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Members & staff of UKIP past & present. Committed to reforming the party by exposing the corruption and dishonesty that lies at its heart, in the hope of making it fit for purpose. Only by removing Nigel Farage and his sycophants on the NEC can we save UKIP from electoral oblivion. SEE: http://juniusonukip.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/a-statement-re-junius.html

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Nikki Sinclaire on tolerance and leaving the EFD

There is precious little tolerance in Farage's UKIP!

From New Europe:

As I sit down to write this article, I click on the word ‘tolerance’, and then I right-click in order to find synonyms. I am presented with “Open-mindness, lenience, acceptance, forbearance, charity, patience and easiness”.

Are these ideals that the European Union and its Parliament can claim to support? Normatively, yes, but empirical evidence might tell us a different story altogether. As part of the new intake of MEPs last year I have found the EU lives up to the maxim “Do as I say, not as I do.”

For example, I find the intolerance of some of the Socialist and Green MEPs astounding. They seem to expect that everyone working in the EU has to agree with their particular political and moral standpoint or vision, and if they don’t, somehow the views are not valid or might even be labelled as extremist. The Greens Co-President, Rebecca Harms called me the latter because I expressed the view, in committee, that Cathy Ashton might not be sufficiently qualified to be the High Representative for Foreign Affairs. Rebecca had never spoken to me before that (nor since). This level of prejudice from such an intelligent woman is remarkable and disappointing.

Perhaps my then membership of the EFD Group may have influenced her; I have since resigned from that Group citing the intolerance of racial, religious and sexual minorities of some of its delegations as being incompatible with my personal and political principles. Immediately, some press and MEPs thought I had left because I had suffered some form of homophobia – statements which, ironically, I actually do find homophobic!

I applaud some of the efforts of the many politicians, and here I pay tribute to fellow MEP Michael Cashman, amongst others, who have stood up over the years to campaign for equal rights for gay and lesbian people. Many of these campaigners have suffered personally for their efforts. I admire their tenacity and their achievements, which have benefited countless people, including myself.

I care deeply about the rise of intolerance across Europe, and the rise in the number of hate crimes. I note that whilst recognition of minority rights issues was a prerequisite for some of the newer member states, as they prepared for accession, a blind eye is often turned to attacks on minorities in these states today. However, just because I am a lesbian does not mean that intolerance towards minority groups has to be my sole concern; I believe the right of self-determination to be a basic human right, and I feel that this is lacking within the EU and elsewhere in the word. This is why I chose to sit on the Human Rights Committee.

My mandate from the electorate in this parliament is clear; to oppose the UK’s membership of the EU, to scrutinise and oppose EU legislation that will have a detrimental effect on my constituency and to stand up for the rights of my constituents. I am here not for whom I am, or my sexuality, I am here to represent the electors who voted for me, and who through their taxes, pay for me to do my job. It is the right of the electorate to expect me to represent them, and not some political ideal.

Those politicians who fail to appreciate this point maybe should take a hard look in the mirror before pointing the finger of prejudice.

Tolerance does not imply weakness or a lack of personal belief. Tolerance, I suggest, is a sign of strength so if the EU institutions sincerely believe in their project they need to embrace all forms of opinion with equal value and ultimately allow the people across Europe the right to express their opinion in the ballot box. That’s tolerance!

Nikki Sinclair is Member of European Parliament (MEP)

To see the original: LINK

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