Re-engaging voters with politics will take more than hollow words

As we are now in a run-up to an election, many politicians are declaring their distress at low turnouts and slow voter registration.   The truth is that many people are disillusioned with politics full stop.  No matter what politicians promise or say, some people feel it won’t make a difference.

I regularly speak at public meetings all across the North East and at every single one  somebody will come up and thank UKIP for standing; saying that they haven’t voted in years and would not have voted this time if UKIP weren’t standing. This is something I am very proud of: UKIP may not be for everyone, but we have provided a voice and alternative option for many people who previously felt disenfranchised.

I’m living in the Easington constituency (one of the safest seats in England) and am standing for Parliament there.  For many years no-one but Labour has really campaigned there.  There are no no-go areas for UKIP, and – like many UKIP members standing in seats written off by the other parties – I hope to provide a real alternative choice in that area for the first time in decades.

The Scottish referendum showed how energised politics can be when people care about an issue and feel their vote matters.  When many young people in England don’t care about political parties, the answer isn’t more party politics but more direct democracy.

Giving power back to the people is core to UKIP’s beliefs. We believe local people not just politicians should be able to contribute towards the big decisions that impact their area.  Increased local democracy, referendums on key issues and a more representative voting system would all be positive steps to bring politics and power back to the people.

Letters – The level of immigration to the UK is unsustainable and will cause long term problems

Dear Editor,

New figures show that immigration to the UK has soared to 298,000 people per year. Just where are the government going find the jobs, housing, infrastructure and social and medical services that these people are going to need? Here in the North East we already have huge issues with a lack of housing, infrastructure, crippling council cuts and unemployment. How is a huge influx of more people going to do anything but put yet more pressure on these already serious issues?

Simultaneously, research from UCL shows many of our best and brightest are leaving for overseas.  Are they emigrating to the EU to enjoy the oft-hyped benefits of that union?  No, the top three destinations are Australia, America and Canada.

Our society is losing many of its best trained whilst constantly adding competition to those who are most vulnerable.   Whilst our NHS is crippled by a lack of British doctors and nurses and we are forced to recruit around the world, we are losing the sort of people who could fill these roles.

Meanwhile the working classes who already earn the least are seeing salaries and opportunities squeezed by evermore foreign workers applying for jobs while being prepared to work for less because our minimum wage is so much more than what they earned at home.   As the cost of living continues to rise; our youth and unemployed are faced with evermore competition for jobs that are paying less than they once did.

These immigration figures are unsustainable and will cause many long term problems if we can’t tackle the issue.  We must gain control of our borders, end open door immigration and reform our education system to ensure that we are training the skills that we need for our economy and vital services.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East



Letters – We must continue to empower local communities

Dear Editor,
I am very pleased to hear that local residents have been listened to over the controversial proposed DISC development in Ashgrove Avenue.

If the local community does not want a project of this type in their area they should be able to block it.   UKIP policy is all about returning power to the people and giving them the chance to decide on key issues in their community.  I am glad that in this case the views of the local community have been listened to.

I hope that DISC will now be able to find a more suitable venue for this project.

Jonathan Arnott MEP
UKIP, North East

Letter – The political class just don’t get it, do they?

Dear Editor,

The political class just don’t get it, do they?

Ed Balls has declared that a hedge trim or car wash should be treated the same way as a more formal purchase. He declares that people doing odd jobs “are not going to be VAT-registered” – all the while admitting that he himself hasn’t always treated purchases this way.

He is seeking to tax every drop he can from hard working people, not only seeking to grab yet more of their hard-earned money but also bury them under yet more red tape and paperwork.

But the fault doesn’t lie with the people, it lies with the politicians.  They should simplify the tax system, deal with the VAT mess, ensure big corporations pay their share and create a system where the rich can’t evade tax and expect to avoid prosecution.

Unlike Ed Balls and his Labour Cabinet colleagues, not all are millionaires: many people need these odd jobs to make ends meet and feed their families. Of course they should pay their taxes. But asking the local ice cream van for a receipt so we feel like ‘we’re all in it together’ isn’t going to solve the problem, and it might just be a tad patronising to the working people Labour used to care about, Mr. Balls.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Thank you to the people of Hartlepool

Dear Editor,

I would like to thank all of the local residents I met at the UKIP North East conference in Hartlepool last Saturday. I meet local people on a daily basis and have been delighted to watch the consistent growth that UKIP has enjoyed in the town. It was fantastic to get the chance to meet so many local people all at once and to even have passers by going out of their way to approach the venue to enthusiastically announce their support for UKIP.

The North East has effectively been a one-party state for too long. I am delighted that UKIP are able to provide a true opposition for local people and I look forward to see a very exciting election campaign develop in the months ahead. I believe that UKIP can make a real difference and we are putting up a strong, young, hardworking candidate in Phillip Broughton who I believe could make a real difference for the people of Hartlepool.

Even if UKIP are not to your tastes, a strong opposition is good for all of us. Many local seats have been “safe” for a long time and waking up complacent politicians is good for all in our communities.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – The public need honesty from politicans, not scaremongering and spin

Dear Editor,

The Labour Party has been scaremongering about UKIP since before the last European Election, so Ed Balls’ latest is hardly news. From false claims that UKIP wishes to privatise the NHS to false suggestions we wish to scrap maternity leave, there is hardly a vicious attack to which they aren’t prepared to stoop.

He suggests EU exit would be ‘deeply destabilising’ and the biggest risk to British firms this decade. Hardly so, when outside the EU we would be guaranteed a free trade deal with them. We are their best customer, and they would hardly wish to stop trading with us.

But outside the EU, Switzerland thrives: it has more free trade deals than we do, despite our membership of this economy-inhibiting bloc much touted by europhiles. The other European countries outside the EU thrive too. Outside the EU we could have the best of both worlds: free trade with our neighbours but freedom from overregulation and the ability to negotiate our own deals with developing economies.

Ed Balls repeats the mantra that we must seek to ‘reform’ the EU. Conservatives and Labour have had 40 years of attempted reform; it is worse now than when they started. But whenever the UK attempts reform, we fail. Cameron has had 4½ years of attempted reform and not one single stroke of a pen has been removed from a single EU law.

UKIP’s vision is not of isolationism, but of a dynamic trading nation looking beyond the shores of Europe to the whole globe.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East

Letters – Our justice system is failing victims

It is reported that a young mother was attacked by her boyfriend who forced his way into her home, threatened her with an iron bar, dragged her from her house, drove her to an abandoned quarry, made her strip naked and tied her to a tree – because she said she wanted to go home to bed and not spend the night with her attacker.  The attacker even threatened her life by saying ‘there’s already a hole dug for you.’  Unbelievably the attacker was sentenced to a mere 20 months in prison, a sentence  of which it is likely only half will actually be served.

Leaving aside the obvious point that the punishment doesn’t even come close to fitting the crime, one of the key principles of the justice system is that it should adequately protect the public from further offences.  If this were a single, isolated example of a failure within the system then it would be too much, but it is not: it is symptomatic of a much wider problem of victims being failed by our soft-touch sentencing policy for such violent offences.

We need to get a grip on the shattered justice system in this country.  We need to make sure that punishments fit the crime – and that sentences are meaningful, with an expectation that time will be fully served so that countless criminals do not get released without serving the sentences they were given.  Parole should be available on a case by case basis, not an expected aspect of the system.

Rehabilitation should always be a core priority for our justice system, but punishment and protecting the victim should never take a back seat role.  In the UK, the right-wing have traditionally been pro-tough sentences and the left-wing have been pro-rehabilitation.  In my view, and that of my Party, they should be two sides of the same coin.  The criminal justice system should be tough enough to act as a deterrent, making sure that no-one who has been to jail wants to go back.  Within that framework, every possible support should be provided for those in prison who wish to turn their lives around.  So I was also disgusted last month when a criminal released from jail, who had found an honest job on the outside, was returned to jail because of an administrative mix-up on the part of the prison relating to his job.  

Our system is failing victims and letting them down badly.  It is failing in attempts at rehabilitation during and after sentencing.  Society must not continue to sweep these issues under the carpet. 



Letters – The education system needs to be fixed now, not in 2025

Dear Editor,

Nick Clegg has declared that if the Liberal Democrats are still in power after the General Election, no child will be illiterate by 2025.

It is an absolutely damning indictment of Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems that any child can leave school illiterate.  This is not the pre-Victorian age, this is the year 2015.

Every child coming through the school system in this country should have a good standard of education – no excuses.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East.

Letters – Schoolchildren deserve better

Dear Editor,

I am stunned to learn that Central First School in Ashington has gone from teaching students in buses to making use of converted toilets and cupboards.

Our children deserve to be taught in fit for purpose classrooms, they simply should not be taught in buses – or worse toilets.  Again, I credit this school for finding ways to make the most of what they have available to them, but the point is they should not have to.  Our population is constantly rising, so the long running school places shortage may go from extremely serious to the point where it could be causing significant issues for an entire generation of students in this country.

Labour and the Conservatives have combined to drive the education system in this country into the ground and as a former teacher I hate to learn about children’s education being impacted so recklessly.  We need to get a grip on this issue, which has been allowed to fester for years with nothing being done to seriously address it.

We have seen governments aiming to build “cathedrals of learning,” spend millions of pounds on beautiful buildings and grounds, hiring armies of middle managers and investing in unnecessary technology.   What schools need is more classroom space and more teachers – and that needs to be the main priority from now on.  Don’t push for this because it’s what UKIP want, push for it for your children’s sake.


Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East


Letters – We must build a stable, value for money NHS

Labour’s Scottish leader has boasted of plans to collect money in England to fund Scotland’s health service.  This is the sort of political and economic absurdity that has put the NHS and the country in the state we have found it in recent years; there are only so many ways that Labour can claim they’ll spend money from their so-called Mansion Tax.  Labour do not know how much money this tax (if ever implemented) would raise and counting on that money to provide key services is reckless.

Here in Hartlepool we well know the dangers of ill-conceived healthcare strategies.  The solution to many of our local and national issues (especially the NHS) is not just how much is spent, but how the money is spent.

We must sit down and look at our NHS, from top to bottom, see what is being spent and ensure waste and mismanagement is removed so that we can have a stable, effective health system.  The solution is not just adding a few more billion to the budget every year but making sure that the NHS provides value for money.