LETTERS

KLM investment could be an important step in reviving the fortunes of Durham Tees Valley Airport

Dear Editor,

 

I was very pleased to hear that after seeing a rise in passenger numbers KLM have agreed a new deal to continue operations at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

 

UKIP believe that Tees Valley Airport is a viable venture, we want to see a vibrant airport for both passenger and freight flights operating at Tees Valley site and we welcome this investment from KLM.  We feel that the North East needs to receive significant investment in local infrastructure and we believe that investing in Tees Valley Airport should be a key part of this strategy.

 

Although it seems that opportunities to advance the airport may have been missed in the past, I believe that this commitment from KLM could be an important step in reviving the fortunes of this airport  I hope that the airport management and its owners will continue to work with airlines, local businesses and political figures to work towards opening up more routes, services and flights in Tees Valley.

 

Regards,

Jonathan Arnott MEP

 

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Jonathan Arnott MEP to visit lunch club in Middlesbrough

A Middlesbrough lunch club is to have a guest visitor tomorrow (Wed) – the town’s UKIP Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott.

Mr Arnott will be attending a barbecue organised by Tickle The Taste Buds Lunch Club at The Christian Center Building, Loxley Road, Thorntree.

The club, which relies on donations of food and money, provides a free two course meal every fortnight and Mr Arnott said he was delighted to accept the invitation to experience the work of the organisation at first hand.

The group started 17 years ago to feed the homeless and get people housed but now helps people with a wide range of problems and issues.

“I cannot praise the work of this organisation highly enough,” said Mr Arnott.

“They are doing a fantastic job helping people in society who need it the most and I am looking forward to meeting the organisers and seeing if I can help in anyway in my role as local MEP,” he added.

About 40 people are expected to attend tomorrow’s lunch which starts at noon.

VISION-OPEN-MULTI

A vision for the North East

The UK Independence Party has today (Tue) launched a major new document which sets out UKIP North East’s proposals for a vibrant region post-Brexit,  proving that UKIP is here to stay as a major Northern political player for years to come.

‘A Vision For The North East’ is the Party’s response to false claims that UKIP is no longer relevant, and while the national Labour Party splits apart UKIP is working on consolidating its role as their main challengers in the North East.

From rebuilding our fisheries to upgrading our roads, from business rates to proposing new Veterans’ Centres in our cities to look after ex-forces personnel, the document covers ideas for how the North East can be turned around.

With the economic gap between the North East and the rest of the country having grown dramatically in recent years, the region has the highest unemployment in the country – and the difference between the North East and the UK average is now more than five times greater than it was a decade ago.

Local Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott said, “For far too long the North East has been abandoned and ignored by our governments. It’s time for us to fight for a fair deal in terms of funding, but also for our national government to understand the needs of local business and manufacturers.

“We’re a region that builds things, that makes things, that sells things. Our government and councils should be doing everything they can to make that easier.”

UKIP’s North East Regional Chairman Cllr Steve Turner added, “UKIP is all about bringing power back to the people, and that’s what the Party stands for in local government.

“We oppose the council Cabinet system, support local referendums and are the only Party to operate a no-whipping system because councillors should represent local people not Party bosses.”

The timing of the new document – just 10 days before voting closes in the UKIP Leadership Election – demonstrates that the regional Party is determined that the North East is not forgotten by the candidates at this critical time.

It is laying down the gauntlet to the leadership candidates to remember that the North East is crucial to the future of UKIP. The Party’s share of the vote at the last General Election was higher in the North East than in any other area of the country.

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE FULL DOCUMENT 

columns

Five US Republicans and one Democrat sit down to dinner with a UKIP MEP…

It sounds like the start of a joke, but actually I learned a lot speaking to people from all corners of the United States on holiday last week. The conversation was as good as the steak, and the portions of both truly American. I answered a few questions about Brexit; as is usual with Americans they were shocked at the sheer scale of what Remainians euphemistically call ‘pooling of sovereignty’.

Most instinctively supported Brexit; one asked why I consider the EU federation any different to the US federation of states. The USA was built as a nation, formed as a nation already with a single language, currency, history, geography and legal system. It has been a nation for centuries, and yet to keep it that way required the bloodiest civil war in history in the 1860s. The EU lacks these advantages and was created as an artificial political construct against the will of the people. Fundamentally, the USA is a nation: the nebulous concept of Europe isn’t. But it was a good question, a searching question, the kind of question an intelligent outsider would ask of a British Leave supporter.

I turned the tables, asking their opinion on Hillary Clinton versus Donald Trump. Trump, the most unpopular candidate in American political history, is still just about in the race because he’s facing Hillary Clinton, the second-most unpopular candidate in American political history. Hyperbole? Perhaps not.

Let’s just say I’m not surprised that nobody had a positive opinion of either candidate. The Democrat and four of the five Republicans couldn’t support either candidate. Hillary Clinton was perceived as mired in controversy, part of a political dynasty, dishonest and self-centred.

Nigel Farage’s point that he wouldn’t ‘vote for Hillary Clinton if she paid me’ hit the nail on the head. Just because I dislike Trump, I’m under zero illusions about the appalling Hillary Clinton. From her time as First Lady to allegations of a cover-up of the terrorist attack at Benghazi, from the Clinton Foundation scandal to the misuse of a private email address for official State communications, Hillary Clinton has been mired in controversy for years.

As for Donald Trump, well, the list of complaints is too long but ultimately they were terrified of a man so temperamental and utterly inexperienced in anything remotely relevant to the White House having his finger on the nuclear button.

The three couples didn’t know each other, had come from different states, yet five of the six had made the decision to vote for a third-party candidate, libertarian Gary Johnson, in the Presidential election. A plague, they implied, upon both their houses. All of the six were substantially older than me, white and relatively affluent. I’d expected the majority to be Republicans. Yet like the various other Americans I had been chatting to for the last week, not one was a fan of Donald Trump.

Both Trump and Clinton have historically appalling polling numbers. Both are hugely disliked by the electorate as a whole; it all comes down to who voters see as the lesser of two evils. I suspect it’ll be another Clinton in the White House if no further scandal emerges about the emails.

The Republicans have scored a huge own goal. They didn’t have to pick Trump in the primaries. Around this night’s table I suspect amongst the Republicans there were two Rubio, one Kasich, one Carson and one Cruz supporter; all shared my frustration that the straight-talking Chris Christie had failed to live up to his potential and become mired in controversy. The one name which had universal positive approval was Marco Rubio. The Democrat also seemed delighted at the thought: she too would have voted for Rubio above Clinton in a heartbeat. Rubio could have delivered the White House without much fuss (the one argument validly leveled against Rubio is that he’s not tough enough on immigration, though the issue is different there. America’s population density is 85 people per square mile – ours is 679. But then, Trump has recently softened his stance on immigration too.). Yet with Trump at the top of the Presidential ticket, Rubio will have to work pretty hard just to hold his own seat in the swing state of Florida.

If any of them had fallen for Trump’s campaign at first, excusing his divisiveness as though it were just UKIP-style telling-it-like-it-is, they certainly weren’t admitting it. They now all hated him. However bad Trump might be, they all (bar the Democrat, who seemed to hate both equally) agreed Clinton would be worse. The Democrat would have reserved a special place in hell for the pair of them.

My own recollection of Donald Trump, the first time I realised I dislike the man intensely, was long before any of the current controversy. Two true American heroes, medical professionals who had gone to West Africa and found themselves in the midst of a terrible outbreak of Ebola, working day and night to save lives, themselves contracted the disease. The US government flew them home under the strictest quarantine and the pioneering treatment they received was life-saving. Heroes deserve the best.

What did Trump do? He made public pronouncements condemning the decision. Ignoring medical evidence, he whipped up a frenzy of fear, telling the US government to let their citizens die overseas, making false threats that it could lead to a huge outbreak in the USA. It was obvious arrant nonsense, and if Trump didn’t know anything about it he should have kept his mouth shut. That day, well before Trump announced he’d run for President, I realised what the man was like.

I’ve noticed that different people mention a complete spectrum of reasons to dislike him, given his rich and colourful comments of late. Some had liked Trump at first, his blunt and direct style. But it wasn’t long before they started to feel that he was out of his depth, and the crucial question ‘do you want Trump to be the one with the finger on the nuclear button?’ would seem problematic for his campaign.

If anyone can make sense of Trump’s statements on the minimum wage, where he seems to be simultaneously in favour of raising it and not raising it, of a federal raise and of states making their own decisions, then they’re highly charitable. That’s not surprising. Trump used to advocate one of the most hard-left policies possible:  proposing that the State should confiscate money from the richest in society.  It’s borderline Communism and a complete anathema to UKIP’s belief in the free market.

I just don’t get how some UKIP members will excuse Trump anything, just because he’s straight-talking. Whether straight-talking is good or bad depends upon the message! If the message is wrong, or ineptly delivered, it doesn’t matter how plainly you say it. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’d heard a Trump apologist tell me that I’ve ‘fallen for the mainstream media attacks’ on Trump. No; I disliked him before all that. And those who say so are actually rather patronising: I don’t agree with them, therefore in their view I must have fallen for the media. They never consider that, in fact, I might have made up my own mind.

The man who’s called some women “fat pigs, slobs, dogs and disgusting animals” and then when questioned insulted the interviewer saying that she had “blood coming out of her eyes” and “blood coming out of her wherever”. He later made the somewhat hard to believe claim that he wasn’t referring to menstruation. He’s repeatedly criticised a judge in a legal case where he’s the defendant, publicly attacked John McCain over his military service (McCain was captured fighting for America), and made rather odd comments about his own daughter (“if Ivanka weren’t my daughter perhaps I’d be dating her”). His ‘second amendment’ comments appear to threaten his opponent with assassination. I’m barely scratching the surface and I’ve avoided the ‘usual’ Trump controversies – his ‘rapists’ comments about Mexicans, accusations of bigotry and anti-Semitism: I’ll simply say that a skilled or adept candidate might be able to make their points without providing huge ammunition to their opponents. Comparisons of Trump’s buffoonery to Nigel Farage are an insult to Nigel; a far better comparison would be between Trump and Nick Griffin.

But however bad he is, many Americans will vote Trump to stop Clinton. That’s understandable, but we could also be about to see the biggest vote for a third party candidate for a generation in the USA. In exasperation the dinner table was independently turning to third-party candidates, and no wonder. If there is one thing uniting America politically, it’s that the country seems to share a common exasperation at the quality of candidates on show in November. On the Democrat side, Clinton’s challenger was Bernie Sanders – a far-left candidate who actually believes in something. He is not Presidential in any way. Such is the dislike of Clinton that he proved to be a thorn in her side for months on end during the primaries. Far better Democrat candidates declined to even stand.

I find myself wondering what I would do if I were in their shoes. I couldn’t possibly stomach voting for the odious Hillary Clinton, even to stop Trump. Could I vote for Trump to stop Clinton? I doubt that too. Perhaps I would join the growing ranks of those in the USA who intend to vote for a third-party candidate. Gary Johnson isn’t being squashed in the polls like most third-party candidates at this stage, and no wonder given the appalling choices proffered by the traditional parties.

If, as seems likely, the next US President is Hillary Clinton, many round that table will rue the day they didn’t choose Marco Rubio in the primaries. If my experience is anything to go by, there are plenty already regretting precisely that.

 

LETTERS

Letter – Further prison reform is required

Dear Editor,

Hate preachers spreading unacceptable messages within British prisons has been an issue for a long time – with many experts suggesting that some prisons have become recruitment grounds for terrorist organisations.

Whilst I was glad to hear that the government plans to open special units within prisons to separate hate preachers like Anjem Choudary (who may be held in Co. Durham) from the general population, I am also alarmed that this has not been done a long time ago.

This is only the first of many badly needed reforms.  I hope that the government will build upon this move and continue to support our Prison Service by providing the long overdue additional resources and staff that will be required to get the British justice system back on track. If not, we in UKIP will be there to hold them to task.

Regards,

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

LETTERS

Paralympic athletes deserve better

Dear Editor,

 

I have been very dismayed to read that this month’s Paralympic Games have been hit with deep budget cuts at the last minute.  These cuts will impact infrastructure, the size of the workforce and will even close some venues.  I have even heard that some athletes may be unable to travel to Rio as a result of promised funding not coming through.

The Paralympic athletes deserve much better than this and serious questions must be asked of the organisers of these games.  Why was funding not secured long ago?  And why are venues, staffing and infrastructure plans only being put in place in the weeks leading up to the tournament? It seems that Paralympic athletes from all around the world have been badly let down, presumably by the International Paralympic Committee.

Regards,

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

columns

The values that we reflect as a nation in the Olympic Games are the values which we should embody on a daily basis

Success in life is earned, not given. What you achieve depends upon your innate ability, effort and industry, dedication and desire to succeed These statements should be inalienable truths, and yet sadly all too often they are not. For many, the fascination of the Olympic Games is that it provides precisely such a level playing feel. With one rags-to-riches, homelessness-to-gold triumphant story after another, all that matters at the most basic level is to run faster, jump higher, throw further or pedal more furiously than the rest. An athlete who does not dedicate their life to their sport does not deserve and will not receive a gold medal.

On a national level, Team GB – through Lottery funding and dedication – achieved the second-best results of any country on the planet. Our 1% of the world’s population achieved 9% of the world’s gold medals. Success was earned not just through the hard work of our athletes, but the ability to build a team around them. The European Parliament’s Twitter account, however, simply added up the individual medals for each of the EU’s 28 countries and made the fantastical claim that the European Union had the best results on earth. Yes, if you add up 28 countries’ results they beat any single country; it’s as unsurprising as the Pope’s Catholicism or what bears get up to in the woods. Whilst Team GB worked for their achievement, Team European Union Spin attempted to leach off someone else’s.

Mo Farah’s double Olympic triumph was again iconic. Having fallen to the floor in the 10,000 metres, it never seemed in any doubt to me that once he’d got up he would win the race. His backstory is pretty impressive too: coming to the UK at the age of 8 after a tumultuous time in Somalia, he barely spoke a word of English. Some vile bigots took to Twitter to condemn UKIP supporters for cheering on Mo Farah. As though UKIP were an anti-migrant party, when indeed Nigel Farage was the first leader of a major political party to call for the UK to take some refugees from Syria!

Here’s the challenge though: the values that we reflect as a nation in the Olympic Games are the values which we should embody on a daily basis. Those same values should underpin our education system, expecting our children to learn, to overcome adversity rather than retreat into ‘safe spaces’ if something causes the merest scintilla of offence We should be training the next generation of leaders not a generation of precious snowflakes, and it’s no wonder that we have astronomically high levels of depression and anxiety amongst teenagers when we create unrealistic expectations of how protected they should be, and how easy life ought to be: real life doesn’t match up. As inspiration, we need look no further than the forthcoming Paralympic Games where we will see those who do not allow adversity, disability, or often personal tragedy, to get in the way of that determination which is the very spirit embodied by the ancient Greeks so long ago.

As a nation we should strive for excellence in everything that we achieve. When it comes to immigration, people shouldn’t get a free pass to come here just because they happen to hold a passport from any of 27 other EU countries; those who we allow to come to the UK should be those who will strive to make our country a better place. My wife and I were sitting at dinner with an American couple last week. The lady had come from Canada originally, but was proud to be American. She didn’t describe herself as Canadian-American or anything else; she had become American through choice and would always see herself as American. Irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, skin colour or anything else, that’s what we should expect from those who come to live and work in the UK too. We should celebrate success, praise the self-made entrepreneur who makes millions and generates jobs and tax revenue for the Exchequer – not be envious of their wealth. We should celebrate our scientists as much as our athletes, but neither should we stigmatise a vocational route: after all, we’re a region of manufacturers, a region which builds things and a region which should be the engine-room of the British economy.

The day after the Olympics had finished, I headed off to a town called Rendsburg. I play a board game called Stratego. Not having picked up a board for a year, I rushed across Germany to play for the Great Britain team at World Team Championships. The team was short of players and wouldn’t have been able to compete if I didn’t make it, so I thought I’d give it my best shot. Sadly we didn’t manage to come away with a medal, but my personal consolation was getting my best ever result, a draw against a two-time World Champion.

If we want to get a medal next year in Greece, I’d best take my own advice and put some work in!