UKIP is an extreme party

UKIP’s vice chairman John Wilkinson sets out in black and white his party’s values and their priorities for Rotherham (Advertiser letters, 28th November).

People can now see exactly what UKIP is about. Quite frankly, it is extreme. Their programme is the most determined attempt to transfer money and opportunity from ordinary working people to the rich since Margaret Thatcher, and every bit as damaging.

If anyone wonders why UKIP leader Nigel Farage describes himself as a ‘true Thatcherite’, why ex-BNP leader Nick Griffin says he’s voting UKIP, why only the most right-wing Conservative MPs are joining UKIP, and why UKIP’s own Rotherham councillor Caven Vines complained rich donors are buying UKIP party policies, here is their answer.

A tax policy which will cut rates for millionaires, just as Thatcher did in the 80s and the Tories did again last year. Independent analysis this week has shown beyond doubt, their millionaire’s tax break aside, the other parts of UKIP’s tax plans will be worth over £1,000 a year to the richest 10% of Brits, while the poorest will lose out.

An education policy that will pull away the ladder for working class kids, creating an educational apartheid between grammars for the few and secondary moderns for the many. The evidence over decades is stark: pupils from poorer backgrounds do worse under the system UKIP propose.

And a health policy based on a desire to privatise the NHS. UKIP have made their position crystal clear: the leader Nigel Farage has been recorded saying that he wants the NHS replaced by a US-style insurance system run by private companies, their deputy leader Paul Nuttall has said he is in favour of privatisation and John Wilkinson himself was a candidate in 2010 with a manifesto to “put out to tender key NHS services ranging from long term care to local hospitals and GP surgeries”. Leopards don’t change their spots.

As for Labour’s record on the NHS, the facts speak from themselves. We brought the NHS back from the brink after years of Tory neglect, doubled investment, used PFI to help build over 100 new hospitals and by 2010 waiting lists were the shortest ever while patient satisfaction had never been higher. It’s a record that reflects our Labour values: compassion, solidarity and world-class services for those who need them.

Finally, Mr Wilkinson says I’ve ‘disappeared’ since the Jay report. Obviously he’s not been to one of my fortnightly surgeries across the constituency in the last three months, or been at any of the 60 local meetings and visits I’ve done or been one of the 700 individual constituency cases and concerns I’ve dealt with during this time. Nor has he been in the Commons in the last two weeks to see me speaking in support of the Labour bill to reverse current Tory moves to privatise the NHS or leading a debate to force a big telecoms company to drop a £3,500 bill for a vulnerable elderly constituent.

John Healey MP, Wentworth & Dearne