Column – No place for racism in post-Brexit UK

If there were a prize for the most blindingly obvious title for any article anywhere, this one should be a pretty good entrant. Why do I even feel the need to write something which should be self-evident to anyone, anywhere?

Of course there’s no place for racism. In a post-Brexit UK, a pre-Brexit UK, or indeed in any other modern democracy. Yet the last fortnight has seen a pressure cooker of utter stupidity, mainly from the Remain side but I’ll hold my hands up and accept that some in Leave have been almost as guilty.

A vote for Brexit was many things. For most it was a vote to say that the UK is the best place to make British laws. For many it was a vote for control over immigration. For some it was a vote against the lobbying power of the big multinationals and for others it was a vote for a Britain free to negotiate trade deals around the world, looking to the globe not Little Europe. Still others voted to save money on our membership fee that could be pumped back into our NHS.

There were many reasons. To get 17.4 million people to vote for anything, anything at all, is completely unprecedented in the United Kingdom. If ever we needed proof that referendums engage and motivate people, it’s the fact that more people voted in this referendum than at a General Election. Many of who are totally disillusioned with party politics voted because they believed that this vote would actually change something.

Yet for a pathetically ridiculous few, it was a vote for something nastier. It’s the hate-filled vomit-inducing gut-wrenching bigotry of those who take a 1980s football hooligan mentality and aim it at immigrants.

(And on the Remain side there’s been some hooliganism too; we’ve had Leave campaigners see their property defaced, targeted and woken up during the night, thuggish graffiti daubed on boards, and women living alone preyed upon.)

I’ll condemn it from people who profess to support the UK too. I’m going to call the racists who daub themselves in a Brexit victory out for what they are. Racist, and stupid. Racist because whilst it’s a perfectly reasonable position to support limits on immigration, better policing of our borders and the deportation of foreign criminals, that is light years away from those appalling people who abuse those of a different skin colour. Death threats against those involved in politics haven’t gone away; from the UKIP candidate who was threatened with beheading last year to the threats against Pat Glass MP very recently. We need to ask why the law is not providing sufficient protection from criminal behaviour. The murder of Jo Cox MP raises further concerns around how we deal with mental health issues in this country, and security challenges which went ignored for too long.

Mainly though, it’s stupid. Because a vote for Brexit was actually vote against discrimination. If we had voted to stay in the EU there would have been zero chance of ending the discriminatory policy of controlling immigration from non-EU countries whilst allowing a free-for-all for the EU27. The current system is frankly immoral: it values a French or Romanian citizen higher than an Indian or Australian.

Why did I vote Leave? Yes, it was for many of the reasons outlined above, but it was also to end that discrimination and to allow us to move to a fair system where we control immigration.

Words cannot express the utter contempt that I feel for the thugs who seek to hijack the just cause of Leave. Was every bit of rhetoric on the Leave side on immigration perfect? No. Was Remain’s World War 3 doom-mongering and cataclysmic threats perfect? No; indeed, it’s partly to blame for spooking the stock markets.

Leave and Remain together need to be quite clear that there’s no place for racism in a post-Brexit UK. Remain must acknowledge that there will be a post-Brexit UK, and attempts of a disillusioned few to overturn that result must be stopped. We should all now be on the same side; the side of rationally, fairly and reasonably implementing the democratic mandate for Leave – which here in the North East was one of the strongest anywhere in the country – and achieving the best possible deal for Britain.

Here’s why we need to get tough in negotiatons with EU

I never thought that Boris Johnson would win the Conservative Party leadership. Indeed, I predicted in my book that he wouldn’t make the final two. But I was wrong in that I expected he would stand.

Is Boris Johnson really the person we could see as a future Prime Minister? Is he the right person to negotiate our future trade deal with the European Union? He did go up in my estimation during the referendum campaign, but not enough to suggest that I’d want him as PM.

We need a tough negotiator. We need someone who will understand some fundamental principles of negotiation. Let’s talk about how I buy a car.

Firstly, I don’t take someone with me who’s going to tell me that the car is worth the asking price and I’ll never get a better deal. If I’m trying to haggle down the price, having a friend there telling me not to haggle is going to cost me a lot of money.

A lot of the Remain campaigners told us during the campaign that we could never get a good deal with the European Union. Okay, fair enough, they were campaigning for a Remain vote. Then we voted to Leave and they continued to say it. That’s quite irresponsible actually; it’s making it harder for us to negotiate a better deal.

Secondly, I ask for a better deal than the one I’m actually going to get. If I ask for the deal I really want, then I’ve got no room for manoeuvre.

Thirdly, I play to my strengths. I talk up the value of my trade-in car. If I can afford to pay in cash, I tell them it’s a hassle-free sale. If I’m taking their finance deal, I point out they’ll make profit on the finance deal.

We should play up our strengths in this renegotiation too. When we have 6 of the world’s top 25 universities, and the rest of the EU has none, don’t they want us to collaborate with them on research? When we’re major net importers from the EU, don’t they want to continue selling into our market? When we’re a permanent member of the UN Security Council and global leaders in security and intelligence, don’t they want an information-sharing agreement with us? Don’t they want to be able to trade freely with the world’s 5th-largest economy?

Fourthly, be prepared to walk away. Ultimately if I go to buy a car, and the dealership isn’t playing ball, I have to be willing to walk out of the door. As I leave, they always call me back and suddenly find that they can offer me a better deal.

So, we need to recognise that trading on World Trade Organisation terms would cost the EU more than it costs us. For every £1 (NET) we currently give the EU, we’d be paying 66p in tariffs. I mean hey, we could even pay the tariffs directly from the Treasury and our businesses would be no worse off. But the EU’s businesses would have to pay our government far more in tariffs. We’d be getting the better end of the deal.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s all sorts of reasons why the WTO+ option isn’t ideal. But we can’t be scared by it: it’s a worse deal for them than it is for us.
If we want a really, really good deal with the EU then we need to be prepared to do some tough negotiating.

The United Kingdom has voted to Leave the European Union

North East UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said, “This is a tremendous day for Britain and for our democratic process.

“The people of the North East have led the way in voting clearly for Brexit. The British people as a whole have spoken and we have regained control over our own destiny.

“Now the hard work begins: we must now deal with our European colleagues as friends and neighbours and negotiate a deal for the future which allows us to trade freely with the EU, control our borders and work together for our mutual benefit.

“I am immensely proud of everyone who worked tirelessly to achieve this referendum result. We must now be vigilant to ensure that our government sticks to its promises and respects the result of the referendum.”

Why people in the North East should vote Leave

The North East is a region with a proud manufacturing tradition. A region which makes things and sells them, a region of agriculture and of fisheries.

Today it’s the region with the highest unemployment in the land. Not all of this is the European Union’s fault, but an awful lot is. It’s the European Union that has made life unnecessarily difficult for our farmers, it’s the European Union that has allowed foreign-flagged vessels to overfish our waters and expects us to be grateful, and it’s the European Union that has made it so difficult for us to protect our manufacturing and steel industry.

How will a vote to leave change things? Firstly, we’ll be better off financially. Despite some ridiculous fudging of figures from Remain to claim that we’re net recipients from the EU (it wasn’t true when the claim originated in 2012, we’ve got a worse deal now than we had then, and after EU expansion we’ll get an even smaller share of the pie) the fact remains that we can replace every penny of EU funding and still have £9-£10 billion a year left in change. By doing that funding ourselves directly we’ll cut out the middleman and be able to ensure that money goes to projects which we know will actually achieve the stated aims.

Secondly, we’ll regain control of our fisheries and our 200-mile limit. The North East is a coastal region, more dependent upon fishing than most. That means more jobs.

Thirdly, we’ll subsidise our farmers in a more efficient way than the EU’s awful Common Agricultural Policy. Less bureaucracy for farmers, more time spent farming, and a fair system to protect them. That also means more jobs.

Fourthly, our manufacturing base can recover. We’ll have the power to directly deal with Chinese steel dumping and save what’s left of our steel industry. We’ll be able to deregulate and make manufacturing more competitive. We’ll regain the power to sign our own trade deals, which will again help manufacturing. The Remain campaign threatens us with a weaker pound if we vote for Brexit. I’m not sure there’ll be a long-term effect – but if there is, that’ll make our exports even more competitive! That’s even more jobs.

We’ll get the same things as the rest of the country too: our democracy and independence back, and the control over our own borders.

So here’s the question: will you believe Remain’s Project Fear over Nissan (despite the fact that Paul Wilcox of Nissan Europe stated five times on the Today Programme that their commitment to the UK is long-term irrespective of the referendum result)? Or will you listen instead to businesses like JCB and innovative employers like Dyson, which support Brexit?

LETTERS

Letters – If we vote to Remain, there are huge risks of the EU extending its tentacles over more and more areas of our daily life

Dear Editor,

In 1975 the British people had a referendum on whether we wanted to remain part of a Common Market. Free trade was quite appealing in a globe which was then beset by huge, punitive tariffs. My dad voted for it, believing government assurances that it was only a trading bloc and not a political project. He’s regretted that ever since.

41 years later, in an interconnected internet-savvy age, the world has moved on. The share of world GDP of current EU members has dropped from over 30% (1980) to 16.5% today, and it’ll be down to around 15% by 2020. According to the IMF, even if you add the economies of all 28 countries together the EU economy now smaller than the United States alone. Times have moved on, but thankfully we have a second bite at the cherry.

If we vote to Remain, there are huge risks of the EU extending its tentacles over more and more areas of our daily life, of EU enlargement diminishing British influence, and of eurozone economic collapse affecting Britain.

Please don’t waste this chance to vote to leave the European Union. It’s possible that another 41 years could pass before we get the chance to have our say again.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Letters – British universities will continue to flourish outside of the EU

Dear Editor,

The ‘Remain’ campaign in this referendum seem to have very short memories and little confidence in Britain. My parents both studied at European universities before we ever joined the (then) Common Market, and plenty of non-EU countries participate in student exchange schemes including Erasmus, yet Remain claim that students’ ability to study abroad would be curtailed if we left the European Union. They claim that British research and universities would be harmed, yet Britain has 6 of the world’s top 25 universities. The rest of the European Union has none; of course they’d want to continue working with the United Kingdom – Europe’s leader in research!

Whilst we’re on the subject of universities, EU students can come to the UK on incredibly favourable terms (EU students can study tuition-free in Scotland whilst UK students have to pay) whereas we charge non-EU students an arm and a leg and make it very difficult for them to get to the UK.

The number of international students coming to the UK from India for example has halved in recent years; so much for universities being places of diversity! They’ve become places of discrimination based upon whether the student’s passport is EU or non-EU.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP,
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Letters – We should spend our money on whatever we want

Dear Editor,

Throughout the North East, in every single debate Remain campaigners claim that ‘the North East gets more back in EU funding than it puts in’. The claim is years out of date (our contributions have gone up since then), and includes some quite spurious calculations. Open Europe assess it differently. They found for example (The case for bringing regional funding back home, p16) that Tees Valley & Durham pay in £2.30 for every £1 we get back in regional funding, and that Northumberland, Tyne & Wear pay in £2.35 for every £1 we get back

Whatever the truth, the point is largely irrelevant: outside the EU, as every serious Brexit campaigner agrees, we’d replace that EU funding with UK funding – cutting out the middleman and making sure that the money went even further to help our region.

Even after replacing every euro-cent, we’d still have £10 billion per year spare. That money could give our NHS the funding it needs and we could cut VAT bills on energy. Or, if we preferred, we could give the country a 3-4 pence in the pound income tax cut. Either way, it would be our money and we could spend it on whatever we want.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Letters – Whenever I meet fishermen I’m saddened by what has happened to this once-great industry

Dear Editor,

The plight of our fishermen in the North East is truly desperate. In coastal town after coastal town we see a fleet which has been absolutely decimated by EU quotas. Whenever I meet fishermen here I’m saddened by what has happened to this once-great industry. Sadly, rather than recognise how the European Union has destroyed our fishing fleets, the Remain campaign prefer churlish claims that ‘fish don’t respect national boundaries. You don’t see fish carrying a British passport’ They should look at a map; Norway and Iceland are two of the UK’s nearest neighbours. They’re not in the European Union.

If you want to save this proud industry (and perhaps cut the price of your portion of fish and chips) then the only way is to vote to leave the European Union on June 23rd.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Letters – This referendum is finally a chance for overlooked towns like Hartlepool to have a real say.

Dear Editor,

People in Hartlepool often feel that British politics has forgotten them and that they don’t have a say. In under seven days polls will open for the EU referendum; in my opinion the most important election in a generation.

The race currently looks very tight and every vote will be important. Regardless of whether they support ‘IN’ or ‘OUT’ this is your readers’ chance to decide the future of the United Kingdom. I hope that they will grasp this chance and come out to vote.

This vote will decide the future course of British history. Too often in this country the big decisions are made by a small political elite; this referendum is finally a chance for overlooked towns like Hartlepool to have a real say.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

Letters – The ‘Remain’ campaign seem to have very short memories

Dear Editor,

The ‘Remain’ campaign in this referendum seem to have very short memories and little confidence in Britain. My parents both studied at European universities before we ever joined the (then) Common Market, and plenty of non-EU countries participate in student exchange schemes including Erasmus, yet Remain claim that students’ ability to study abroad would be curtailed if we left the European Union. They claim that British research and universities would be harmed, yet Britain has 6 of the world’s top 25 universities. The rest of the European Union has none; of course they’d want to continue working with the United Kingdom – Europe’s leader in research!

Whilst we’re on the subject of universities, EU students can come to the UK on incredibly favourable terms (EU students can study tuition-free in Scotland whilst UK students have to pay) whereas we charge non-EU students an arm and a leg and make it very difficult for them to get to the UK.

The number of international students coming to the UK from India for example has halved in recent years; so much for universities being places of diversity! They’ve become places of discrimination based upon whether the student’s passport is EU or non-EU.

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East