Ed Lines

I READ an interesting piece recently by Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper calling for an extension of the Government’s Prevent programme, which is aimed at tackling extremism in Muslim communities.

Well, I say ‘interesting’.  ‘Naïve’ might be more accurate. ‘Cynical’ works too.

Prevent was launched in the fall-out of the London 7/7 bombings aimed at de-radicalising Muslim youths. Even the most bug-eyed optimist would have to admit it hasn’t been a crushing success.

In many cases it actually managed the complete opposite, millions of pounds thrown at groups, some of whom invited al-Qaeda zealots to address meetings.

Typically of left-wing loonies they’d probably think that was okay anyway; it would show they were ‘inclusive’ of all ideologies.

It’s the ‘hug-a-hoodie’ strategy for defeating Isis.

When this country is the first western Caliphate, and those left-wing luvvies are being led out in their orange jumpsuits to squint at the camera and kneel before a bloke with a razor sharp knife on College Green, they’ll still think we didn’t ‘love’ these poor misunderstood darlings quite enough; didn’t throw enough money at buying their affection. That seems Yvette Cooper’s big idea.

Under Prevent, money was frittered at everything from running rap music workshops and playing five-a-side, to actually funding extremists.

That was and is Prevent’s major flaw. If the vast majority of ordinary Muslim citizens are NOT radical – and they’re not – why throw fortunes at all of them, just on the off chance?

It was in that fund-spree climate that characters based in and around the Savile Town Community Association filled their boots via everyone from Kirklees Council to the Big Lottery Fund, for ‘community groups’ that either never met, didn’t deliver, or didn’t even exist.

These people were not extremists in any ideological sense; just extreme opportunists. They knew easy money when they saw it. Who can blame them? (Well I can actually. It’s called fraud).

When attention was drawn to some of the scams, officials  managed to rubber-stamp a clean bill of health – although at least the graft stopped.

But why would organisations cover up barely disguised fraud? More pertinently, ask yourself why they would try to prove themselves complicit in it.

It’s like asking a burglar to go see if he can find his own fingerprints. Why would organisations bust a gut to prove they’ve been frivolous with our money in pursuit of right-on PC box ticking? They don’t.

I got fed up of Freedom of Information requests being rejected regarding who sourced all of Savile Town’s phony community group claims, like the Shaw Cross Women’s Forum. They got nine grand to “help local ethnic minority women access exercise classes and advice on healthy eating.”

Shaw Cross Women’s Forum – based at Savile Town’s Taleem Centre? It was actually just an off-the-shelf website of pretty white models in very unIslamic leotards. Nine grand for a 10-bob website full of links that didn’t work, and an ‘organiser’ who didn’t answer her emails.

The Lottery refused to assist our investigations based on  ‘Data Protection’ but the woman behind the Shaw Cross wheeze was Hafeeza Razzak. Bear that name in mind for the story below because I don’t think the surname is a coincidence.

The problem with schemes like Prevent is measuring outcomes. You can’t. I’m sure kids enjoyed the rap sessions and five-a-side. But fraudsters and extremists benefited too – while alienating mainstream white and other ethnic minority communities that saw the unfettered pampering, and got nowt but a begging bowl for themselves.

Don’t take that from me – that’s the voice of experience from sensible members of the Muslim community.

But still, Yvette Cooper wants Prevent expanding. I’m sure it’s all about improving national security – it couldn’t possibly be a cynically political expedient to buy votes for Labour…

A sparkling future for these builders

REFERENCE (above) to the Savile Town/Taleem Community Centre and one of the men central to the generously funded groups ‘based’ there was Sajid Mahmood.

Sajid used to present himself as a fundraising specialist – right up to the day I went knocking on his door to ask a few difficult questions.

I’m sure he always plays a straight bat so to speak – that’s a reference to the Comdel Cricket Club run by his business partner and Taleem chairman Khalid Aziz. Comdel got £10,000 Lottery funding for, among other things, a website that – slap mah thigh – never got built.

Sajid lives with his dad Mohammed Razzak on Boothroyd Lane in Westtown  where the pair appear to be trying to emulate our old friend Mr Sparkles, at least construction wise. (I think Hafeeza Razzak of the ‘Shaw Cross Women’s Forum’ is a close family member).

Sajid and dad live at 134 and 136 but have knocked down a house along at 98 Boothroyd Lane and built what many locals consider a Mr Sparkles-style mansion.

At least they have permission for it (though Lord knows how, given that it’s not long since permission was refused for even an extension on the original building).

I’m less sure that the work Sajid and dad are doing at number 134 is kosher though.

I’m not a builder by any stretch, and not Lewis Hamilton either, but I’d say you’d struggle parking your car in that garage. Seems to be morphing into a bungalow!

And unless Kirklees Council has a top secret planning portal, I can’t find an application, let alone permission, for this anywhere. I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding...

Breakdown rescue? Cause one, more like

LAST year I had about five or six different insurance policies with AA – cars, home, boiler, roadside assistance, emergency home cover etc. I’d been with them quite a while, auto-renewing because I’m a busy bloke.

Then I took the time to check one of the policies. And despite no claims, and no changes to the policy, no points on my licence, they had sneaked the premium up by over 30 % in two years.

Why? Because they could get away with it. Because people trust them to be honest when they’re not. They’re crooks.

When I challenged AA, I got “ooh, let’s have a look Mr Lockwood. Know what, I think we can get this figure down…”

“Stop right there,” I replied. “I can get my AA figure all the way down – to zero.”

So I cancelled all of the business I had with them. Because I could. I went to Chaucer Direct for my motor and saved a tidy amount.

My car insurance was due again this week. No driving points. No changes. Car worth less than last December. And a quote that had increased by 15%.

“Ooh,” said the girl when I rang Chaucer to ask why, “I think we can get this figure down…”

You know the rest.

Do yourself a favour – check your policies. I’ve just saved a hundred quid for the sake of 10 minutes.

DID you read about the airline owner’s daughter who had a stewardess thrown off the plane for serving her with a bag of peanuts, instead of putting them on a plate?

I wondered momentarily if Korean Air was owned by the north or the south, but the clue was in the explanation that the incident caused a delay in take-off.

If Korean Air had been run by the north, home of madman Kim Jong-Un, they’d have waited until they were at 30,000 feet before throwing the poor lass off.

I’VE heard it all now.

An MP plays an infantile computer game on his iPad for the duration of an important Parliamentary committee hearing on pensions – and the House of Commons launches a manhunt for whoever caught him out. Yup, sums the place up nicely.

I’VE HAD many reported sightings of former MP Shahid Malik, traipsing up and down garden paths in Dewsbury West in recent weeks, ahead of a vote last night for the Labour group’s candidate for the May elections.

Local man Coun Darren O’Donovan, having beaten off the back-stabbing of ward colleague Karen Rowling, was being challenged by Malik’s knuckle-dragging Burnley stooge Paul Moore. I fear another nail in Dewsbury’s coffin if that goon prevails.

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