Ed Lines

‘BONGO bongo land’? I ask you. Nigel Farage must have been tearing his hair out at UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom’s foot-in-mouth moment (which is at least an improvement from a bone-through-nose moment).

With some of UKIP’s more eccentric characters like Yorkshire MEP Godfrey, that likelihood can only be a matter of time.

But ‘Bongo Bongo land’? as Bloom referred to the third world when criticising the UK’s gold-plated overseas aid budget. Dearie me.

I listened to gullible Godfrey on the radio and he was clearly surprised and disappointed that the hostile left-wing media had jumped all over him.

The brilliant George Galloway took Godfrey apart on Radio 2, but the fact remained that this wasn’t symptomatic of a racist at large, but of a full-blown idiot.

It told me that Godfrey Bloom is of a mindset that is a million miles away from what modern politics requires.

His political incorrectness may have an olde worldcharm, but that’s not going to turn the Westminster power struggle in the right direction.

‘Bongo Bongo land’ was intended as a throwaway line with no specific offence intended, but with UKIP putting the frighteners up the political establishment – and with everyone already positioning for a General Election still 21 months away – Farage’s party really don’t need such silly and trivial distractions.

Bloom’s bloomer was timely camouflage for Home Secretary Theresa May trying (but mostly failing) to sneak out the report into our abysmal immigration controls.

It doesn’t matter who has the job, whether the discredited UK Border Agency or the Home Office’s new Border Force, the world’s criminal flotsam and jetsam continues to pour through our ports of entry unabated.

Every time a Minister promises to get on top of the problem, it seems to simply make the matter worse. Maybe they should just shut up.

The latest scathing report apparently highlighted a Calais immigration control that sounds like it’s been reduced to a broken gate and two elderly nightwatchmen.

Home Secretary Theresa May’s response? To black-out the critical details from the report under the spurious excuse of ‘national security’.

That’s about par for the course.

 

IT ISN’T a coincidence that our open border debacle coincided with the government announcing a £500m bail-out for Accident and Emergency departments (and if any comes the Mid Yorks Trust’s way, it will probably go not on bandages, but on Ernst & Young consultants telling them where best to spend it).

The only surprise in that bail-out is that every public service isn’t getting a financial leg-up from Whitehall.

It isn’t just hospitals. Schools increasingly can’t cope and the police probably spend as much time (and more money) waiting around for interpreters as they do investigating crime.

That’s not going to improve when the 35,000 to 70,000 Bulgarians and Romanians a year start arriving from January 1, when the legal floodgates open (as opposed to the illegal ones).

Imagine, a new ‘town’ worth of people, larger than Dewsbury, arriving every year, with not a word of English but a need for doctors and nurses and schools and food and housing – oh, and jobs!

It’s difficult enough trying to get Ministers to debate this frightening reality without ‘Bongo Bongo’ cock-ups playing into their hands.

Happy days.

 

WE’LL never know the final thoughts of Dewsbury-born Percy Jeeves, as he and his comrades fought and died in ‘the hell they called High Wood’ in July 1916.

High Wood was one of the bloodiest killing grounds of the Battle of the Somme and the name of Percy Jeeves, born in Earlsheaton in 1888, his dad Edwin a railway worker, is one of the 72,000 names inscribed in the Thiepval Memorial nearby.

His name has lived on, almost accidentally, in the form of PG Wodehouse’s literary hero and valet of Bertie Wooster.

Woodhouse saw accomplished all-rounder Jeeves playing cricket for Warwickshire in 1913 and years later, as he penned his characters, he recalled both the name and the style and character of the man. Thus was Percy Jeeves’ name immortalised in 11 novels and 35 short stories.

It’s a warm, whimsical story, even if inconsequential when measured alongside the sacrifice that Jeeves, aged just 28, paid in the summer of 1916. It features in a new book entitled The Real Jeeves, one I’ll be sure to read.

It struck a chord with me during one of my more reflective moments this week, digging and delving into the business activities of some of the area’s more ‘colourful’ characters, and wondering how I might one day be remembered.

(‘Colourful’ is something of a euphemism by the way. Another word beginning with C and ending in L – eight letters – could equally apply).

Only occasionally do I dwell on the possible repercussions of some of the stories I pursue in these pages, preferring to laugh things off when people ask if I ever worry about the hole I could be digging for myself.

A hole about six feet deep and just a tad longer might be appropriate I guess, one of these days.

So it’s fair to say that just every now and again I stop and ponder, and wonder if it’s all worth it. Because I sure don’t do it for the money.

If Kirklees Council is happy to allegedly fund criminal fraud on an industrial scale, if Kirklees Police couldn't care less about the organised crime swimming in, around and over the streets it professes to ‘protect’, then why should a middle-aged journalist carry on like some form of uncaped crusader?

Why indeed.

My mouth always got me in trouble as a kid, and I guess the pen – or computer – has taken over where that left off. But one thing has stayed constant through that time. I hate injustice. Can’t abide it.

There’s a story in this paper today which gives a pretty substantial clue to the investigations I’m busy with. If I survive long enough to pen my follow-up book to The Islamic Republic of Dewsbury, you’ll be able to travel its full journey with me.

But for now, as I keep digging away trying to get to the bottom of the scandal, I remain fortified by the fact, at heart, it’s simply the right thing to do.

They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.

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