUL STAINTON: How are you going to make gains in Peterborough though? What are the big issues on the Peterborough streets that you’ve been told about? What are the issues that are going to win you votes in Peterborough? And please don’t say Europe.
PETER REEVE: The big issues in Peterborough and elsewhere are things like immigration, rising council tax, and the deterioration of services in return. What UKIP clearly shows is because of our commitment to democracy and our commitment to empowering individual communities to take responsibility and control of decision-making, actually much better decisions are made. And they are decisions that are much much cheaper than in employing armies of contractors, civil servants and consultants to do jobs that people are very willing to do in their own communities.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you expect to get seats on Peterborough City Council? Do you expect to win seats?
PETER REEVE: We certainly do. Take just one cost out of the many that UKIP will challenge in Peterborough. The Mayor is still driving around in a chauffeur driven Bentley. If the people of Peterborough knew that, and this is something that UKIP firmly opposes, and just one of the basics of what we’re going to get to grips with in Peterborough
PAUL STAINTON: Is that a big issue though? Is it the big issue?
PETER REEVE: It is, because it’s symptomatic of this huge amount of waste that still exists in Peterborough Council. And they’re literally spending money in the wrong way, and punishing the people at the bottom of the chain Those of us out in the communities are the ones getting hit. You don’t see too many councillors suffering on the amount of money they’re given. You don’t see the Mayor of Peterborough suffering whilst riding around in the back of a Bentley. These are just small examples of where this Council’s going wrong.
PAUL STAINTON: Do you expect to have a guiding hand in the Peterborough City Council chamber after 3rd May elections? Just quickly Peter ..
PETER REEVE: Well another big difference between UKIP and the other parties is that we operate a no-whip system in local government. So our councillors are told that they’re not there for UKIP, they’re they’re to represent their local constituents. That’s very different to the huge block vote that the Conservatives and LibDems and other parties force on their councillors, making them follow the party line instead of what’s right for their community.
PAUL STAINTON: Ok. Well we’ve got to leave it there Peter, but we’ll see what happens on 3rd May. Peter Reeve, from UKIP. Convinced? Will you be changing sides? Will you be voting that way?