Labour’s poor advertisement in the Lancashire Post

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.
  • “The NHS is in critical condition under the Tories” That’s rich, coming from the party whose policy of wasting £billions on Private Finance Initiative projects has been aptly described as “buy one hospital, pay for six”. UKIP is the party that really cares for the health of the British people, with realistic plans to revitalise the NHS and integrate social care. Hear more about UKIP’s plans for health and social care 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”.
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    Labour’s legacy: the note left by Liam Byrne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the last Labour Government. “I’m afraid there is no money”. No, Liam, it wasn’t funny.

    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.

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My stance on key issues, in the Lancashire Post

All Preston’s candidates were recently interviewed by the Evening Post’s Fiona Finch, for a feature in today’s paper.

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%!)

What we would actually do is raise the cap of medical training places by a third, from 7,500 a year to 10,000 a year. See this video for more on our policy on health and social care.

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.

My message in the Lancashire Post

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.

You can read the full article on the LEP website.