24 April 2014
At the protest outside the UKIP meeting at the Sage Gateshead, Shirley Ford strongly condemned UKIP's extreme right wing policies and scaremongering campaigning. In her speech Shirley said:
"UKIP's billboard campaign this week has taken their whipping up of hatred and fear to an appalling new level. They are blaming migrants from Europe for housing waiting lists, mass unemployment, low wages, insecure jobs and zero-hour contracts. Yet this is classic scapegoating, when it's government policies and the impact of the Crash, which have deliberately caused these severe problems, especially here in the North East.
And UKIP are targetting the North with these billboards, aiming to lure people who feel abandoned by all the mainstream parties - people who are rightly angry. But the UKIP leadership are in favour of flat rate taxes whether you are on minimum wage or a millionaire, privatisation of every single shred that's left of our public services and getting rid of all our workers rights - and of course environmental protection as they don't accept any evidence of climate change and therefore support fracking. Free trade too, meaning UKIP support the same kind of secret trade deal as the one which is currently being negotiated by USA and the EU governments, TTIP (Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership) which would allow corporations to sue governments for any infringement of their right to make profit, so that all our rights and protections - of workers, food security, environment - would be under assault.
But we need to get across a message to those people lured by UKIP, that there is an alternative: Greens argue for real change from business as usual. We demand a labour market that provides jobs that every worker can build a life on, fair progressive taxation, a living wage. We need more Green MEPs to stand up for decent standards as standard, to stop TTIP and to shift the whole direction the EU is going in.
And if you want to hear more about this alternative, come to hear another party leader speak: Natalie Bennett, national leader of the Green Party, will be speaking at a public meeting next Monday 28th at the Newcastle Arts Centre. We will have a civilised tolerant debate unlike the vitriolic abuse we've heard today from some UKIP supporters. I'm proud to challenge UKIP's right to claim patriotism on St George's Day - we stand for a civilised, tolerant, diverse society here."