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With the European Union, even when you win the battle you’re still losing the war

I’m writing this with an oddly surreal sense that something is fundamentally wrong with the universe. Okay that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but something happened today that is a historical first.

As a UKIP member of the European Parliament, I’ve actually managed to get one (technically three along similar lines) of my amendments to the EU budget passed by the Parliament. Things like this aren’t supposed to happen: having previously submitted many hundreds of proposals to save taxpayers’ money, I’ve always watched them voted down by huge majorities.

When I was a young teenager I was taken on a school exchange visit to Northern Spain. Part of the visit included going to a bullfight, and I won’t ever forget either the stench of blood mixed with sand on a hot summer day or the cheering of the crowd at an animal’s suffering.

Even if you consider bullfighting to be acceptable (and I certainly don’t), this is not what our taxes should be going towards.

I’ve been pushing my opposition to the use of EU money (and, therefore, your taxes) to subsidise bullfighting for the past three years. The last time the issue came up, the European Parliament complained about the practice – only to be told by the European Commission that EU regulations didn’t allow the Commission to do anything about it.

As it seemed like the issue had been quietly dropped, I had another go. I drafted an amendment suggesting that as the Commission are responsible for drafting EU Regulations, they might do well to actually fix the offending Regulation rather than adopt a ‘not me, guv’ approach.

I did all the usual things – a quiet word here and there with those who might support me, and I emailed my entire Committee to ask for their support. When the vote was lost in Committee, I thought that was likely to be the final result – but together with some Italian colleagues, we persuaded others in my Group to allow us to retable the amendments to the full Parliament.

We won, making it the first ever UKIP amendment to the EU Budget to be passed by the European Parliament. It honestly came as a bit of a surprise, because I thought we’d need the Committee’s backing to get the vote through the Parliament.

I would now be busy with a self-congratulatory slap on the back, if it weren’t for two things. Firstly, the Commission may again try to weasel their way out of dealing with the problem. Secondly – and far more importantly – I tabled over 300 other amendments on different subjects with the aim of saving taxpayers’ money, and from the EU’s perspective they really should be preparing for the hole in their budget that Brexit will cause. Others were calling for more transparency about the activities of the unelected European Commission. Those other amendments were all rejected out of hand, though surprisingly one demanding transparency failed by just thirty votes – one win, one near-miss, and hundreds of losses.

I find it incredibly frustrating that as a UKIP MEP, I’m often accused of doing nothing or not trying to minimise the problems caused by the EU: the reality couldn’t be further from the truth, it’s just that we’re usually outvoted by those who want (and most of them admit it) a United States of Europe.

Many people used to claim that the EU can be reformed. At one time they would have cited this one victory as evidence that reform is possible, but the EU’s intransigence over Brexit negotiations must surely now show what a pipe dream that was.

A victory is still encouraging, even when every victory is accompanied by over a hundred defeats. But with the European Union, even when you win the battle you’re still losing the war. Roll on Brexit!

Bull fighting cash shown the red card

Bull fighting cash from taxpayers’ money may be about to end – after North-East Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott successfully got an EU budget amendment passed.

Over the last three years animal lover Mr Arnott has been a consistent campaigner against British taxpayers’ money going to support bullfighting in other European countries.

And today (Wed) he walked into the record books – by being the first UKIP MEP to get a budget amendment passed by the European Parliament.

“I am delighted that this important animal welfare measure has gone through the European Parliament. Whatever you think about bullfighting, it is morally indefensible for British taxpayers’ money to be spent supporting it,” said Mr Arnott.

“I remember being taken to a bullfight as part of a school exchange trip when I was a teenager, and I’ll never forget the stench of blood or the baying of the crowd, cheering on the death of a defenceless animal. I just hope that this measure is not now watered down by the European Commission.”

Three bullfighting amendments written by Mr. Arnott were passed the European Parliament by votes of 385-242, 386-238 and 401-217 respectively.

It is believed to be the first time that a UKIP amendment of any kind has been approved by the full European Parliament, let alone on a Budgetary vote, although previous UKIP amendments have succeeded in committee stages or on changes to the European Parliament’s agenda.

The irony of a UKIP proposal being passed in the European Parliament is not lost on Mr. Arnott: “I’ve joked with some of my colleagues that I might be in trouble with the Party leadership if one of my proposals has actually gone through.

“Seriously though, I am disappointed that my other proposals for ‘victimless cuts’ to the EU budget have fallen on deaf ears, but it makes a change to be able to actually make some kind of genuine difference out here,” he said.

The amendments state: “Appropriations will not be used to support the breeding or rearing of bulls for bull fighting activities. Takes note of the Commission’s 2015 executability letter on this topic which stated: ‘This amendment modifies the legal provisions of the CAP, in particular Regulation (EU) No 1307/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council, and is therefore not executable.’ Demands, therefore, that proposals be initiated to change the relevant pieces of legislation to ensure no appropriations are used to support the breeding or rearing of bulls for fighting.”

PRESS-RELEASEV2

Jonathan Arnott MEP has condemned the European Council for ordering 4,000 bottles of Champagne.

Local Euro-MP Jonathan Arnott has condemned the European Council for ordering 4,000 bottles of Champagne.

“This is taxpayers’ money and meanwhile so many of my constituents in the North East struggle to buy foodstuffs, never mind splash out on expensive fizz,” he said.

“When they divide up the EU’s assets, will this country be entitled to receive 500 of these bottles? And if so, can we please use them to raise a glass to toast Brexit and the end of these obscene wastes of taxpayers’ money for once and for all? “

Mr Arnott, EU Budget Committee member and UKIP’s Treasury spokesman, made his comments in the wake of the European Council putting out a tender for 1,000 bottles of champagne a year for a four year stint.

“The profligate waste of taxpayers’ money over the years is one of the reasons people in this country voted for Brexit but European bureaucrats are still acting in “Carry on Regardless” mode,” he said.

LETTERS

Welcome for proposals to increase prison sentences for drivers who cause death by dangerous driving

Dear Editor,

I welcome Government proposals to increase prison sentences for drivers who cause death by dangerous driving or while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The plans suggest the same should apply for causing death by speeding, racing or using a mobile phone and it is proposed that the current 14 year maximum should be increased to life, making it equivalent to manslaughter, which in reality is what it is.

With an automatic third reduction for a guilty plea the maximum a motorist, who admits such an offence, can receive is less than ten years and is usually less. While no sentence can bring back the life of the victim their families so often leave court feeling that justice has not been done.

Raising the limit to life will enable judges to impose higher sentences more in keeping with the gravity of the offences.

But I was disappointed to read that the Prison Reform Trust and the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety do not support raising the maximum terms with the former instead suggesting longer driving bans and “community based intervention.”

Frankly that is both out of touch with public feeling and reality. A driving ban, long or short, will not deter many of the defendants whose selfish behaviour has wiped out a life.

Meanwhile I am pleased that the proposals also include a new offence is to be created of causing injury by careless driving as this fills a gap in existing legislation.

 

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott MEP

Statement on my appointment as Political Advisor and Treasury Spokesman

I’m delighted to have been appointed to the roles of Political Advisor and Treasury Spokesman by the new Party Leader Henry Bolton.

 

Promotions for Jim, Margot, and Mike, are well-deserved. I look forward to working with them as the Party must now move forward.

 

The Labour Party has become a threat to the Brexit which the people voted for, and which they supported in their Manifesto.

 

Sadly, the Conservative government has pursued a weak and insipid negotiation strategy which is weakening our national hand whilst emboldening an intransigent Brussels.

 

UKIP must now be back in the game, for the sake of our nation. To that end, we must rally around Henry as Party Leader, roll up our sleeves, and get to work.

Labour’s Brexit immigration lie

LETTERS

The Gambling Commission has found that 450,000 children are gambling every week

Dear Editor,

Gambling is so often the preserve of the poor and the desperate. Sadly too many find themselves in such financial straits in the North East.

It is all too easy to be lured into betting and the growth of online gambling is making it even easier –  all from the comfort of your own home or even out and about with a mobile phone.

Now it emerges that bookmakers are apparently targeting youngsters by using children’s cartoon characters to promote their online service.

I am glad to see that the ASA is investigating, particularly as the Gambling Commission has found that shockingly 450,000 children are gambling in England and Wales every week.

Youngsters are particularly susceptible as playing online games is part of their culture. The Local Government Association has revealed that one in ten children aged between 11 – 15 are “following” gambling firms on social media.

It is ironic that it was a Labour government that liberalised the gaming industry allowing its evils to proliferate and it is those in its traditional heartlands, such as this region, who are paying a particularly high price.

Yours faithfully

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

The government plans to impose vicious cuts upon the Army Air Corps.

Dear Editor,

I was deeply disappointed to learn that the government plans to impose vicious cuts upon the Army Air Corps.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party have been justly criticised for their attitude towards our Armed Forces but the record of Tory governments under both David Cameron and Theresa May have been equally appalling.  Despite this record, the Conservatives tend toreceive relatively little criticism for their decisions towards our Armed Forces.

The Conservative Party like to talk big on defence spending and constantly say that they view our Armed Forces as a key priority for any government.  However, the actions of successive Tory governments have proven that these are no more than empty words designed to win votes.

Defence must always be a priority for the British Government but it appears that neither our current government nor the official opposition can be trusted to properly defend our nation and give our Armed Forces the resources and funding that they require.

What a deeply troubling state of affairs.

Regards,
Jonathan Arnott MEP

LETTERS

I welcome plans to increase animal sentencing guidelines

Dear Editor,

I have long complained about the inadequacy of sentences handed down for animal cruelty so I am delighted that Michael Gove plans to increase the maximum jail term to five years.

The current maximum of six months is woefully low and with an automatic third off for a guilty plea very few people are actually put behind bars for such offending behaviour. I hope that the proposals also include the imposition of far longer bans on animal ownership.

The case of two brothers given a suspended sentence at Hartlepool Magistrates for appalling cruelty to a young bulldog – which they had sickeningly videod – is a case I highlighted at the time as demonstrating the need for a change in the law.

We are known as a country of animal lovers and this proposed change is very long overdue. The Sentencing Council needs to ensure that when it is on the statute book the guidelines they issue actually results in deterrent sentences so these thugs don’t keep walking away laughing.

Yours faithfully

Jonathan Arnott,