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A Letter From a Northern Town

Dear Reader, I write this letter to you in sorrow and in anger.

If there were a municipality that epitomises the betrayal of the British working people by the Labour Party better than this town I would like to know.

Tucked in a strategically important pivot, in what is supposed to be the nascent northern powerhouse (remember that?), it has definitely seen better days – much, much better days.

The basis of the town’s prosperity – and it was prosperous, both the magnificent Town Hall and Railway Station are proud and rather wonderful testaments to the past endeavour of the town’s people – was industry and commerce.

The working people of the town are amazing but their political leaders and representatives have abandoned and deceived them. In this letter I will illustrate how the working people have been betrayed in terms of health, employment and education, while the architects of that betrayal earn incredible salaries often, it seems, as a reward for failure.

Just two Labour MPs have represented the town since 1945 and so, after more than 70 years of continuous Labour representation, what is the result?

With such a socialist pedigree, as you would expect, the Public sector now dominates local employment with the top three state enterprises employing over 25,000 people while the largest private sector business employs just 1,200. Post-industrial is an apt description for the area!

But with all these public sector jobs supporting the people you would reasonably expect that by other metrics the town would be a flourishing and successful community where people would want to settle.

And yet…at the time of the last General Election:

  • the schools languished in the bottom third of the National league table;
  • the town had been labelled as one of the unhealthiest in the UK with a large number of fast food outlets and betting shops;
  • and 10,000 private sector jobs had been lost in the last ten years,
  • while the number of voters within the constituency continued to shrink as the town depopulated.

Meanwhile, while a new local hospital has been built at a capital cost £64.6m, the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme, used to fund the development, will end up costing the local NHS Foundation Trust a total of £773.2m, some 12x (twelve!) times the original capital cost. The last Labour Government betrayed the town’s people tying them into an 60-year-long PFI agreement and have saddled them, their children, grandchildren and even their great grandchildren with a financial liability that they must pay with their, as yet, unearned income. A Labour Party that privatised the hospital’s buildings but nationalised the debt …!

One of the largest employers is now the University and this brings in much needed employment and money into the town, but even here this expansion of the University seems to be largely supported on the iniquitous Student Loan Scheme which, I believe, will result in many thousands of our young people being locked into a lifetime of penury and debt.

The Government’s Inspectors have once again declared the Children’s Services of the Council “Inadequate”, the lowest rating it can give. Ofsted reported that:

“Services for vulnerable children are inadequate, due to serious widespread failures which result in some children not being protected or having their needs met.”

In the meantime, having been a “Labour town” for so long, many symptoms of a rotten borough have appeared and seem to remain unchecked by a largely sympathetic local newspaper that is owned by the left-leaning Trinity Mirror Group. For example, when the largely absent MP does deign to show up in town, you can be sure that there is a large prominent article with obligatory photograph but, when four Labour councillors were exposed for failing to pay their council tax, this expose was conveniently timed to be reported just after the local elections. One of these councillors was the Deputy Leader of the Council at the time of her expose and she had been a Former Mayor …

The rot goes to the very top.

Meanwhile the public sector elites enjoy a lavish lifestyle. For example, the CEO of the Metropolitan Borough earns about the same as the Prime Minister (£140k), the CEO of the local NHS Trust earns just shy of £190,000 while the Vice Chancellor of the University earns significantly in excess of £300,000 pa.

The workers of the town have been betrayed and are crying out for change and it’s time for UKIP, under Paul Nuttall’s leadership, to bring about that transformation. In my next letter I will try and flesh out how UKIP can be that agent for change for all the people of this town, and towns just like it, all across the United Kingdom.

I started this letter in sorrow and anger but I leave you in optimistic anticipation. We are going to deliver real change as UKIP begins to take even more political power as the People’s Revolution develops both here and across the Western World, and we in the UK, bring hope and real opportunity to all the working people of Britain.

More soon from the new frontline in British politics!

Rob Butler, Chairman Huddersfield UKIP, writing in a personal capacity

Photo by ahisgett

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About Rob Butler (3 Articles)
Rob Butler is Chairman of Huddersfield UKIP

13 Comments on A Letter From a Northern Town

  1. One thing which I think would resonate would be a policy to attack the telephone number salaries of public ‘servants’ such as the University Vice Chancellors who have votes themselves and one another these ludicrous payments.
    There was a time when they earned maybe twice or three times what a Lecturer earned, now it’s more like ten times. Grotesque.
    To make it real ( a policy that no one in public service would receive more than the Prime Minister ) UKIP should accompany such a policy with a pledge that MPs elected under the UKIP banner would take only half of their stipend and hand over the rest to either UKIP or favoured charities.
    I believe the M5S in Italy has a policy of its elected officials taking only the average national wage and that this policy has helped them win votes.
    http://www.rhys4nec.co.uk

  2. Thanks Rob,

    You highlight the problems we now face in Huddersfield well. (I am from the Colne Valley PC which neighbours the Huddersfield PC and shares a council, Kirklees)

    The NHS PFI issue is a national one which UKIP must use to undermine the Labour Party’s claim to be the Party of the NHS. I hope the UKIP Spokesperson for the NHS and team are compiling the stats relating to PFI for the activists to share with voters. It is a huge electoral issue and the myth of Labour being a ‘friend of our NHS’ needs to be exposed for the lie that it is.

    I look forward to your next letter and to continuing to work with you and our UKIP colleagues locally, on behalf of the people.

    Onward and Upwards!

    James Dalton

  3. What sad story – it epitomises everything that has gone wrong. Self-serving powerful party-based networks of the well-heeled; I dearly hope this will bring a revolution of thinking and that the voters will appear in a tidal wave of rebellion against the shame of it.

  4. I fully support the move towards targeting Labour seats. That party has lost all sight of the reality of being an ordinary working person.
    Please remember though, that some of us live in areas where a Labour supporter is a rare sight and the Tories hold vast majorities on every public body. Even if we took every single Labour vote it would make little difference to the outcome of an election. Our battle is rather different. As Paul Nuttall says, we have to convince Conservatives that their party is not fully behind a clean Brexit and only continued UKIP pressure can deliver what we voted for.

    • Yes Icini. But we’re not going to take many Tory seats, whatever we do. Labour seats in the North and Midlands are the main target not just because of the Labour voters in them but their Tory voters too – and millions of those on middling incomes who aren’t dyed-in-the-wool Thatcherites would support us, especially when they see the threat of a Labour victory is much reduced.
      Brexit and immigration are not enough – never have been. It’s the economy that’s the clincher.
      This ought to be a no-brainer for us!

  5. We had a great day campaigning in Stoke yesterday, people there very friendly and welcoming even though many are staunch Labour supporters we managed to get a few on side. Could be the start of something big, from little acorns mighty oaks grow and all that.

    On the way back last night we were trying to think of a short punchy slogan to encapsulate what we thought we stand for in Stoke, and we came up with this:
    LEAVE THE EU
    LEAVE LABOUR!

    We thought it was pretty cool, as the Labour candidate there is an ardent remainer. Come on Paul, come on UKIP, we can do this!

  6. Print this in a leaflet & drop it all over Huddersfield at the next General Election.

  7. Thank you Rob for bringing home to us the stark reality of the political rot that has decimated our country and continues to do so.
    Please, as one on the front line where it really matters, do tell us how you think it could be addressed, as well as, if you have time (!) giving your opinion on the different financial policy versions currently being debated here. It is so important that we push for a policy that people in the North would feel able to embrace, imo.

  8. A hard-hitting article, Rob. All of us in UKIP living in the northern Labour heartlands have a similar story to tell – that’s why we joined the Party and will never cease our attacks on the Labour betrayers.
    I must say, that your CEO is being short-changed in salary compared to the one ours gets! (tongue in cheek).

    Why people who don’t work for the government keep on voting Labour is one of those mysteries yet to be solved and maybe these are the voters most open to change. But you’ve got to admit that the horrendous Blair/Brown government of 1997-2010 did a really thorough job of creating a client population in the heartlands, of public service staff and claimants. Despite the changes in government since, these voters seem to have stayed loyal to their Labour overlords and still manage to convince the working class of the illusion that Labour supports their interests.

    The best thing that ever happened for us is Corbyn. Single-handedly, he has cause dissension, unrest and resignations galore in his party: you can see it decomposing! UKIP will be there to offer political refuge and the more traction we gain, the more Labour’s stranglehold will weaken.

    • Agree wholeheartedly, Panmelia, it was always Labours policy to enmesh their voters either in the Public sector or the Benefit system, so that they would continue to vote Labour. As you say, Corbyn is a huge help in freeing up thoughts.

  9. No wonder tuition fees are high. I wonder what a Vice Chancellor actually does in a typical day. Does he actually “work” full time?

  10. Great letter, Rob. A sad commentary not just on one town but the whole country. We have created a bubble of unreality for ourselves and see the results everywhere.
    The question is, What do we do about it? My argument is that we can’t just rely on anger and disillusion to bring ordinary people over to us. We have to offer something to improve their lives, and thus give ourselves a better chance of victory.
    In my articles I try to say how that can be done.

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