It was my pleasure to attend the UKIP North East Conference in Hartlepool on Saturday 7th February. The event was well attended and included a speech from UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage, in which he stated that he expects Hartlepool to be one of UKIP’s first seats in Westminster. The feeling is though, that UKIP will generally do very well in the North of England, coming at least second in many seats; it now is the main opposition party to Labour in this region, which reinforces the “two horse race” message on my second leaflet for Stockton North.
It is clear that we have a real chance of also winning Stockton North and it’s certainly true to say – Vote Tory, get Labour – Vote UKIP, get UKIP. From the support I’ve been seeing on the streets when I’ve been out and about I am confident I have an excellent chance of taking the seat from Alex Cunningham.
Policies discussed at the conference included, of course, the NHS, where Louise Bours and other speakers reiterated the UKIP commitment to keep the NHS free at the point of need and delivery, alongside the commitment to give an extra £3 billion to the NHS and keep it separate from the current TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) negotiations. We will save £2 billion on health tourism by insisting that visitors to the UK have an NHS approved insurance policy – in the same way as we have to buy travel insurance when we go abroad. UKIP is also committed to making hospital car parking free in England. It was pointed out time and time again that it was Labour that started the privatisation of the NHS through expensive PFI (Private Finance Initiative) agreements, through which Labour signed deals to borrow £50 billion to build new hospitals that will cost the country £300 billion to repay. UKIP has promised no new PFIs.
Locally, Phillip Broughton, the UKIP parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool, emphasised our commitment to keeping Hartlepool and North Tees hospitals open. We will reopen closed departments and reinvest in these hospitals, as opposed to supporting a PFI funded hospital in Wynyard.
I was honoured to chair the afternoon session and introduced, amongst others, Melanie Hurst, our prospective candidate for Wansbeck, who gave some persuasive arguments as to why women should vote UKIP. I also introduced Paul Nuttall, our deputy leader. Paul, who will be standing as MP for Bootle in the General Election, gave a powerful speech about “Taking on Labour in their Heartland” and criticised the Labour elite for becoming detached from ordinary people. He said most of them would fail the working man’s club test. I mean, could you see Ed Miliband enjoying a pint in the Billingham Synthonia Club?
The subject of Halal and Kosher meat is headline news once again as UKIP has announced a new policy – to support the BVA and RSPCA in calling for a ban on non-stun slaughter.
I am the UKIP PPC for Stockton North and proud to be Jewish. I am a secular Jew and do not follow the Kosher laws.
In the Jewish religion, the present day Jewish leaders have declared that administering an electric shock to an animal prior to shehitah (Kosher slaughtering) is prohibited, because it incapacitates the animal and renders it a trefah (an animal unfit to eat). And hence the current dilemma.
The rules regarding Kosher meat were adopted during a time when the wrong preparation of food could easily cause illness or death and were, I believe, designed to provide protection.
It could also be possible that the Kosher rules were not to do with safety and were purely developed around religious interpretation. Either way, I don’t think it makes any difference to my arguments below as to whether the rules were for safety, religion or a mix of the two.
My belief is that it is right that an animal should be slaughtered in the most humane way possible. So what does this mean for Kosher laws?
An animal that is stunned by electric shock is rendered temporarily unconscious, or asleep. The animal is not dead, it is not injured and it continues to live totally unharmed at this point. The animal’s heart is still beating and if it were now left alone it would quickly wake up and continue its life unharmed. Surely, one could therefore argue that the animal is not trefah? Electrical stunning did not exist at the time the Kosher laws were established, but the whole spirit of the Kosher laws were designed to prevent the animal from suffering. Would it be so wrong to update the laws to include electrical stunning before slaugher, or it is forbidden for me even to raise this as an issue to be debated?
In conclusion, we are in the 21st century now and have moved a long way forward from whence our ancestors started. They developed rules within the knowledge they had at the time to best help their society move forward. So what I would like to see now is that we continue to move forward and make small but meaningful changes that ensure we continue to develop and integrate with modern British society. Is it such a big change for an animal to be sleeping when slaughtered instead of awake?
Nine months ago, the voters of Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire voted for a UKIP MEP to represent them in the European Parliament. It was the political parties themselves that then decided the individuals who would represent them if the party was successful in the elections.
It is completely undemocratic when the voters voted for UKIP, to find themselves just nine months later with a Conservative MEP.
Because UKIP won the election and not Amjad Bashir, he should do the honourable thing and resign.
Sign my petition here: https://www.change.org/p/amjad-bashir-resign-as-an-mep
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.