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.

Letters – A new year, but there’s nothing new about Labour’s hypocrisy

Dear Editor,

We’ve seen and heard a host of smears on UKIP in recent weeks, which presumably, are set to increase further in the coming months as we get closer to the General Election.  The latest has come from Richard Bulmer in Sheffield, who suggests UKIP are out to protect big business.

If he takes a look at ‘Policies for People’, freely available for all to see at ukip.org, it clearly states ‘UKIP will set up a Treasury Commission to design a turnover tax to ensure big businesses pay a minimum floor rate of tax as a proportion of their UK turnover’.  Ultimately, this would work as a back stop for the tax system and ensure that every big company pays a fair share of tax.  

Only last July it was revealed that one of Labour’s biggest donors had poured millions of pounds into banks and energy companies that Ed Miliband had publicly condemned.  Back in October, Labour’s biggest individual donor, John Mills, was criticised for donating in shares rather than cash, since they can be gifted on a tax-free basis. 

If Labour wants to cosy up to big business then that is their prerogative.  But they can’t do that, and at the same time invent false attacks on UKIP claiming that we’re doing the same.  

The saying ‘people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones’ springs to mind.  It may be a new year, but there’s nothing new about Labour’s hypocrisy.

 

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East.