Labour’s Ronnie Campbell cosying up to big business, says UKIP’s Jonathan Arnott MEP

Labour’s MP for Blyth, Ronnie Campbell, is cosying up to big business, whilst ‘neglecting the people who pay his wages at the end of the month’, according to Blyth’s UKIP Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.

Mr Campbell said he ‘looked forward’ to working with the French government owned organisation, EDF ER, after the company acquired rights to develop the Blyth offshore wind demonstration project.

The project has the potential of seeing 15 wind turbines erected, up to 195m tall, meaning each turbine could be at least nine times the height of the North East landmark, the Angel of the North.

Arnott said “From this we can clearly see that Mr Campbell supports lavish ‘green subsidies’ which are given out to over-powering corporations and wealthy land owners, such as David Cameron’s father-in-law, to build and develop even more hugely inefficient wind turbines in the future.

“Campaigners say 6 million families are already in fuel poverty, with the figure set to hit 9 million by 2016.  By supporting this project, Mr Campbell is only adding to the pressures that families and pensioners across the country will face for winters to come.”

A recent study by the Adam Smith Institute and the Scientific Alliance found that, on average, wind farms produce 80 per cent of their potential power output for less than one week annually – and they manage 90 per cent output for only 17 hours a year.

Ben Southwood, Head of Policy at the Adam Smith Institute, said: “Wind farms are a bad way of reducing emissions and a bad way of producing power.

“They are expensive and deeply inefficient and it seems like they reduce the value of housing enormously in nearby areas”.

Arnott added “It’s inevitable that more expensive energy bills will destroy more job opportunities locally than they’ll create.”

Scrap subsidies for new wind farms

The UK should stop giving new subsidies for wind farms, according to UKIP’s North East MEP, Jonathan Arnott.

The call comes following the news that the anti-wind farm, Middleton Burn Action group, were barred from the premises of a public exhibition by a wind farm developer.

The community organisation were barred from the building where the organisation’s exhibition was set to take place, with the company claiming that some of its ‘large’ members had previously acted in an intimidating fashion.

The group has dismissed the accusation and slammed the company’s decision to bar the group from the property, maintaining it will take up a place outside the venue.

Arnott, UKIP’s local Euro MP, said “Taxpayers are still paying vast sums on top of their electricity bills to fund wind turbines across the UK. These subsidies, given to wealthy landowners and big corporations, have a devastating effect on pensioners and low income families in our region who will face the stark choice this winter between heating and eating.”

Middleton Burn Ltd is proposing to erect fourteen 125m turbines at its site in Belford, Northumberland.

The turbines would be six times the height of the Angel of the North.

Arnott added “By driving up energy costs, reducing competitiveness and deterring investment, a recent report highlights that for every one ‘green job’ created, four are destroyed elsewhere in the economy. Wind turbines are a hugely inefficient energy source which the taxpayer simply doesn’t get value for money from. We should scrap subsidies for wind farms at the earliest opportunity.”

The Labour MP for Hartlepool is treating voters with contempt

Iain Wright MP has treated the people of Hartlepool with complete contempt by voting against the proposed amendment to the MPs recall bill, according to UKIP’s North East Euro MP, Jonathan Arnott.

The statement comes following the recent vote on Monday in the House of Commons in which MPs rejected the amendment by 340 to 166.

Under the government-backed plans there would only be a by-election if 10% of constituents signed a petition after the sitting MP is either sentenced to more than 12 months in jail, or banned from the Commons for more than 21 days.

Mr Goldsmith, MP for Richmond Park and North Kingston, however, had created a rival plan in which MPs would face a recall referendum if 5% of voters in a constituency sign a “notice of intent to recall”, and 20% then sign a “recall petition”.

Arnott said “It is blindingly obvious the reason Mr Wright, along with majority of the house, voted against this bill – because they have zero trust in the electorate.  He is once again proving that he is only in politics for himself and has no regard for the concept of democracy”.

Labour’s shadow justice secretary, Sadiq Khan, said the Labour Party wouldn’t vote for a system that could give vested interests power to kick out MPs simply because they dislike the way a politician has voted on controversial issues.

Arnott, who has his office based in the town, added “The people of Hartlepool have voted for Labour years, and consistently they’ve been let down like a cheap pair of braces. If the people of Hartlepool feel that their MP has let them down – they should have the ability to kick them out and choose someone else. The people are the bosses of politicians, the people pay the politician’s wages, and politicians need to realise they should be putting the people’s best interest to the top of their agenda.”

EU’s demands for UK to pay additional £1.7bn is ‘outrageous

The EU’s demands for UK taxpayers to cough up an additional £1.7bn is ‘outrageous’ and the leadership of the Conservative Party is in ‘complete disarray’ according to UKIP’s EU budget spokesman, Jonathan Arnott MEP.

EU Chiefs plan to charge an additional £1.7 billion from UK taxpayers on the back of the UK’s better than expected economic performance in recent years.

Meanwhile, Syed Kamall, leader of the Conservatives’ MEPs, admitted this morning that Treasury officials may have known about the EU’s new demands a week ago.

Since then, Cameron told his MEPs to vote in favour of the EU’s new unelected commission, their whips overruled him and said to abstain, whilst still more MEPs voted against.

Arnott said “This farce would be as big a comedy of errors as Ed Miliband’s Party Conference speech if it weren’t so serious. Cameron broke his promise on the Lisbon Treaty, his much-trumpeted ‘budget cut’ was actually just a below-inflation rise, he failed to stop Juncker becoming Commission President and his EU ‘renegotiation’ hasn’t removed a single stroke of a pen from a single EU law. Now hard-pressed British taxpayers are being expected to cough up yet another pile of cash that we can’t afford. Cameron is out-manoeuvred at every stage by the European Union, and it’s our taxes that foot the bill”.

Eurocrats have recalculated national payments to the EU based on economic performance since 1995. Whilst the UK pays money to the EU, Germany and France are due to receive nearly £1.6bn between them.

It would add about a fifth to the UK’s annual net contribution of £8.6bn.

“It’s Alice in Wonderland stuff”, Jonathan Arnott continued. “Our ‘economic recovery’ is invisible in the North, yet we’re supposed to send cash to France. And Greece and Italy, in economic meltdown, are being expected to subsidise Germany. And these figures, backdated to 1995, are based on the EU’s estimate of illegal activities like drug dealing, which never gave the Exchequer a penny piece. The phrase ‘you couldn’t make it up’ has never been more apt.”

Time for a sensible discussion on e-cigarettes

Hundreds of thousands of people have managed to quit smoking cigarettes and moved on to e-cigarettes instead.  It’s pretty obvious that, although e-cigarettes aren’t exactly as healthy as quitting smoking altogether, in comparison they will drastically reduce the risk of the various health issues associated with smoking.

I wouldn’t object to a certain regulation of the e-cigarette industry; in much the same way as food and drink are regulated it’s important that consumers know what is in them and in what quantities so that they are able to make an informed choice.  It’s also a good idea to ensure that whilst they exist, they’re produced in such a way as to minimise any health risks.  On the other hand, the European Union Directives expect e-cigarettes to be classified as medicines and over-regulated accordingly, putting a lot of smaller firms out of business.  Phrases about sledgehammers and nuts spring to mind.

Research published in the Addiction journal shows that “people attempting to quit smoking without professional help are approximately 60% more likely to report succeeding if they use e-cigarettes than if they use willpower alone or over-the-counter nicotine replacement therapies such as patches or gum”.  We should be supportive of the e-cigarette industry not opposed to it.

In the Parliament’s Budgetary Control Committee there was a fascinating discussion about counterfeit cigarettes and smuggling.  There’s a huge problem with counterfeit cigarettes being smuggled into the UK and elsewhere; the EU’s proposed plain packaging would be a counterfeiter’s dream.  I’d never realised before that Committee that there’s also an issue with so-called ‘ant smuggling’, where people cross land borders into Europe a number of times a day bringing a relatively small (say, a thousand cigarettes at a time) number of cigarettes across.  It’s not an issue for the UK, but it is for much of the rest of Europe – another example of why a one-size-fits all approach doesn’t always work.

I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life.  I think I’d probably find I enjoy it, and I certainly don’t want to get addicted to cigarettes.  So I’ve done the responsible thing and never smoked.  Neither have I ever smoked an e-cigarette, so I have no axe to grind here.

I grew up in smoke-filled rooms (not the kind in which political parties made deals – I played chess to a decent standard, making the England Under-21 squad, and was regularly competing against adults in club matches from about the age of 7).  It was the League which acted first, long before the law, to ban smoking during matches.

The difference between then and now could hardly be starker.  No-one should be suggesting that we should go back to how things were in the 1980s and 1990s; for those who were in that environment on a daily basis I would find it difficult to believe that there wasn’t a serious danger attached to passive smoking.

Now, of course, Boris Johnson wants smoking banned in Hyde Park.  In such an open-air environment, where is the health risk to anyone other than the smoker?  And surely, if we drive those people to smoke indoors with poor ventilation, there will be a greater risk to their own health and that of their families.

A Wind of Hope Coming From Clacton

If there is a hope, then perhaps it lies in a gentle sea breeze blowing westward from Clacton.

A remarkable coincidence occurred last week on the train on the way back up to my constituency, sitting next to a colleague for whom I have enormous respect and discussing UKIP’s potential amongst the working class forgotten by our political elite.

He quoted a sentence from George Orwell’s 1984, which I’ve had on my mind for some time: “if there is a hope, it lies in the proles”. Neither of us would use the word ‘prole’ ourselves (although Matthew Parris might) to refer to the working classes because it has developed derogatory connotations since Orwell penned his ominous work in the 1940s. Orwell’s contention that hope against the Big Brother State lay with the working classes was explained “because only there, in those swarming disregarded masses, eighty-five percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated.” There’s a certain parallel with today’s political structure. It’s not in the trendy wine bars of Islington, or the seats packed with middle-class public sector workers, that anti-establishment feeling is likely to arise. Opposition to political correctness is unlikely to come from those who propagate it, and opposition to EU Directives is likely to come from those whose jobs are jeopardised by them.

The consequences of failing to comply with the politically correct establishment of today may be less horrifying than Room 101, but deviation from its path is enforced equally swiftly. Anything which strays from that message results in instant condemnation on Twitter and across the media. We’ve seen it in the last week. Nigel Farage comments that perhaps, in general, we should not allow those with serious life-threatening (and often communicable) diseases into the UK – at least not unless they can afford to pay for their own treatment – and witness the howls of outrage.

A University rugby team puts out a laddish, poor-taste, tongue-in-cheek leaflet. The appropriate reaction, to tell them to withdraw the leaflet and not to be so stupid in future, was missed. Instead, the club was suspended, it made the BBC news and students were ‘offered counselling’ in case they had been psychologically scarred from reading it. Anyone pointing out the overreaction, myself included, will no doubt be accused of ‘defending sexism’ or suchlike. No! I despise sexism, just as I despise racism, homophobia, and any other discrimination. I’m just saying that the offence taken should be proportional to the error, otherwise it cheapens the real ugliness of heartfelt racism like that I’ve seen for the first time in years in the European Parliament.

Political correctness is indeed hard to define, but you know it when you see it. But on the streets of the working-class constituencies which have the potential to be the future of UKIP, there is no such political correctness. The Conservatives are wrong to be so worried about UKIP ‘taking Conservative votes’, and Labour are wrong to be so complacent. Clacton contains Jaywick, the poorest Council ward in the country. UKIP did so well precisely because it was a working-class seat which has a huge disconnect with the Conservative Party. Thurrock and Boston & Skegness, both Conservative-held Labour targets which are likely to be snatched out of both of their hands by UKIP, may well be amongst the first to fall after Clacton.

But in the long-term, it is the Labour-held seats in working class areas which will be at risk in huge numbers. Clacton, Boston & Skegness and Thurrock fall into a very small category: strongly working-class seats with a Conservative MP. But in the longer term, there are far more such seats in Labour areas. In my own area alone (North East England) I might highlight Hartlepool, South Shields, Tynemouth, Blyth Valley, Wansbeck, Stockton South, Stockton North, Darlington and Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland amongst others as having potential for returning UKIP MPs in the longer term. Perhaps we won’t take many of those seats in 2015, but imagine how UKIP would do under an unpopular Labour government with Miliband as Prime Minister.

Labour can’t represent those voters because they don’t understand them. Up until now, they have relied on loyalty and Labour’s past reputation. Labour voters in those seats rarely provide a positive reason for voting Labour; rather, they explain that they have ‘always’ voted Labour – the Party which stood up for the working classes in the 50s and 60s. Once they finally get fed up with Labour, they will be just as loyal to UKIP as they were to Labour. In Sunday’s Survation poll which had UKIP on 25% of the vote, it’s noticeable that the Party was actually leading nationwide amongst the DE socio-economic groups.

Whilst Labour nationally seems complacent, local Labour constituency associations seem quicker to have spotted the UKIP threat. The challenge for UKIP here is merely to ensure that Labour’s lies go unchallenged. Where they claim that UKIP wish to privatise the NHS, we need to point out the lie – and go on to say that Labour are the Party of PFI. We need to point out that Labour peers Lord Winston and Lord Warner are the politicians who want to charge people to see their GP and pay for hospital visits.

Who said “A fully privatised NHS is the best option”? Actually, nobody said it. That’s just what Labour claimed on their leaflets in Heywood & Middleton that UKIP’s Deputy Leader said. He never did. He did once make a personal comment about procurement in the NHS, bemoaning the fact that we pay up to 30 times over the odds for some drugs. It wasn’t Party policy even so.

Likewise, some UKIP members are calling for the resignation of Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP after his sick tweet “UKIP says abort disabled children, put people w/learning diffs in camps & bans disabled candidates.” It’s about time that the Party started fighting back against such things. UKIP’s disabilities spokesperson Star Etheridge said “As a disabled person myself who encourages all other disabled people to enter politics, I find Mr Howitt’s repulsive comments deeply insulting and it is clear that he is not fit for office. He should hang his head in shame, issue an apology and stand down as an MEP. I am proud to be a UKIP councillor, I am proud to be UKIP’s Disabilities Spokesman. Mr Howitt’s comments are despicable.”

Strangely, nobody is claiming that Labour plan to charge patients to see their GP. Perhaps UKIP should offer Labour a deal: if they stop telling lies about us, we’ll stop telling the truth about them.