Letter – Time for tougher prison sentences for animal abuse

Dear Editor,

I recently read with disgust the recent reports about local thugs in Seaham who tortured a stolen pet rabbit to death. This is completely unacceptable in our society and I was appalled to learn that they only received community sentences. Crimes like this deserve jail; these thugs got away virtually scot-free with a community sentence.

It is time we started to take animal abuse seriously; even in the most serious of abuse cases the maximum sentence is far too low with the maximum sentence being less than a year. It is high time the government increased the highest possible sentence, to ensure a much tougher punishment for those carrying out these disgusting crimes.

Jonathan Arnott MEP

UKIP, North East region

Letter – It is time to re-examine how we deal with international aid

Dear Editor,

Since 2010 our government has drastically cut services in all aspects of UK public life – whilst simultaneously paying hundreds of millions of pounds of international aid to India.  I would like to congratulate the people of India for the fantastic achievement of putting a satellite into orbit around Mars.  Of course I believe we should help out those in need.  But I can’t approve of paying hundreds of millions of pounds of foreign aid to a country that has such a space programme.  It’s not just an isolated case either; in recent years taxpayers’ money has gone to powers like Russia and Argentina.

Our aid budget needs to be spent where it will have the most impact, where people are most vulnerable.  We can’t justify giving money to these powers whilst people die from Ebola in Africa, and for that matter, whilst pensioners in Hartlepool face the choice of either being cold or hungry.  Let’s get hold of this bloated, ineffective aid budget and do our bit to make peoples lives better, at home as well as abroad.

Jonathan Arnott

UKIP MEP – North East

Letter- Response to Commissioner Andor’s comments on EU immigration

Dear Editor,

Laszlo Andor (EU Commissioner for Employment) has called uncontrolled mass immigration a “minor issue”, and amazingly, rather than addressing the issue, has suggested we should instead invest in new facilities, housing and services so that we can specifically support a further wave of EU immigrants.

These are harsh times. Unemployment remains high and millions of people face the choice this winter between heating and eating.   We already have a housing shortage, our schools are so overcrowded that playgrounds are being placed on rooftops, and councils across the region are making drastic cuts to basic services.

I can’t comprehend how the EU expects us to spend money we don’t have, to make room for thousands of new European immigrants in our towns and cities, when we are currently failing those who already live in them so badly.

How can Mr Andor expect us to improve health infrastructure when we are cutting services and staff hours all across the North East?   We need to put our house in order. We need to control our borders and our budget.  We need to get people out of fuel poverty and cut reliance on food banks.

Jonathan Arnott MEP (UKIP North East)

Letter- Thoughts on the Scottish referendum

Dear Editor,

I read with great interest yesterday’s feature on the town’s views on Scottish independence.

Westminster is not working for Scotland, nor is it working for Hartlepool, Guisborough or Blyth.    However the system can be fixed and made to work. I would implore the people of Scotland not to change the path of these Islands for all time based on short-term concerns about who forms the next government.

Governments and political systems can be reformed – and next May in all four corners of the UK millions of people will show their discontent with our out of touch political class.  Through this we can begin to reform the old broken system and refashion it into a system that will work for all of us, rather than just a select few in the Westminster political bubble.  It is my view that reforming the political system is preferable to its complete destruction as that would greatly impact so many of the ways we live our lives.

I believe in self determination and if the people of Scotland vote for independence then I will wish them the best of luck, but it is my view that both Scotland and the rest of the UK have a brighter future together than apart.

Jonathan Arnott

UKIP MEP – North East