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If you wanted to set up a new political Party to oppose democracy, what would you call it?

Back in the early 1900s the temperance movement tried setting up a political party, the Scottish Prohibition Party. They didn’t call it the Alcohol Party, because alcohol was the very thing they were trying to oppose.

The Labour Party was called the Labour Party because [back then it at least professed] it supported workers. They didn’t call themselves the Upper Class Toffs Party.

The Conservative and Unionist Party wanted to conserve things, oppose radicalism and generally support the Union. They didn’t call themselves the Dismantle and Disintegrate Party.

UKIP, set up to fight for our Independence, wasn’t called the ‘British Subservience Party’. No, independence is our middle name! We stand for exactly what it says on the tin.

Only in George Orwell’s 1984 would things be named as the exact opposite of what they’re trying to achieve. Orwell explained it as follows:

“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.”

Powerful stuff. When Big Brother wanted to pull the wool over people’s eyes he called things the opposite of what they actually were. It’s the nature of propaganda to do so.

James Chapman is setting up a new Party, with the intention of subverting democracy and overturning Brexit. Remember, Brexit is the epitome of British democracy: never in the history of this United Kingdom have more people voted for anything than voted for Brexit.

So, if you wanted to set up a new political party to oppose democracy, what would you call it?

Think for a moment…

The Democrats!

I kid you not. He is actually naming his Party after the very thing he’s campaigning against. Orwell would be spinning in his grave: he intended 1984 as a warning, not as an instruction manual.

 

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Statement on the UKIP leadership election

I have given considerable thought to the UKIP Leadership election in recent weeks, and indeed I strongly considered not supporting any candidate at all.

My criteria for making my own personal decision are simple – I will choose the strongest available candidate subject to three conditions. I cannot back:

a) Any candidate who is likely to cause embarrassment to the Party in the media, however unfairly: at this critical stage with our Party’s survival at stake we simply cannot afford to have a future leader who will be overshadowed by baggage.

b) Any candidate who overly fixates on a single non-Brexit issue (depending on perspective there are between 2 and 5 different ‘single issues’) almost to the exclusion of all else.

c) Any candidate whose values and principles don’t align with the UKIP that I joined and was proud to represent. I believe fundamentally in low taxes, more democracy, less state interference, toughness on crime and a fair, robust, colour-blind immigration system designed to end the oversupply of unskilled workers but welcoming those who can genuinely help to make the UK a better place.

From the field of candidates, by process of elimination I am left therefore with two choices: Ben Walker and Marion Mason. (Arguably Henry Bolton but I know far too little about him)

By pure coincidence – and it is coincidence – they are also the only two candidates who have gone out of their way to contact me and ask for my support. Neither of them has got involved in the vicious negative campaigning which has sadly started to infest our Party in recent years.

Both of them have backgrounds in helping people, in very different ways – Ben Walker in the Royal Navy, and Marion Mason in the NHS.

Politically I am broadly aligned with both of them.

Of the two, Ben Walker is the more powerful communicator. He has engaged people with his campaign, organised events and worked hard touring the country to speak to branches and members. He has the requisite determination to believe that he can turn this Party around.

If push comes to shove, which of the two would I rather see represent the Party in a televised debate? Who would be more likely to enthuse and motivate people to join us?

On balance, I have therefore decided that I’ll be voting for Ben Walker in the UKIP leadership election. I don’t agree with him on everything, and I have made that clear to him in private (I don’t agree with banning halal meat for example).

As a candidate, I think he shares my assessment of the situation and accepts what I’ve been saying repeatedly since the election: that we are in last-chance saloon; that the Party needs to change dramatically if it is to survive in any meaningful form.

We’ve seen leadership candidates use phrases like ‘professionalising the Party’, ‘changing the Party Constitution’, ‘reforming the internal structures’ and ‘engaging with the membership’ before. All of them need to happen, and quickly.

Finally, we can’t afford to keep shooting ourselves in the foot as we have been doing for far too long. As far as I can tell, Ben Walker would be immune from attack in the media because he hasn’t said anything stupid in public (or indeed, privately, as far as I know). That is worth a lot. It means we might be able to focus on a positive message rather than firefighting.

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Call for tougher animal cruelty sentences backed

Local MEP Jonathan Arnott is again backing a call for tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

The Centre for Crime Prevention is recommending that the maximum sentence is increased from six months – the lowest in Europe – to five years.

Figures have revealed that more than 92% of offenders convicted of animal cruelty over ten years ending in 2015 in England and Wales avoided prison.

“I have long advocated tougher sentences and I was particularly sickened by the case of the two Redcar thugs who walked free from court last year after subjecting a bulldog to a horrific attack,” said Mr Arnott, UKIP Euro-MP.

“If only that were an isolated instance. Yet despite daily examples of unspeakable cruelty, I genuinely can’t remember the last time anyone actually served more than 2 months in prison before early release – even for the most heinous of offences against animals.

“It is all very well for the government to mutter that it is reviewing the matter and any changes to legislation should always be carefully considered before implementation.

“But this problem has been apparent for years. It’s not a complex matter to add animal cruelty offences to the list for which ‘unduly lenient’ sentences can be reviewed, or to toughen up on making sure that bans on keeping animals are properly enforced.

“Nor is it a complex matter to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty so that culprits can be dealt with in a proper manner and more in keeping with their heartless crimes.

“The public are righty outraged at our government’s rudderless leadership and the leniency shown to such offenders. Those who deliberately harm animals should face sentences which actually deliver justice,” said Mr Arnott.

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I don’t normally do this but I’m going on a rant

I went to university at the age of 15, hold a Masters Degree in Mathematics and proudly campaigned to Leave. I don’t normally do this, but I’m going on a rant. I’m sick of this elitist drivel that comes from continuity Remainers intent on disparaging everyone who disagrees with them.

This notion that if only more people went to university we’d have voted to Remain is pretentious nonsense from those who think that working class people should crawl back into their slums, crack open a high-strength battery-acid-taste cider, play Jeremy Kyle on loud, and bow down to their intellectual superiors who hold a piece of paper saying that they have a degree.

Because that’s what their stereotypical bilge would imply, and it’s every bit as bigoted as they try to imply anyone who disagrees with the concept of a ‘safe space’ must be.

Even if their results are accurate, they say less about Leave voters and more about a modern liberal-left university education system which often indoctrinates rather than encouraging free thought and a wealth of ideas, popular and unpopular, conventional or radical, pro- or anti-Brexit.

How many of our young people are being failed by a system which pushes them into the wrong courses at university and a spiral of debt, getting a degree only to find there aren’t enough graduate-level jobs to go around? It’s time to fix our broken university system, not incessantly whine about democracy in action.

 

 

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Support Sunderland’s industry with Spartans’ steadfast spirit

It seems we’ve been here so many times before: another scare story about the threat of Nissan leaving the UK and jobs being lost in Sunderland post-Brexit. This time, it’s all about the proposed trade deal between European Union and Japan. The argument is basically as follows: If the EU and Japan were to conclude a trade deal before the UK has one with Japan, it would put the UK at a competitive disadvantage and drive Nissan out of the UK.

 

I’m reminded of Philip of Macedon, who famously sent a message to Sparta: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” The Spartans replied with a single word: “If.” If our government is to make a success of Brexit, then it needs a bit of the old Spartan spirit. It needs to stop focusing on excuses, and develop a single-minded determination to achieve the best that it possibly can for Britain.Claim: If the EU negotiates a trade deal with Japan before the UK does, then it’ll be bad for British businesses. Quite probably so. How about, then, a solution? Let’s get on and make absolutely sure that we get there first.

 

The European Union claims that under Article 4(3) of the Treaty on European Union, we can’t do it. That gives us a duty of ‘sincere co-operation’ with the European Union whilst we’re members of it. It’s a great argument with just one small flaw: it’s utter baloney. My apologies for getting technical for a moment,  but whatever ‘sincere co-operation’ means, it cuts both ways. The EU isn’t ‘sincerely co-operating’ with us if they deliberately try to make it harder for us to succeed post-Brexit. They’re not meeting their obligations to their neighbours (ie. us) under Article 8 of the Lisbon Treaty either. And ‘sincere co-operation’ is poorly defined: it couldn’t possibly take precedence over better-defined parts of the Treaty on European Union – like for example Article 21(2)(e) which speaks of “progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade”. A European Union telling us we can’t talk to other countries about the progressive abolition of restrictions on international trade is a European Union ignoring its own rules, which to be honest is one of the main reasons we’re leaving in the first place. The European Union is supposed to respect the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994, of which Article 24(4) says that a Customs Union is to facilitate trade and not “to raise barriers to the trade of other contracting parties with such territories”. Which is precisely what the EU is doing – not because of the UK, but because they’re making it harder for Japan to negotiate a free trade deal with us by putting barriers in their way.

 

So the British government needs to get on with it, rather than playing into the EU’s hands. We know the EU takes a decade or more, on average, to negotiate trade deals (and if the EU suddenly develops uncharacteristic speed and negotiates the deal before Brexit, grandfathering arrangements will then apply to the UK). It’s a hugely bureaucratic process – not least because they need to get 28 countries to all agree a common negotiating position to be able to start negotiations with the other side. At every stage those 28 countries need to accept the deal, and any concessions made will disproportionately harm certain countries.  But we can do better than a decade. If our government has the bottle, we can get there first. If the Philippines can negotiate a deal with EFTA in just one year, surely the UK can negotiate deals quickly too.

 

What’s needed is the political will to make it happen. And that, with this Conservative government, is the biggest weakness in the whole Brexit process. Get Brexit right, and the benefits will be pretty much instant. Get it wrong, and it could take years. Courage seems to be in short supply at present: our government needs to develop a backbone – not just for the sake of workers in Sunderland, but for the many jobs that could be created if only it lost its self of self-deprecation and remembered that we’re a world leader in research, intelligence, science and technology, that we speak a global language and that we’re one of the world’s largest economies.

 

We’re an attractive catch for any nation to trade with; it’s high time we started acting like it.