Jon Cruddas MP: recent column in the Sunday People

Titled: ‘Making fans for Nigel: UKIP boss will be boosted by tired Cameron and Labour's lack of EU steer’

Published in the Sunday People – 30 Dec 2012 17:44

Jon Cruddas MP for Dagenham and Rainham and Member of the Shadow Cabinet


My hunch is that he and UKIP will have a great 2013, says Jon Cruddas

I have to admit a secret. I like UKIP boss Nigel Farage. Always thought he'd be a good bloke to have a beer with.

We will see a lot more of Nige. My hunch is that he and UKIP will have a great 2013 and an even better 2014 when they may top the European elections.

For me politics was always about us (Labour) and them (Tories). Two teams, camps, gangs, crews, tribes - call them what you will - but basically left and right. I have never got the Liberals. But 2013 will be the breakthrough year of four-party politics - with UKIP the big winners.

Lots of newspaper stories will start to ask why UKIP is on a roll. Focus will turn to what is meant by Farageism. His supporters will start to call themselves Farageists. Loads of lazy political assumptions will have to change.

I think the Tories know this. In January David Cameron will make a big speech on Europe. He will try to crank it up as a big moment by making some vague promise about a referendum to be had way down the line.

It will be a big moment, but not for the reasons Cameron wants. It will signal that he's run out of juice. He used to lead his party, now he just follows it - captive to the old guard.

Even though he is not on my team, I think this is a real pity and not good for Britain. Cameron used to have energy and vitality. All that "hug a hoodie" and "hug a husky" stuff at least showed a bit of vim. He was trying to change his party. That's all gone.

This won't stop the UKIP charge. It will fuel it and may nudge Cameron into the dead zone.

Leadership speculation will mount - Boris and Gove will be out making moves. Cameron may have to dump Osborne as the economy continues to tank - sent home to spend more time with his Brideshead Revisited DVDs. Things are going to get bumpy.

And Labour will have to start fronting up. I'm no Euro nut but jobs and livelihoods depend on us being in. We can't leave just to keep Cameron in his job. It has to be about deeper national self-interest.

If Labour is not front and centre about the positive case for a reformed Europe then 2013 could be slamdunk territory for good old Nige.

Good knight for Bradley

SIR Wiggo works for me, though I must admit to mixed feelings about the honours system.

For years I tried to get a gong for my mate Ian - the best broom in Dagenham - who would rise at 4am to sweep the streets. He was the type who really should be recognised.

Who makes these decisions? But Sir Bradley is spot on.

As are honours for wheelchair racer David Weir and Bletchley code-breaker Captain Jerry Roberts. I'll try again for Ian next year.

Forget the politics, sport

I AM gradually coming to realise I am more interested in sport than in politics.

So a couple of New Year predictions: We again crush the Aussies in the Ashes here this summer; the Green Bay Packers win the Superbowl; the great Carl Froch is finally given the recognition he deserves by being shortlisted for SPOTY; Pep Guardiola arrives at Stamford Bridge in July and leaves in October.

iHad a great time without iPad

I HAD my best ever Christmas this year, in one of the most remote parts of the west of Ireland. We left phones, laptops and other technology at home and got away from it all.

In his Christmas message this year the Pope said: "The faster we can move, the more efficient our time-saving appliances become, the less time we have."

He is on to something.

No room to move

WATCH out for the Bedroom Tax. It's heading our way in April. If you are a council or housing association tenant and leave a bedroom empty for 13 weeks, you will lose on average £14 a week in housing benefit.

The Government reckons it will hit 600,000 people - even including members of the armed forces who are away serving the country.

You couldn't make this one up. So if your kids have grown up and left home, you're affected. If the family has split up, you're hit. Even if family members pass away, you'll lose out. Older people will be especially hard hit - with the spare room police forcing them out of house and home. Also in April, every millionaire will be handed a six-figure tax giveaway. And we are all in this together, are we?