Did Labour even bother to read the North East Manifesto?

UKIP’s Jonathan Arnott MEP has hit out at the Labour Party over its comments on the North East Manifesto after they claimed that it’s close to the Labour Manifesto.  From the deficit to foreign aid, energy to the NHS, immigration to crime, the North East Manifesto goes against everything which Labour stands for – leading the local UKIP MEP to ask the question ‘Have they even bothered to read it?’

“All six of the headline local North East policies fit UKIP’s views like a glove, but the results of the remaining questions are startling – and diametrically opposed to everything that Labour stands for.  They should be treating this as a wake-up call, but bizarrely they’re claiming that it’s close to their position instead.”  Amongst the findings of the Journal and Chronicle’s survey for the North East Manifesto were:

  • Immigration “should be controlled more strongly with a points-based system”
  • The government’s top priority should be “immigration and Europe”
  • Foreign aid “should be cut back while we rebuild our economy”
  • We should “hire more police, build lots more prisons and deport foreign criminals” but also “Cut red tape for police and give criminals tougher sentences”
  • To reduce the deficit we should “Leave the EU and vastly reduce foreign aid”
  • Our GPs should be “freed from paperwork”
  • Yes to shale gas exploration
  • We should support “English votes for English laws”

 

This is in addition to headline policies like cutting local small business rates, dualling the A1, protecting our NHS and scrapping the bedroom tax.

Arnott continued: “I don’t think that the Labour Party can honestly claim they’ve done a complete U-turn on all of these issues.  I think it’s more likely that they only skim-read the headline policies and didn’t bother to read the full results to see what local people are actually saying.  How else could they make such a claim?  Fortunately though, there’s one Party which is truly standing up for the North East – and that Party is the UK Independence Party.”

North East Manifesto “reads like a UKIP Manifesto” claims Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has expressed his delight at the publication of the ‘North East Manifesto’ which was set up by the Chronicle and Journal, and in which over 1,500 readers participated to show the key issues affecting local people at the General Election:

“The North East Manifesto is a great initiative, and it’s great to see so many people engage with this novel democratic idea from our local newspapers. I’m delighted that the North East Manifesto has shown that UKIP’s priorities are so in tune with local people’s needs. We’ve been calling for a cut in small business rates, dualling the A1, not only protecting our free NHS but investing another £3 billion a year into it, cutting rates for small businesses, and making sure that spending cuts don’t hit frontline services. These are five of the top six priorities in the North East Manifesto.

“As far as the other one (devolution) is concerned, we’d also love to see more power come back to the North East. The devil will be in the detail though – the people of the North East voted massively against a regional assembly in 2004: we don’t want yet another tier of elected politicians. We’ll support the right devolution, but we won’t write a blank cheque – and we don’t think that local people would want us to.

“In fact, the North East Manifesto reads like a UKIP Manifesto – and the good news is that people will have the chance to vote for it in May.”

My Column – We have a chance to curb the excesses of the European Union

A tyrannical king once asked a wise man, ‘What shall I do for the betterment of our people?’

The wise man replied, ‘The best thing you could do for your people is to remain in bed until noon so that for this brief period you shall not afflict mankind’.

As the European Union juggernaut rolls on, sometimes it feels like all I can do as a member of the European Parliament is to try to stem the tide of new legislation which damages Britain’s interests and business.

This week, though, was slightly different. We were able to score a few minor victories which might actually help local people.

On the Budgetary Control committee, one of our group’s amendments (to stop EU subsidies for political parties).

It was my vote as Ukip that made the difference and we won by 14 to 13. As ever with the European Union, nothing is so simple. Not so long ago, MEPs voted to stop our taxes subsidising Spanish bullfights – but the subsidies still continue.

Likewise, this won’t stop millions of pounds of our taxes funding political parties but we’ve won the first battle in a much larger fight.

 

 

You can read the rest of my column on the Journal website here.

 

EU Commission accused of “bare faced cheek” for taking legal action against Britain over energy

Local UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott has accused the European Commission of “bare faced cheek”  for taking legal action against Britain over energy.

The European Commission has stated that it will launch legal action against 27 EU member states over their failure to impose the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive into national law.

The controversial EU rules have already made the industry pay between £86.6 billion and £93.2 billion in regulatory costs.

“These EU rules left local power generation at the Teesside power plant – which was one of the largest in Europe, still relatively young and with plenty of remaining working life – uneconomical and the demolition is expected to be complete in the next few months.  EU rules are costing local people jobs as well as pushing up consumer prices,” said Mr Arnott.

“How the EU continuously believes it has the right to interfere in our affairs astonishes me. It displays bare faced cheek from the Commission, and the British people have simply had enough.

“It is time we left the European Union and regained control over our own energy industry so that we can take the decisions which would best fit Britain’s needs, not the needs of 27 other countries.

”The EU has already done untold damage to our energy industry and it is high time we said enough is enough. I call on the Government to fight the Commission in court and finally stand up for Britain’s interest.

“The European Commission is already taking to UK to a European Court to change our laws on immigrant benefits, so this latest move is clearly more of the same treatment. It is very unwelcome. “

“These EU rules left local power generation at the Teesside power plant – which was one of the largest in Europe, still relatively young and with plenty of remaining working life – uneconomical, and the demolition is expected to be complete in the next few months.  EU rules are costing local people jobs as well as pushing up consumer prices”

North East infrastructure must not be upgraded on the cheap, the whole of the A1 must be dualled

A government road scheme has been described by a local MEP as “trying to upgrade North East transport on the cheap’”.

The proposed ‘expressways’ scheme would remove roundabouts and traffic lights from some of the country’s A-roads, creating motorway-style slip roads and junctions to ease traffic flow.

On the list of projects is turning the A1 north of Newcastle into such an expressway.  Restrictions are likely to be placed on the new class of road, including new traffic rules and a ban on bicycles.

But UKIP Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott believes that the plan is fundamentally flawed, because there is still no commitment to make the whole length of the A1 dual carriageway.

“The whole of the A1 must be dualled, with no exceptions. If they were planning to do that, then I would be all for this new proposed ‘expressway’ which would help to cut journey times still further.  But my worry is that once again, the government is trying to upgrade North East transport on the cheap.

The Chancellor’s ‘Northern economic powerhouse’ looks pretty shaky when London has 25 times the public spending per capita on transport that we get here in the North East.

“My simple message to the politicians in Westminster is this: Stop expecting us to be grateful when we’re given the crumbs under the table after London has had its share.”

UKIP has been campaigning for the dualling for the A1 and A69 for years, since Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall’s announcement at the 2013 North East Conference.

Mr Arnott has previously branded the single-carriageway A1 as ‘a disgrace’ given that it is the main road between London and Edinburgh, saying that development of business requires proper transport links.

The new expressways will be an entirely new road classification, intended as a halfway house between an A-road and a motorway.  Similar transport schemes exist already in Italy, Holland, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic.

Letters – Health and safety has gone beyond mad

Dear Editor,

The phrase “health and safety gone mad” is over used in modern society.  However when you hear that a Sure Start centre has banned the use of prams and cites “health and safety” as the reason, I am not sure that “mad” is a strong enough word.

I appreciate that health and safety and even red tape does have a role in modern society but the idea of banning prams from a building designed to support parents and children is simply crazy.

Those in charge of this centre and Darlington Borough Council must see sense and ensure that parents are able to bring a pram into a children’s support centre. This is yet another example of someone in a back office coming up with a policy that on paper sounds sensible but in reality is completely impractical.  What we need is a common sense approach to health and safety.

As all parents will tell you, leaving expensive prams unattended (in a designated area or not) outside where it could get wet and cold is a ludicrous idea. It could make the prams uncomfortable, unusable, damaged or even stolen.  Darlington Council needs to address this absurd situation immediately. Parents and young children are entitled to use this support centre with ease and they should not be forced to jump through hoops to make use of it.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – We need a new breed of politicians who will put the needs of the people before financial gain

Dear Editor,

 

It is rather sad that our politicians have not appeared to have learnt their lesson from the ways that they have let down the British public in the past.  We all remember the expenses scandal; it will be a long time before the voters forget that their elected representatives were billing the public for ludicrous expenses such as moat cleaning and duck houses.

It therefore shocks and surprises me to see that in 2015, Sarah Champion, the Labour MP for Rotherham has billed the taxpayers £17 to pay for a wreath of poppies presented on Remembrance Day. Most shameful of all is that she described this tribute to our war dead as a “necessary expense” as part of her office costs.

Not only does this act seem disrespectful to the taxpayers, our armed forces and our veterans; but in my opinion it is yet another abuse of our expenses system.   One would assume that a politician’s morals and values would be enough to prevent this sort of malpractice.  If that wasn’t enough you would also think that the fear of more discrediting newspaper headlines such as those we saw in the run up to the last General Election would discourage MPs from dishonourable acts such as this.

This saddening situation just shows yet again that our out of touch political class don’t seem to care about the people of this country.  They come across to the public as being too busy worrying about quangos, expenses and squeezing all they can from the hard working taxpayers.

What we need is a shake up within our political system and a new breed of politicians in Westminster who will put the needs of the people before their own financial gain.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

 

Letters – There is no such thing as EU money.

Dear Editor,

The Beamish Museum is in the news this week because it is no longer earmarked to get £4 million from the European Regional Development Fund.

Now I am a great supporter of this County Durham heritage site, which is an economic asset to the North East, and I hope it long continues to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.

But no one should be fooled into thinking that we should rely on and be grateful for European money. Let me make it plain – there is no such thing. This country meekly hands over a staggering £55 million a day to the EU and then they very kindly give us some back and we jump up and down in gratitude.

It is madness almost beyond belief and the sooner we leave this failing economic bloc the better.

Yours sincerely

Jonathan Arnott,

My Column – Beware of the European Union Bearing Gifts

History seems to repeat itself in the European Parliament altogether too often. This week in Strasbourg the European Parliament voted for a well-meaning yet naive proposal to cap the costs that can be charged for card payments at a very low level. Whether this ever actually becomes law is an open question, but in the meantime no doubt we will hear plenty of it from the EU’s PR machine.

Remember when the European Parliament voted to end mobile phone roaming charges whilst in other European countries? It happened a number of years ago, but was finally due to come into force at the end of this year.

In the meantime, forgetting the legislation, consumer demand had already overtaken the EU’s processes. Imagine that phone companies were preparing to comply. They’d be removing charges from phone calls from other EU countries. But in fact, something very different occurred. With no legislative prodding at all, providers started to respond to demand. From Australia or the USA, with New Zealand soon to follow, charges are scrapped with my provider: I can call home for free. Non-EU European countries like Norway and Switzerland got in on the act too. In fact, calling home is now free from more non-EU countries than EU countries – despite the obvious point that Europe is geographically closer than the USA, Indonesia or Sri Lanka.

The EU didn’t do it, the market did. But for years, when asked to provide just a single benefit of EU membership to ordinary people that we can’t get outside, the go-to answer was that mobile phone prices would come down. Just like the EU claiming credit for NATO’s success in keeping the peace in Europe, or for ‘European funding’ that just gives us some of our own taxes back with strings attached, they claimed the credit for the role of the free market.

If you force these things to happen when a company can’t make a business case for it (yes, my phone calls from Belgium when I’m in the European Parliament are still pricey), then they’ll just quietly put up their line rental prices to cover the cost. Frankly, I think that would be a bad thing: the public shouldn’t have to pay to subsidise what would be free international calls for MEPs!

And then, this year, the proposal was quietly scrapped. Not with the fanfare that had greeted the announcement in the first place, but with a tumbleweed blowing across the front of the European Parliament.

You can read the rest of this article at my Huffington Post blog here.