Letters – The more the Europhiles scaremonger the more reasons emerge why Britain should leave the EU.

Dear Editor,

 

It seems the more the Europhiles scaremonger the more reasons emerge why Britain should leave the EU.

Newly-released figures reveal that for the second consecutive year our sales to EU countries lagged behind exports to the rest of the world.  Britain buys more from the EU than they do from us and Office for National Statistics figures show the EU accounted for just 47% of British exports last year, down from 62% in 2006.

Official figures include goods shipped via European ports to countries outside the EU; without this so-called ‘Rotterdam Effect’ distortion they would be even lower.

The gap between EU and non-EU exports has grown from £1.7bn in 2014 to £17bn last year. Every set of trade figures reveal that the EU is a failing trading bloc, declining in importance to our economy.

Free from Brussels shackles we’d make our own trade deals, reactivate our seat at the World Trade Organisation and strengthen our ties with our Commonwealth family.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – David Cameron has presented a terrible deal

Dear Editor,

David Cameron has released his EU renegotiation “deal.” I didn’t expect much and even by my low expectations this is still a terrible deal. I am very pleased to see that Government spin seems to have fooled virtually no one; even many of Cameron’s Tory allies have lambasted this deal.

Knowing that the choice will be based on staying in the EU upon these terms or taking our future into our own hands, I feel better than ever about the upcoming referendum. I have already been invited to speak at numerous debates and events across the North East and I am really looking forward to making a case for an independent Britain in the upcoming campaign.

Taking in to account Cameron’s offer, I am confident that the “leave” side can fight a really positive campaign based on a confident, successful vision of a United Kingdom that can stand on its own two feet. I look forward to finally taking this decision out of hands of the political elite and letting the British people to decide for themselves.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Do not reduce front line policing services when crime is on the rise

Dear Editor,

I was surprised to hear that Cleveland Police have decided to significantly reduce staff numbers and will close public access to stations in Billingham, Thornaby, Coulby Newham, Eston, South Bank, Redcar, Guisborough, Saltburn, and Loftus. Only residents of Middlesbrough, Kirkleatham, Hartlepool and Stockton will have access to police stations.

Recently, we heard that crime in the Cleveland Policing Area had risen by 22% over the last year. When crime is on the rise, is this really the time to be reducing front line services available to the public? I understand that budgets are tight but I would encourage Cleveland Police and Labour Party PCC Barry Coppinger to reconsider this decision.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

My Column – Soccer Scaremongering: The New Political Football

They were bound to have a go, sooner or later. The campaign to stay in the European Union has resorted to fear and scaremongering on almost everything else, and in my experience there are a lot of staunchly anti-EU football fans, so a ‘Brexit would hurt football’ follows as surely as the playoffs follow the regular season.

The argument, such as it is, is that ‘if we leave the EU two-thirds of EU footballers playing in British leagues will have to leave the UK’. Firstly, that’s self-evident nonsense: those already living and working in the UK will, post-Brexit, still have the right to live and work in the UK. What the pro-EU campaign actually means to say (but won’t say, because it doesn’t sound scary enough) is that they fear new footballers coming to the UK might find it harder to get a work permit.

Footballers like Oscar, Pereira, Aguero, Zabaleta, Falcao and Coutinho are able to ply their trade in the Premier League, despite hailing from Argentina, Brazil and Colombia. We don’t have to be governed by Argentina, Brazil or Colombia in order to allow footballers from those countries to play in the Premier League. In fact, the Premier League is one of the most cosmopolitan in the world; players from over 100 countries have played in it. The real question is whether all footballers from other European Union countries, irrespective of ability, should have the automatic right to play in the UK.

To me, that’s not a level playing field. Why should any Latvian footballer be able to play in League 2 if they want, but a Brazilian might not get a work permit to play in the Championship? That’s the system that those who want us to stay in the European Union are defending. They’re defending a free-for-all from some countries, whilst insisting on tough work permits from others.

This matters because more foreign footballers want to come and play in the English leagues than there are English footballers wanting to play abroad. It’s partly the prestige of the Premier League, but also probably in part the fact that across the world, English is taught as a foreign language in most schools. Looking to move elsewhere to play? It’s quite important to be able to communicate with your new teammates. Because there’s a disparity in numbers, there are advantages and disadvantages to English football of foreign players in our leagues. The advantage is best seen in the Premier League, where the overall standard is much higher than it would otherwise be. The disadvantage is that it’s that much harder for English footballers to get the game time that they need. Scouting networks across the world become as important to clubs as developing talent locally in England, and the knock-on effect is that our own youth players find it harder to develop and gain experience. In the lower leagues, That said, having top foreign players in the Premier League can provide some benefit; those young players who do shine through have the opportunity to test themselves against the best in the world before they ever get chance to pull on an England shirt.

Wouldn’t it be better if we could control this a little better than we do; for the FA to negotiate with the government a work permit policy which allow in the right number of foreign players to develop the game (irrespective of which country they come from), whilst maintaining a semblance of control that is badly lacking. To see that this is a genuine problem, look no further than Greg Dyke, the Chairman of the FA, who said “my fear for the future of English football is the Premier League ends up being owned by foreigners, managed by foreigners and played by foreigners.” In fact, over 150 times a Premier League starting 11 hasn’t included a single British footballer.

The Bosman ruling is another example of how forcing a single system upon the UK can cause problems. It had an enormous impact upon British clubs, leaving lower-league clubs in financial difficulties. As Sir Alex Ferguson described it, “Once the European Court of Justice ruled that clubs no longer had to pay transfer fees after the expiration of a player’s contract, all hell broke loose. Suddenly it was a free-for-all.”

Prior to the Bosman ruling, the Bosman situation could not have occurred in English football. Jean-Marc Bosman played for Belgian side Liege. His contract expired, and French outfit Dunkirk offered him an improved deal. Liege demanded a huge transfer fee which Dunkirk couldn’t pay, then cut Bosman’s wages by three quarters. This injustice couldn’t have happened in the UK; at the time, there was already some protection at the end of a contract.

Bosman won his case in the European Court of Justice, but it led to the pendulum swinging in the other direction. Bosman himself described what followed: “Now the 25 or so richest clubs transfer players for astronomical sums and smaller clubs cannot afford to buy at those prices. So the 25 pull further and further away from the rest, deepening the gap between big and small. That was not the aim of the Bosman ruling.” Inside the European Union, the Bosman ruling is a fact of life. Outside the European Union, we would have three choices: Keep the Bosman ruling as it is, scrap the Bosman ruling, or come up with our own system that’s fair to everyone.

With both foreign footballers and the Bosman case, there is a common theme. Stay in the European Union, and we are forced to keep the current system; whether that’s discriminating between EU and non-EU footballers or the Bosman ruling. Leave the European Union, and we’re not forced into anything. We can choose whatever system actually works for us, rather than having to fit into the EU one-size-fits-all straitjacket.

This article was originally published on the Huffington Post website.  You can view it here.

Cameron’s EU deal contains ‘nothing of substance’

North East MEP Jonathan Arnott has described David Cameron’s draft EU deal as containing “nothing of substance at all.”

“After all the hot air is this all he is able to come with? You can fool some of the people some of the time but I don’t think anyone will be fooled by his claims,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.

“He basically asked for nothing of importance and has achieved just that. If he had been serious he would have fought for meaningful changes such as the reintroduction of UK border control so we decide numbers and qualifications of entrants.

“I never expected much and even by those low expectations this is still a bad deal.

“Also the primacy of UK law over that of EU law, withdrawal from the European Court of Human Rights, national control over British fishing waters and reactivating our seat at World Trade Organisation.

“Instead he has come up with a wishy washy package which in reality leaves everything in the hands of the EU and meanwhile Donald Tusk suggests the UK may have to bend further.

“It looks increasingly likely that the EU referendum will be held in June and Cameron’s ‘renegotiations’ announced today make it plain that voting to leave the European Union is the only sensible option,” said Mr Arnott.

“What his draft deal means is more Europe with EU army, EU accession of Turkey – and its 75m residents –  more money to the EU and no control of our borders,” he added.

Letters – Good news on legal aid

Dear Editor,

 

I welcome the news that Michael Gove, has scrapped the proposed re-structuring of the criminal legal aid system.

It would have been a disaster for justice to have reduced the number of legal aid contracts from 1,600 to 527. Lawyers get a lot of flack but people should be entitled to have a proper choice of representation and that would have been taken away from them.

Of course we all know that it’s not a case of the Justice Secretary deciding to play nicely with lawyers but rather the fact it had not been properly thought through in the first place.

And sadly like lots of other mis-conceived government plans it will have wasted a huge amount of hard working taxpayers’ money, for which guilt lies with his predecessor Chris Grayling, whose other hair-brained schemes in post have already been overturned.

The head-long rush to save money has already meant that dozens of magistrates courts have been closed down, including Guisborough and Tynedale, with Hartlepool under review.

This has led to great inconvenience for those now forced to travel much further and is a long way from the original principle of being tried locally by local magistrates.

 

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East