Today’s Lancashire Post has a wrap-around advertisement for the Labour Party. It’s an attack on the Tories. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it has said they think it shouldn’t be allowed. I’m not sure I agree. I don’t like it, of course, especially as it means that complacent old parties with deep pockets can get their shallow message out more easily than those of us who rely on volunteer help to deliver leaflets and work on social media, but I don’t like the alternative, of more controls on campaigning, either.
I suppose this attack ad is aimed at Preston and South Ribble constituencies. Labour have no chance elsewhere in the Evening Post’s area (Fylde, Wyre and Preston North, Ribble Valley). I don’t think they have much chance in South Ribble, either, although they did hold it for a while during the Blair regime. During the last parliament their only MP in the area was my main opponent in this election, the bored and complacent Mark Hendrick who, I suppose, is happy to have his bosses fund this advertising for him, as it saves him having to speak for himself.
What do Labour have to say? Three things, basically:
“The Tories are threatening our schools” Well, unlike any of my opponents I went to school locally, as did, and do, my family. And I’ve worked in education locally for many years, as have friends and family members. I think I’m well placed to judge. My observation is that the Tories “could do better”, especially for Lancashire’s schoolchildren, but Labour are “bottom of the class”. Top of the class, of course, are UKIP. Hear more about our outstanding education policies in this video.
There should be more free stuff. That’s what Labour’s famous for, of course. That, and not having any money left after 13 years of “prudence”.
They promise no student tuition fees, at a cost of about £25 billion a year (their figures), an extra £45 billion a year for the NHS and social care – that’s £70 billion so far. They think an extra 10,000 policemen is small change – they can’t add up, it would cost about another billion. And there’s more. They don’t need a magic money tree, but a magic money forest. UKIP shares some of the same aspirations, but ours are tempered with realism, such that our programme will pay for itself within two years without increasing taxes, largely due to a Brexit bonus of just under £10 billion, and is truly prudent.
I have noticed before (although hadn’t had time to blog about it) that the policies of which Labour are most proud, for example those listed on their election communication (delivered by Royal Mail) and in this anti-Tory ad, are often UKIP policies, too. But UKIP do them better, of course. We understand the real world, and have properly costed, prudent plans. We believe in Britain, and you should, too. Vote UKIP on June the 8th. In Preston, vote for me, Simon Platt, your local UKIP candidate.
I suppose it’s hard for Fiona to cut down what we all had to say to fit the space she had available, but I’m glad to say that she has reported my policies mostly accurately, although incompletely. I think she’s done a pretty good job.
There is one mistake, however, perhaps due to the poor telephone line over which we spoke: she wrote that UKIP “would increase medical training places by about 10,000 every year over a few years”, which of course is incorrect. (It would be a mistake of almost Abbottian proportions: it would increase the number of training places from 7,500 to 57,500 over five years, an increase of 767%!)
Here’s what I had to say, corrected as described above.
What are your plans for the NHS?
UKIP is the only party that has a plan for the combined health care and social care system. We’d have a joined up management. We would increase medical training places by about to 10,000 every year over a few years (from 7,500). We would introduce a licensing system for hospital managers. We will have a medical insurance recovery for migrants
How will you combat terrorism?
We would employ more policemen and prison officers. We’ve lost about 20,000 policemen over the last generation or so. We would reinstate that number and the resources they need. Our prisons are overcrowded – we would build more prisons but not knock down the other prisons. We would reintroduce Stop and Search (powers).
What kind of Brexit do you want to negotiate?
I want a full British Brexit. We’ll have a Brexit bonus of just under £10bn a year – our net contribution to the EU. We’ll be a self governing nation once again. We will be able to restore sovereignty over borders and fishing grounds.
How will you fund social care?
It’s a serious problem and we haven’t got a simple solution. We are proposing a Royal Commission to find a way forward. UKIP is very strong on inter-generational fairness. We are not keen on proposals that will require people to effectively give up their homes when they die rather than pass them on to their family.
Will you control immigration?
We have a policy over the next Parliament there will be zero net migration. We can’t achieve that while we are in the European Union.
What are your policies on the environment?
UKIP would repeal the Climate Change Act of 2008. It is no good for the environment and it damages our economy.
All through this election campaign I have been telling people that whatever happens in Preston will not change the government, and that they should therefore “vote local”. Theresa May has called this election to secure her position as Prime Minister and, I hope, to strengthen her position in Brexit negotiations with our European neighbours. On June the 9th we shall still have a Conservative government led by Theresa May, probably with an increased majority. Nothing Prestonians do can change that.
Don’t believe me? Perhaps you’ll believe this Labour Party candidate, and sitting MP, for Enfield North, a constituency in London:
“… no one thinks Theresa May will not be Prime Minister, or that she will not have the majority she needs to negotiate Brexit.”
To be fair to Joan Ryan, she seems like a good local candidate. “Independent-minded”, she says, unlike our own Mark Hendrick, who does what his Labour Party bosses tell him to do (when he can be bothered to turn up at all – see publicwhip.org.uk). But the main point here is this: in Preston, we are not voting for Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, we are voting for our local representative.
So vote for the best local candidate. That candidate is me. I am the only Prestonian among the five candidates; the only one with parents, grandparents, great-grandparents from Preston (I’m sorry I don’t know about the fourth generation); the only one with children born and raised in Preston, the only one with a long-term, intergenerational interest in Preston, the only one for whom Preston is more than just a means to an end, a means to a political career.
Vote for the only candidate who really cares about Preston, its people, its future. Vote Platt for Preston.
All the Preston candidates were given the opportunity to submit a 100-word statement for publication in last Tuesday’s Evening Post (I learned that even staff at the paper haven’t got used to calling it the “Lancashire Post”, so I don’t feel so bad when I call it the Evening Post myself).
Here’s my message:
As a lifelong Prestonian I am proud to be your UKIP candidate. I am passionate about my home city and believe in its bright future in an independent Britain.
Your vote in Preston will not decide who runs the country, but it can make a difference locally. As your MP I will stand up for the things that matter to the people of Preston: not just a successful Brexit, but also better schools, improved health and social care, a secure economy, a stronger community.
That’s why I’m standing for Preston, and that’s why I ask you to vote for me.