Ed Lines

I DON’T fret about what will greet the UK on the morning of Friday June 24, whether our citizens have decided to remain in or leave the EU. 

It will probably rain by virtue of simply being ‘midsummer’ in England. A pint won’t go up a quid overnight,

I’ll still measure journeys in miles and a sirloin steak in ounces, while flying into Spain, Portugal or Greece will only be a pain because we still have to virtually strip naked at the airport.

Everything else? A vote for Leave or Remain, it will be day-to-day business as usual.

The dog will still eat your slippers, the wife still throw your tea in the bin if you stay too late at the pub, and Wimbledon will go ahead as planned.

Andy Murray will fail heroically – again – and remind us why that dour, miserable nation should have seized its referendum chance to go it alone (and go bankrupt, then come back cap in hand) two years ago. You see, the UK is big enough to carry an economic minnow like Scotland. Why do you think they resent us so?

Something, however, will have changed for good on that morning of the 24th. The bond of trust between the UK’s political leadership and its people will have been ripped to shreds.

The long-awaited Chilcot Report into the circumstances of the Iraq War is due this summer and is expected to cement Tony Blair’s despotic legacy. The blood of thousands on a British Prime Minister’s hands. That however, was about Blair’s ego more than his treachery.

Friday June 24 will witness, win or lose, the disgracing of David Cameron. Before committed Remainers switch off completely, can I say this column isn’t about the stay-or-leave argument. It’s about something deeper.

A few weeks ago I wrote about my daughter seeking impartial guidance because she has fully engaged in this referendum. A cynical letter writer to The Press assured readers that she’d never get it from her father. I admit, this column affords me a privilege denied most. I play fast, loose and usually provocatively with it. That’s what the job says on the tin.

But strangely yes, I am actually capable of imparting a neutral outline of the issues to my daughter, detailing what the Remainers consider the benefits of union and indeed what the inherent risks of Leave might be.

So why would that notion be completely beyond our Prime Minister? Because whatever your vote, his behaviour has been abysmal.

It’s probably nothing more than a reflection of the adversarial nature of modern politics that we can no longer even hope for measure or reason from our most senior ministers of state.

This isn’t a defence of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage, but I have heard them accept that yes, there are risks, that there could be short-term costs to leaving. Sure, they then launch into their ‘pro’ cases, but that’s their job.

To witness every function of state subverted to saving Cameron and Osborne’s personal fiefdoms however, is depressing beyond words.

They threw millions in public cash at their propaganda mailshot; in the corridors of Westminster, honest hard-working MPs have their careers threatened on a daily basis – toe the line or kiss your ambitions goodbye.

George Osborne’s treasury ministers and virtually every institution that benefits from government or EU funding has been coerced into producing wild predictions of economic meltdown. There isn’t even a half-hearted pretence at impartiality. The ‘up’ sides are suppressed by Whitehall mandarins, who even deny Cameron’s opponents access to what should be documents of public record.

House prices collapsing, a million people thrown out of work, the NHS seizing up .. war, famine, pestilence, the taking of every first born by the Angel of Death – no hysterical scare-story is too outrageous for this desperate man. The office of Prime Minister should be above this cheap and sordid behaviour. If he wins his vote he has lied and bullied his way to it. If he loses it, his integrity and dignity goes with it.

How on earth do we end up with such immature, insincere people leading our great country?

SOME of you might want to know what happened to the race-hate campaign launched against us by a prominent Muslim businessman recently.

Well, we certainly got under his skin this time. I live in York and several of my neighbours came knocking at the door last week. They’d received a copy of the Urban Echo newspaper which featured a rather harmless ‘character assassination’ of me, but accompanied by more hate mail.

A couple of days later they all got a follow-up letter, warning them about the evil journalist residing in the bosom of their community. Some of the bile actually overstepped the line, even by my generally shrug-it-off attitude. Mrs L wasn’t best chuffed as you’d imagine.

On Monday morning I got a call from the South Wales Scorpions Rugby League Club media manager. It seems all of my wide and varied business contacts were getting the hate mail.

The publisher of Urban Echo, Irfan Ajeeb, was said to be mortified this week at the way he’s been manipulated, especially as his dad Mohammed Ajeeb – ex-Lord Mayor of Bradford – is getting calls from prominent Batley and Dewsbury Muslim businessmen, angry at the way this insidious little member of their community is carrying on.

In the meantime, the anonymous email accusing us of exploiting disabled people received the following response from Kirklees Council. The rest of the stuff is now with the police, so we’ll see where that goes.

To: ‘adam1918@hotmail.co.uk’

Subject: Ravensthorpe Social Education Centre & Special Care Unit

Dear Adam,

Further to your email yesterday to Kirklees Councillors, I have followed up on the concerns that you raised about the basis on which individuals with a disability are delivering the Dewsbury Press.

In 2003, the Habib Base opened opposite the Dewsbury Press office to enable people to access the range of community opportunities that many of us take for granted. One of these opportunities has been with the Dewsbury Press which has led to paid employment for people with learning disabilities for whom other employment opportunities have been very limited. They offered a town centre paper round, people who use our services expressed an interest in this and the round started from there.

Currently we have eight people from the Habib Base who deliver this paper on a paid basis and as a result have developed higher self-esteem, community presence and developed new friendships. They feel this is a valued job, have a positive image and enjoy delivering the papers. Clearly these are rewards that are not financial, but everyone is paid.

Thanks for the eventual good publicity ‘Adam’.

AS AN occasional social golfer, I enjoy the stress-relief of whacking a ball round a bunch of big, well-gardened fields.

I have no firm view on the rights or wrongs of Muirfield Golf Club in Scotland being struck off the Open Championship register because it voted not to allow women members.

They probably wouldn’t let a peasant like me grace their fairways anyway – not without demanding an arm and leg for the pleasure.

I actually don’t like how oppressive this equality madness is generally – why shouldn’t the Women’s Institute be single sex, or a golf club stay entrenched in the 19th century, if that’s what they want?

Don’t suppose they’d let me go join the GB ladies gymnastics team, would they, if I trotted along to the changing rooms with a leotard? Maybe they would.

Anyway, here at The Press we’re always thankful to our alert readers who are the source of so much of our news, and were delighted on Monday morning for the call from an eagle-eyed friend of the paper.

“Mirfield Golf Club has been taken off the Open Championship list!” the lady – who shall remain anonymous to you nosey-pokes – breathlessly informed us.

I have to say, it got the week started with a chuckle.

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