Ed Lines

IT HAS been mercifully quiet in the build-up to the local elections. Perhaps the lessons of Abdul Patel’s disgraces of the last poll in 2012 have finally been learned.

Quite where those lessons most needed learning – in Savile Town, Kirklees Civic Centre or the Huddersfield police headquarters – you decide. If we get a fair and untarnished vote, that’s good enough, I suppose.

I didn’t bother with my usual election Thursday routine of visiting Savile Town where fun, games and some interesting faces are generally to be found.

I doubt that our old pal Shahid Malik will have been much in evidence. His ship has sailed from these parts and attention now turns to Paula Sherriff, who is in with a great chance next year – if she keeps her nose clean.

I note she attended a local election event a few weeks ago in Savile Town sponsored by Labour Party fixer Terry Zaman’s company Joseph Furniture. At least that’s what it said on the invite to community leaders.

I trust someone has had a word to the wise with Ms Sherriff about Zaman, who was like Shahid Malik’s shadow when he appeared in town 10 years ago. She might wish to remind herself of Terry’s part in the ex-MP’s expenses scandal downfall.

I HAVE to be a tad circumspect commenting on Terry Zaman these days.

You might have noticed in last week’s story about the jailed Hungarian gangmasters that their ‘workers’ were employed, among other places, at Kozee Sleep Beds in Ravensthorpe.

It’s probably 10 years since Terry Zaman was calling himself the managing director of Kozee Sleep, and getting up half of Ravensthorpe’s noses with his plan to operate round the clock in a residential neighbourhood.

He’s not on Kozee Sleep’s list of ex-directors, but I’m told that the current directors are Terry’s sister Nasreen Rafiq, and her husband (reportedly their cousin) Mohammed Rafiq. The word in the bedmaking community is that Zaman might still be the man pulling the Kozee Sleep strings.

I’m checking that with Terry’s lawyers, because he recently issued a threat of about 50 (it might have been 100) libel writs against me for everything ever written about him over the past seven or eight years.

Zaman long ago stopped responding to our requests for comment.

Even so, I’m running everything by his lawyers now. As we go to press they’ve not replied.

The police are supposedly investigating the companies named in the Hungarian gangmaster case.

I just hope they don’t stop with eastern European workers, but also investigate the circumstances of all the low-paid employees on these firms’ books.

Meanwhile, a cursory glance at Companies House reveals that the Joseph Furniture who sponsored the Labour party tub-thumper in Savile Town – which  Ms Sherriff attended – is the alter-ego of Terry’s bed company Joseph International which collapsed with debts of about £1.2 million last year.

It appears that Terry formed Joseph Furniture last March as his firm hit the rocks, with his son Yusuf  (Arabic for Joseph, probably hence the company name) in the chair, then he took over himself in August.

Young Yusuf is still a director of dad’s online bed company, Express Beds Ltd (and there are lots of trading names on eBay that all end up back at Terry’s mill in Bradley, Huddersfield).

What with his bed and property empires, it’s a wonder Terry has time to run the local Labour Party as well...

‘WHO AM I voting for?’ texted Mrs L from a business meeting in London. She was only kidding, by the way. If I said ‘left’ she’d go ‘right’ just on principle. She just wanted a prompt on the issues at stake.

‘Do we really want to leave Europe?’ she asked when I suggested UKIP. I replied that it wasn’t about that – it was about giving the deceitful incompetents in Westminster a bloody nose. And it is.

I never thought I’d say this, but three cheers for Home Secretary Theresa May for standing up and giving the Police Federation a bloody nose this week. She displayed balls none of her male predecessors ever possessed.

So, more of the same please, starting with Ministry of Justice civil servants who refused this week to name on-the-run murderers because “it infringes their civil rights”. It seems they made that one up. I suspect most of them do. But at what point does the wider, innocent public’s rights get a look-in?

I think most of us would settle for common sense and kept promises from politicians. So far however, that’s beyond them.

 

THEY say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and in Prince Charles the foot-in-mouth gene has certainly been passed down from Phil the Greek. I actually felt sorry for Charles this week with the Putin-Hitler mischief, spawned by a journalist overhearing a private conversation.

If I’d been that journalist, or his editor, I think I’d have ignored it – but the modern media has no sense of proportionality.

It’s the same with FA chief Richard Scudamore, lambasted over sexist comments in a private email.

Lose his job over it? Not in a million years – but the secretary who nosied it and leaked it should be prosecuted for her part.

If you want to invoke Hitler’s memory, Britain seems to becoming a nation of brownshirts; of miserly-minded snitches and humourless toadies; of bureaucrats who despise the people they are meant to serve (and who pay their wages) and delight in making life difficult for us.

It’s very difficult to see the ‘great’ in Great Britain today.

How many friends do you have? No, really. Friends, proper friends – the people who would bail you out when you’ve been caught in Batley Park semi-naked with a goat from Dewsbury in the early hours of Sunday morning.

I mean – a goat? Yes, possibly dodgy. But a goat from Dewsbury? Come on, there are limits!

I’m talking proper friends.

No, not the husband/wife who probably can’t stand the sight of you half time time, but is too set in their ways to bother moving out. I mean life-on-the-line, anything-for-you-pal, friends.

By definition therefore, we are not talking Facebook.

I have a lot fewer ‘friends’ than I did a few months ago because one night, fed-up of being internet-stalked by people who create false Facebook and Twitter identities to spy on me, then post all kinds of rubbish on the internet, I pressed delete on a few ‘friends’. And kept pressing ... and pressing.

Did I say a few? About 500, actually. Tons of people, among them real friends, relatives even – and a stalker or two no doubt. Possibly even the wife (remind me to check!)

I don’t know who stayed or went, if truth’s told – so please, don’t be offended if you were among them. And if you survived the cull, don’t go getting all misty-eyed – it was all a bit random.

These days I try to reserve Facebook for keeping in touch with friends who live long distances away.

But here’s the thing – none of us have 500 or 750 or 1,000 friends. We’re lucky if we have five or 10 real ones and I’m probably luckier than most – even though I certainly have more enemies.

The day has yet to come when we can assess whether things like Facebook have been forces for good or bad in society – but I suspect that we oldies apart, it’s an experiment being carried out on our kids. I hope they survive it.

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