By Jonathan Arnott MEP
Like many people, I had always thought the answer to the question in the title was `never´. How can it be acceptable to treat someone badly because of their race, background, or the colour of their skin?
But over recent weeks I’ve been sickened to discover that in the minds of some people there is, apparently, an exception. In the event that racism is directed at a Ukip member, it seems to be open season for such comments.
Last week, we had the Labour North London Twitter account which described Ukip as being full of “evil money grabbing Jews”. The Labour Party eventually managed a lukewarm denial that the account (which bore the Labour Party logo and was followed by various Labour MPs and MEPs including one of my own North East Labour MEP colleagues) was official.
Part of my North East England constituency is Stockton. Our prospective candidate for Stockton North, Mandy Boylett, is Jewish. She received a letter from her local Labour MP which essentially accused her of being anti-Semitic. When she complained of this treatment, a second letter was published on the MP’s website – circulating her personal details online for all to see. Mandy wrote to Ed Miliband, suggesting that the Labour leader might care to intervene. The Labour leader’s office didn’t even respond.
Follow Jonathan Arnott on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JonathanArnott
According to Alex Cunningham, the present Labour MP for Stockton North’s posting on his Facebook page, he was “pleased to make a short speech about the need for Palestine to be recognised” in what he described as a “packed and passionate debate in Parliament on the Middle East crisis.” He was, of course, supporting his leader, Ed Miliband, who had proposed a motion that recognised Palestine as a state.Interestingly,several key senior Labour figures including Rachel Reeves and Luciana Berger decided to absent themselves from this debate – due to the “whipping” system, members of the Labour Party who were present had to vote for the motion.
Recognition of Palestine at this time is actually detrimental to negotiations for a peaceful solution, because the “government” of Gaza is the terrorist organisation, Hamas. A few days after this motion was passed, Hamas terrorists burst into a Jerusalem synagogue during morning prayers wielding a gun and butcher knives. They killed four Rabbis and a policeman, in what a Hamas spokeman called “an heroic action”.
The Hamas Covenant states that Jews have only “negative traits”, and recommends killing them “without distinction of whether they are in Israel or elsewhere”. So, these are the policies of people that our local MP is pleased to support.
Israel is not perfect, but it is the only free, democratic country in the Middle East which promotes equal rights, regardless of sex or sexual orientation. The only long term way to get peace in the region is through a negotiated settlement – giving something to one side, as Ed Miliband and Alex Cunningham have done is not only bad judgement, but sends out entirely the wrong message.
Instead of Labour’s one sided policy, the UK should push much harder for international pressure to be brought on Hamas, and to make it clear that recognition of Palestine should only occur once terrorism is renounced and the rights of Israeli citizens and Jews everywhere are fully respected.
I attended a meeting of the UKIP Friends of Israel on 2nd December in London. The main speaker was Douglas Carswell and the meeting was run by Rabbi Shneur Odze, an MEP candidate for the North West region in the European Elections.
Douglas Carswell drew some interesting analogies between Israel and the UK. Both Israel and the UK are democratic countries which should be allowed to rule themselves without external interference, and it should be remembered that Israel is the one free and open democracy in the Middle East, which does not discriminate against women or on the grounds of sexual orientation.
Other speakers included Steven Woolfe, an MEP for the North West region and the UKIP Migration Spokesman and Nathan Gill, MEP for Wales.
My own view on Israel is that at the present time it was premature for Ed Miliband to propose a motion that recognises Palestine as being a state. Recognition of Palestine at this time is detrimental to negotiations for a peaceful solution. The “government” of Gaza, Hamas, is a terrorist organisation. Mr Miliband imposed a one line whip on this vote, which means that those members of his party who turned up to the vote had to vote in favour of the motion. It is interesting to note that key senior Labour figures including Rachel Reeves and Luciana Berger decided to stay away, unlike Stockton North MP Alex Cunningham who voted in favour of the motion.
… requesting that he either condone or condemn the vile letter sent to me by his MP for Stockton North, Alex Cunningham. I am hoping that he will distance himself from Mr Cunningham’s tactics so that we can have an election campaign about the issues, and not one dominated by the smearing of the candidates.
I’ve heard the saying that a week is a long time in politics, but I think I have only just truly appreciated what it means, after the astonishing week I have just had.
It started well enough on the Sunday, when I abseiled off the Transporter Bridge in Middlesbrough for Butterwick Hospice. Fast forward to Thursday, when I received a rather upsetting letter from Alex Cunningham MP, the Labour MP for Stockton North who I will be unseating on May 7th next year. Judging by the letter I received, he is already rattled, but I have to say, Mr Cunningham, accusing a Jewish girl of supporting antisemitism is perhaps not your smartest move to date. My response is here. You can see Mr Cunningham’s response in this article in the Northern Echo. You will see he has not apologised to me, but stands by the objectionable letter he sent.
On Thursday evening, I went to Middlesbrough Town Hall to attend the live screening of Question Time. I had applied for tickets to be in the audience on the BBC website, as had some other UKIP supporters from our local branch. I believe the BBC website had not been working properly so they were actually short of people to attend. However, this did not stop the Stockton South Labour Candidate, Louise Baldock, complaining to the Northern Echo about BBC bias. I am still puzzled at how she can complain about not being in the audience when she didn’t apply to be in the audience. It’s a bit like complaining that you never win the lottery when you don’t buy a ticket. Louise let her feelings be known on Twitter, so I joined in the debate. (Click the image to see it full size).
Unfortunately I did not get to ask either of the questions I had prepared for Question Time. But for your interest, here is what I would have asked:
- Is it sensible that British energy intensive industries and jobs are being driven to countries with lower environmental standards because of high energy prices caused by Green Directives?
- Given the EU accounts cannot be signed off for the 19th year running, is there any reason why we should give any more money to this corrupt institution?
I tried to follow Louise on Twitter but discovered that I had been “blocked”. This I could understand if I ever behaved in the vile, intimidatory manner of certain Labour supporters. However, I prefer to discuss the issues and the policies as that is what people are actually interested in. So I wonder why, Louise, did you feel you needed to block me? You are welcome to follow my account.
Finally on Saturday I attended the UKIP North West conference in Southport and listened to some top class speeches. Louise Bours, our health spokesman, spoke passionately about how the NHS will remain free at the point of need and how there will not be a two tier system where those who can afford to pay get better treatment. Nevertheless, we will insist that all visitors to the UK have NHS approved travel insurance before they are allowed to enter the country – just as we buy travel insurance when we go on holiday abroad. This measure alone will save us £2 billion a year and stop health tourism.
Blair Smillie, a UKIP MP candidate and the great grandson of Robert Smillie, one of the founders of the Labour Party, spoke about the country’s energy policy. Blair is campaigning for the possible re-introduction of British Coal mining, using newer clean technologies to drastically reduce emissions from power stations. The Labour Party abandoned the miners in favour of continuing their love affair with Brussels and their green taxes. You can read here about why Blair decided to stand for UKIP.
Jonathan Arnott, our UKIP North East MEP, spoke about how the EU accounts could not be signed off for the 19th year running. He said: “The auditors’ report shows that last year’s massive increase in errors and fraud in the EU budget was no one-off but part of a systemic failure. We’ve got multinationals claiming small business relief, farms claiming buildings as grazing land and officials pocketing five times the going rate for their jobs. The EU’s budget is now riddled with an error rate of almost 5%. That’s three times as much money as the UK is being expected to hand over to the EU on December 1st (£1.7 billion). Any small business acting in such a manner would be closed down, but apologists for the EU look the other way when confronted with the evidence of mismanagement and fraud.”
I am looking forward to next week 🙂
Yesterday (2nd November) was the day, which to my mind had come around all too soon. Full of trepidation, I was strapped up and helmeted, then made my ascent up the steps to the top of the Transporter Bridge with two other people, all of us determined to fulfill our promises to abseil off the Transporter Bridge and raise money for Butterwick Hospice, a worthy local charity.
The higher we climbed, the windier it got, and at the top we attached ourselves to the railings so we didn’t get blown off. I edged my way over to the precipice when it was my turn, glancing anxiously at the fastenings to make sure they were all done up properly, as you do.
The most scary bit was when you climb over the edge and start to descend. But once I got going, it was just pure, unadultered fun. Never mind being 50, I felt more like I was five as I plummeted to earth more quickly that Ed Miliband’s ratings after eating a bacon sandwich.
There’s a video below, and a photo gallery with some of the other lovely people present at the event.
There’s still time to donate to Butterwick Hospice, by visiting Just Giving or you can text UKIP99 £2 to 70070 to donate £2.
LOCAL POLITICIAN KEEPS PROMISE SHOCK!
UKIP’S MANDY BOYLETT TO THROW HERSELF OFF BRIDGE
It sounds like a voter’s dream come true, doesn’t it? A politician keeping a promise AND flinging themselves off a high structure. Two birds with one stone,in fact!
But at the risk of disappointing some by being attached to a secure fitting, UKIP’s PPC for Stockton North, Mandy Boylett will be benefitting one of Teesside’s most deserving charities, when she abseils down the side of our iconic Transporter Bridge on Sunday November 2nd.
Although it’s a frightening prospect, Mandy Boylett feels she cannot back out, having made a cast iron promise to raise money for the Butterwick Hospice to her family and friends. She’s a firm believer that charity begins at home.
Mandy added: “In addition to throwing myself into my campaign to get elected as UKIP MP for Stockton North next year, I’m throwing myself off the Transporter Bridge to raise money for Butterwick Hospice, a charity close to my heart.”
You can make donations online by visiting https://www.justgiving.com/Mandy-Boylett/ or text UKIP99 £5 to 70070 to sponsor her for £5.
UKIP candidate for Stockton North urges North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation trust to “come clean” about future plans.
Commenting on the “mothballing” of the £300 million Wynyard Hospital Project, Mandy Boylett said: “It is good that North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust have finally come clean about their intentions towards this vanity project of a hospital, even though they have wasted £6.8 million in the process, but it leaves the shambolic state of the NHS in this region laid bare. Resources have been spread very thin over the past few years whilst there has been all this uncertainty, and instead of investment and expansion in North Tees hospital, quite the opposite has occurred.
“Departments have been closed – the haematology unit at North Tees and the A&E and maternity units at Hartlepool. I have also heard (unconfirmed) rumours that the pathology department at North Tees is due to close and the breast screening department is going to move to Hartlepool. Will the Trust confirm or deny these rumours? Either way, a lack of regard to the people of this region has been displayed by the local NHS bureaucrats, the Westminster elite and a prime minister who doesn’t even know the difference between the Tyne and the Tees.
“It’s time to start investing in the existing hospitals of North Tees and Hartlepool, reopen the closed departments and open new departments as medical advances occur to enable these hospitals to be fighting fit for the future! ”
Mrs Boylett added:
“I know the current argument against expanding North Tees is that there isn’t currently the space, but all it takes is a little creative thinking. This would be cheaper solution and North Tees is a better location for a hospital than Wynyard as it is more central to the constituency and has better transport links.
“This could also avoid a multi million pound PFI or Private Finance Initiative, alternatively known as a “Wonga” loan for Governments. A PFI is a very expensive way for Governments to borrow money. It doesn’t appear on the balance sheets as public borrowing, yet costs three times as much as standard public borrowing, mortgaging tax payers to the hilt for 25 years. PFIs were started by Labour and continued by the Tories. Only UKIP, the party of common sense, is saying no to PFIs. “
What’s wrong with Stockton Town Centre?My investigation and plan for action
It seems to me that the Labour led coalition running Stockton Council couldn’t have done more to damage Stockton Town Centre if it had tried.
“I remember forty years ago, when Stockton was a vibrant, bustling, market town,“ said one shop owner to me in Stockton last week. Yet it’s been downhill all the way ever since.
Figures released by the Local Data Company (LDA) a few weeks ago showed that Stockton has the fifth worst figure in the country for empty shops, as highlighted recently by UKIP North East MEP Jonathan Arnott.The shop owners and market traders I spoke to all know what’s gone wrong – and it really is common sense – something that the council doesn’t seem to have.
Problems include difficult access due to road works and seemingly continual, long lasting redevelopments “repairing the high street for the second time in 10 years is not the answer,” said one frustrated shopkeeper. In fact, this will be the second Christmas in a row that the High Street will have been dug up.
One trader remarked to me that entire housing estates were completed more quickly than the high street regeneration, where some works have had to be redone because of mistakes. Also, a lack of free parking and the reduction in the size of the market are all contributing to the continuing demise of the town centre, which started with the building of Teesside Retail Park and its many free parking spaces, back in the nineties. “The market used to extend the whole length of the High Street, and provided a great reason for people to walk the full length of the High Street and this brought me extra trade,” said one shop owner located just off the far end of the High Street. “It provided a great reason for people to come to Stockton.”
But now the market will never again have the opportunity to extend the full length of the High Street because the council are using the space instead to create a massive fountain. Shop owners and market traders are agreed that
this will be detrimental to commerce in Stockton centre, yet there is now no turning back on this flawed, yet expensive, vanity project, which in addition to taking up space that could be used by market stalls, will undoubtedly invite antisocial behaviour.
Parking issues, especially a lack of free parking on the High Street, are also a problem. There is free parking throughout the nearby Teesside Park, and two hours free parking in Middlesbrough. Both of these facts conspire to pull trade from Stockton. The Stockton council offer of free parking after 3pm in the run up to Christmas is not enough. “Stockton is dead after 3pm. Nobody wants to shop here then,” remarked one trader.
It should also be noted that parking will be free after 1pm in Redcar and Cleveland Council car parks for rest of the year. The sad fact of the matter is that the ‘regeneration’, costing £38 million, has damaged, not helped, both the shops and the market traders. You could have provided a lot of free parking with that sort of money.
In addition, there are a constant stream of trade fairs and events which take trade away. “People coming to a music festival do not want to buy goods from this shop, and people who do want to buy stay away whilst the festival is on.”
One shop owner told me she had spoken to consultants from the council to see how the situation could be improved, and she has received a small reduction on business rates. However, for the most part these “consultations” appear to be no more than a box ticking exercise and nothing ever changes.
So I would propose these “common sense” changes to boost the High Street:
- No more unnecessary redevelopments or vanity projects
- Two hours free parking every day
- Switch off the fountain on market days to allow more market stalls on the High Street.
- Provide free parking whenever the market is on, to encourage more people into Stockton and more market stalls to come to Stockton town centre. This measure would, I believe, actually raise revenue for the council.
It should be noted here that one of UKIP’s policies is to encourage councils to provide more free parking in town centres.