Ed Lines

I GOT up last Friday morning fully expecting a croissant and coffee for breakfast, and found myself facing a full English and pint mug of builders’ tea. 

Surprised? You could have knocked me over with a wet haddock – and given the referendum result, we may now have an abundance of that when we get our fishing grounds back. That’s going to put a few continental noses out of joint, n’est-ce pas?

In all seriousness – which is difficult, given the circus grin I walked round with for days – this was a wake-up call for the world.

The man and woman on the street can’t be told what’s good for them, or made to walk like lambs to the slaughter as 19,240 British soldiers did 100 years ago today (July 1st) at the start of the Battle of the Somme.

I’ve tried not to gloat, and I won’t start here, but boy has it been tough given the pathetic, knee-trembling sulk from some of the apron-clinging Remainers, crying themselves to sleep for a week.

Bleating and whining about wanting a referendum re-run, wailing “it’s not fair!” Aw diddums. They shame both themselves and the country.

That is not to criticise all Remain voters by any means; thankfully the UK is largely more grown-up than that.

I dare say there would have been petulant Leave losers too and the fact is that in turbulent times both options carried – still carry – risks.

But some of the infantile histrionics of supposedly ‘intelligent and enlightened citizens of Europe’ who are now “ashamed to be British” and “despairing at the racists and bigots who voted Leave” are beneath contempt.

Those 19,240 lads walked into and fell before German machine guns out of devotion to King and Country, to preserve a sovereign nation for their children and grandchildren – and for us, 100 years on. I don’t suppose we’d have seen many of today’s bleating cowards at their sides.

Field Marshal Douglas Haig (later the 1st Earl Haig) already had two years of evidence that feeding men into mincers was pointless when he ordered the whistles blown on that fateful morning. Of the 100,000 men who went over the top 57,470 were casualties – including those 19,240 dead whose sacrifice is being remembered today.

Sacrificed on the whim of the political and officer classes, the cynical cull of human beings at the Somme alone cost 419,654 British and Empire casualties – men who, to listen to this week’s strident anti-Britons, would no doubt be considered bigots, racists and xenophobes – not patriots, far less heroes.

I saw one comment bemoaning “our loss of European cultural brotherhood”. As the social media shorthand has it, FFS. Listen sunshine, Europe is sacrificing its culture full stop – just ask the poor Germans trying to make neighbours of a million third-world migrants. They’ll be giving Mother Merkel the heave-ho next year.

SUCH lessons as we learned from last week and mindful of the two European armageddons, it’s that far from witnessing David ‘Project Fear’ Cameron’s threatened World War III, the ordinary men and women of Europe will never be turned on each other in such bestial fashion again.

Large swathes of Europe are today envying and admiring what the UK has done. All of us have been dealt losing hands by the corrupt card-sharps in Brussels, year after year, but it took the awkward Brits to call their bluff.

The greatest number of people in a British plebiscite ever, almost 17.5 million, called time on the patronising, bullying deceit of their so-called betters – at home and abroad.

Douglas Haig ordered hundreds of thousands to their death on his moronic whim.

David Cameron tried to terrify us with a similar prospect – and so far, he’s the only victim. Good. I hope that the shame and betrayal stays with the man for a long time.

That wasn’t the honourable thing the Prime Minister did last Friday morning – it was the petulant throwing of the Downing Street teddy out of the cot.

He should have immediately invoked Article 50 which begins our process of EU exit and even reneged on that.

But no, having threatened economic meltdown and political chaos, he did his best to ensure it – to cause as much temper-tantrum damage to “the country I love” as he could. If Cameron had a patriotic bone in his privileged body, he’d have fulfilled his pledge to continue leading until a suitably respectful time had passed.

Instead, he threw his own hand-grenade into the mix of inevitable uncertainty – I expect he was perversely cheered by the initial collapse in the markets and sterling.

But they’re on their way back, Dave. They’re recovering already (and I wouldn’t be surprised if you and George Osborne’s investment bankers weren’t cynically buying and selling and enriching you in the process. But it’s scant consolation, isn’t it?).

The ordinary private soldiers, the mothers and daughters of this country, put their own flag in the sand last week and showed a resolve most of our political class are incapable of even understanding, let alone representing.

I expect many of our European cousins to follow that lead in rebuilding a continental fraternity that was in dire need of the shock to its system the UK gave it.

Give yourselves a pat on the back folks – and graciously lend a hanky to that weeping softie next door.

WE JOURNOS are spoiled for choice at the moment. Talk about letting kiddies loose in the sweetshop!

One political bunfight is great for business, but you can’t stop to tie your shoelaces at the minute without another one erupts. I’ll have to save the Kirklees shenanigans for next week, because the Labour and Tory kerfuffles make for magnificent viewing.

Jeremy Corbyn – my hero! – couldn’t lead a lemming off a cliff but I love the guy. As thick as 1950s school custard maybe, but principled at least.

You stick to your guns Jezza – it’s about time the UK was a multi-party democracy again and it’s difficult to see anything other than a repeat of the 1980s SDLP/Labour split, magnified in multiples. Love it!

As for the Tory leadership catfight? They at least have some functioning brains and personalities to pick from, unlike Labour and I think it was very smart of Boris to keep his powder dry and bide his time.

I think whoever he supports – I’d guess Theresa May – will walk the contest, leaving Boris to get a plum job and work on his ‘serious’ persona for when his turn comes along. I think it inevitably will.

YOU know why the Scots and Northern Irish voted overwhelmingly Remain, don’t you?

It’s got nothing to do with cultural exchange programmes with Slovakia, let alone admiration of the heroic EU President Jean-Claude Juncker (I feel sick at the thought). Nope, it’s pure greed. Selfish me-me disregard for anything other than the next financial hand-out.

The Scots are a financial basketcase anyway. Independence? Using what for a currency, the Haggis? Even if we gave them the North Sea oilfields – and we shouldn’t – the collapse in global oil prices means they’d be potless. Yorkshire would have a bigger GDP than Scotland.

And when the naval shipyards come south? We’re all being driven to drink but I’m not sure even wee Nicola Sturgeon  (right) can float a country on malt whisky.

Spain has already said it would veto their membership, so that’s that. It would take them years to qualify, but the fact is they would add nothing to an EU that’s got enough of its own problems – and pours hundreds of millions it now hasn’t got down the Scottish gullet.

It’s the same with Nor’noirlan. If the ‘Troubles’ could possibly have had an upside it was in attracting bottomless economic aid from everywhere from Westminster to Brussels. It too is milk-fed as a ‘poor’ region of Europe. And so Stormont, like Holyrood, is wetting its panties at Brexit.

I actually think that’s where Boris and Gove missed a trick – if they’d reassured the Scot/NI electorate that all the current EU funding would continue (because it’s only ‘our’ money that goes out and comes back anyway) then the vote could have been different.

Could they leave? I can’t see it, especially when things settle down and the bright dawn awaiting the UK becomes clear, as will the looming EU crisis.

As we saw in the last Scottish referendum they know when they’re well off – and free university education and prescriptions won’t last long without the English chequebook.

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