Ed Lines

IT’S referendum squeaky bum time, and boy isn’t it showing? It’s a toss up between the Leavers and Remainers for the best impression of Dad’s Army’s Corporal Jones.

“Don’t panic, don’t panic!” is the watchword and if David Cameron’s lot had been the crew of the Titanic they’d have been drop kicking women and children into the sea at the first sight of ice cubes in the captain’s gin and tonic.

And the Brexiteers aren’t much better, because I’ve seen better campaign strategies in a snowball fight. They tied that daft £350m a week EU-cost claim round their own necks in week one, and keep pulling tighter on it to the point that it’s virtually the only sentence on economic policy they can squeak.

It plainly isn’t a £350m cost, even though the £150m (insert figure to suit agenda) or so we get back comes with strings attached. But doesn’t an unequivocal £200m sound just as bad? So why even indulge in the hype and risk your credibility?

They’re politicians. Just can’t help themselves I suppose. None of it helps ordinary people make up their minds however.

I’ve not heard enough about the financial cost of uncontrolled immigration on a crippled NHS service, from GPs to A&E. It cannot cope with the tidal wave of new arrivals – and if there is one ‘fact’ amongst the hype, it’s that a third of a million more people a year are coming to the UK and we simply cannot stop them.

On Wednesday night, opportunist Tory MP Sarah Wollaston timed her bid for a cabinet job by abandoning the Leavers for the Cameron crew, citing concerns about the NHS. Apparently Dewsbury and Mirfield MP Paula Sherriff gleefully re-tweeted it.

I’ve given Ms Sherriff an easy ride in these columns the past 12 months, but hearing of her joy at Wollaston’s rubbish stopped even me in my tracks.

Hello Paula! Have you seen what’s happening at Dewsbury District? Hello-ooo! Is there a light on in there? Nope. Didn’t think so.

A kneejerk reaction like that from MP Sherriff helps sum up the mess this referendum campaign has become – it’s more about ambitious, partisan and mostly thick politicians feathering their nests than it is a long-term vision for this nation.

So much for the beleaguered NHS. What about the primary schools that open virtually every Monday to find yet more non-English speaking kids dumped on the doorstep?

There are parts of the country where the schools system is in meltdown – and I would not call that a migration issue. We simply do not have the infrastructure to physically or financially cope, wherever those people are coming from. Economics.

And it isn’t just the cost of babysitting Hungarian, Romanian or Syrian/Libyan children. It’s the impact on our own youngsters’ chances of getting a decent education. We’re building a Tower of Babel in every town. As for houses? Don’t even go there.

And the frustrating thing is the almost complete absence of informed, non-partisan guidance.

I’m not a BBC fan, but the ITV ambush of Nigel Farage on Wednesday night left me despairing. My son walked out of the room.

I don’t know if David Cameron got a ‘happy ending’ (warning: adult theme) from the fawning hostess Julie Etchingham, but if she’s a journalist I spend my dinner times doing ‘massages’ at Stilletoes’ knocking shop on the Dewsbury ring road.

It’s a Politically Correct sad fact that to be a white male with a moderately right-of-centre opinion in the UK today, is to be pre-judged of being a racist bigot.

If I never saw Nigel Farage on a telly again it wouldn’t bother me a jot but he is  absolutely not anti-European – his wife is German. He is anti-EU. UKIP is not anti-Muslim, black, blue, pink or green. It is what it says on the tin. It wants an independent UK and the ability to control immigration, not stop it or apply a ludicrous colour bar. Its members and candidates cover the entire British demographic spectrum.

And yet ITV teed up a vile little bigot of a woman to unleash all kinds of groundless racist opprobrium on Farage. She was allowed, nay encouraged, to claim that UKIP would use Brexit to demonise black people  –  and Etchingham did everything except wheel the stocks out.

Farage is a big boy. He’s taken the knocks, got the scars and bounced back. But even his heart must have sunk at the ambush he received, compared to the virtual PR slot David Cameron then got when he followed him on stage.

The questions selected for the PM were more measured, predictable and served merely as cues for a series of five-minute party politicals.

The only question I was left with was whether Etchingham asked for a selfie taking with the PM afterwards, or got down to some serious ‘green room’ gratuities.

Either way, Cameron got an easier ride than an Arab sheikh in a Mayfair brothel.

I’m only surprised that I was surprised.

FORMER popcorn TV presenter Noel Edmonds is in hot water for trying to promote a friend’s £2,300 gadget which he claims cured him from prostate cancer – along with some positive thinking.

I don’t know why people would question the scientific probity of Edmonds, the man who brought the world Mr Blobby (and think of the pain he could have spared us if his gizmo had been around in the 1990s and its ‘positive energy’ had put Blobby out of our misery).

What is it about celebrities in their dotage, suddenly unable to get so much as a Daz washing powder advert, and their desperate attempts for publicity? However Edmonds’ claim that he was cured by thinking good thoughts while subjecting his prostate to a vibrating mat (I assume he didn’t mean ‘vibrating Matt’) got me thinking.

Maybe if he’d done handstands on his vibrating mat, he’d have developed a decent hairdo instead of that 1974 David Cassidy bouffant he’s still got 40 years on.

I remember getting one of those styles at Jack Spindler’s in Mirfield, although I never could reproduce the big bouncy centre parting with my hairdryer and brush. And the minute I did a triple spin on the dance floor at Thornhill Cricket Club, the sweat flattened it to my skull anyway.

On second thoughts, maybe Noel Edmonds tried that – and the vibro-mat sent his brain round the bend, resulting in the idea that putting a vibrating thingy up against your prostate cures cancer. Hmm. I wonder if his old mate Jimmy Savile started him down that road...?

DID YOU KNOW: The EU rushed through its latest 10 billion euro bailout to Greece last week, eager to prevent more civil unrest in Athens ahead of the UK referendum. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) opposed it because Greece can’t possibly repay the money, but kept its mouth shut so as not to scare wavering British voters. Just saying, as no-one else seems to be...

TURKISH DELIGHT: Despite saying there is no prospect of Turkey and its 77 million citizens joining the EU – ironically because tyrant President Erdogan is turning it into a rogue state – David Cameron is on record as saying he would love to “pave the road from Ankara to Brussels”.

Personally, I’d chip in a barrow of sand and cement just to get him started.
But Turkey doesn’t need to join the EU for that. Brussels is promising visa-free travel to Turks in return for setting up huge refugee camps that we’re funding at a cost of billions.
Ah, but we’re not in the Schengen area, the Turks can’t come in, Remainers say!

That’s right – our three patrol boats are boldly keeping them away from our 8,000 miles of coastline (Holland has 16 boats for just 280 miles of coast, Italy has 600!) But why bother? Cyprus is advertising fast-track EU passports for anyone with the cash. And Bulgaria, Macedonia, Malta, Montenegro and Spain all do the same. Get there, come here!

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