“One thing is certain. The separatist party UKIP, which gained a large percentage of votes in the latest local elections, does not claim to be a Christian formation. And that’s a relief. I’d be worried if the opposite were true”. The latest success of Nigel Farage’s Party, created to bring Europe outside the European Union, worries Clifford Longley, Catholic, renowned BBC commentator and contributor of the weekly Tablet, who explained his reasons to Silvia Guzzetti for SIR Europe. Confusion in Westminster. “It’s a very chaotic moment in the United Kingdom”, Longley said. “Voters are turning their backs to the parties they used to vote for, while 10% ache for a bygone past without immigrants. These people are pessimistic, racist, they oppose everything that is modern and vote for Ukip instead of voting for the Conservative Party. Unfortunately these votes are hard to recover, as it would require the use of psychological – not political – approaches”. The Pope in Strasbourg. “I don’t think that after the general elections of next May Ukip will come to power, even if it should be successful”, Longley went on. “The same is happening in the rest of Europe, where those movements who opposed the European Union have remained at the margins”. The BBC commentator sees the Pope’s visit to Strabourg as “an encouragement to the Christian project of building Europe at a time when the latter is going through a crisis”. “The Church has always supported the EU because from a broad historical angle the latter has been the only guarantor of peace for a Europe that was divided by wars for over one thousand years”, Longley said. “Also the referendum promoted by Cameron for 2017, meant to offer the citizens of the United Kingdom the possibility of deciding whether to continue being a part of Europe, risks triggering more problems than it would solve. In fact, even if the majority of the English population wished to leave, the Scots would certainly want to remain inside the EU”. Implosion risk. “If Great Britain exited the European Union it would risk imploding and being divided between Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as they would all opt for staying with Brussels”. But it won’t happen, according to the British journalist. “The latest polls show that a majority is in favour of the European Union, and in my opinion the figures are bound to increase in case of elections”, Longley added. “It’s possible to be emotionally against the Union, but when it comes to facts, you cannot escape it. It’s the reality we are all living in; we are only 34 km away from France! Great Britain needs Europe. And even those Countries who stayed out are nonetheless fully integrated within it through the economy, and they accept the free movement of workers”. Christians are in favour of the EU. Catholic and Christians in general are the strongest supporters of the European Union since, Longley said, “they are aware that they belong to an ‘international family’. The arrival of Polish workers has revitalized many Catholic parishes in England and in Scotland. It is also proven that the less racist cities are the most multicultural ones where people live in close contact with migrants, like London”. Cameron’s serious crisis. Cameron – according to the BBC columnist – has promised the 2017 referendum because he wants right-wing, euro-sceptics and ‘Thatcherian’ MPs – which represent over 30% – to remain inside the Conservative party. “Conservatives are experiencing a structural crisis and risk dissolution, as they are divided internally and attacked by Ukip”, Longley explained. “The Prime Minister is unable to unite them. Even Cameron’s promise, on the aftermath of the Scottish referendum, of granting greater autonomy to England, is not realistic. Scottish MPs have always dealt with England and the English have always dealt with Scotland. It can’t be otherwise because any part of the United Kingdom is responsible for the rest of the Country. If we say that Scottish MPs are responsible only for Scotland we are admitting the reasons of an independence which we have fought against”. Labour united around Milibrand. Cameron’s troubles are an advantage for Miliband, the Labour leader, who, unlike the Conservative leader, is unpopular in the country, but he is loved inside the party that he managed to keep together. “It is the first time that a party, as is happening at this moment to the Labour that has lost the election, immediately find itself close to winning again”, said Longley, “It usually takes ten years of opposition for this to happen”.
Commentator Longley explained why UKIP won again but will not come to power. Tories crisis. EU-knot