Ed Lines

SOME people just have too much time on their hands. Too little to do with their brain cells. That, or too few brain cells rattling around in their airy heads to have any real purpose in life.

I can’t believe the bed-wetting Trumpomime that Britain’s liberal sweethearts are in an air-headed frenzy over. Don’t you have some cakes to bake? A poster to scrawl for the university student bar, calling for the banning of free speech? Get a life. Even better, get a job.

It beggars belief that these time-rich Citizen Smiths would take to the streets to protest against the leader of another country imposing a temporary travel ban on nations that would love to see his nation wiped off the face of the planet.

Really, don’t these people have something useful to do? Why don’t they go volunteer at a community centre, or find an elderly neighbour to care for? That or just stick to writing letters to The Guardian.

Trump is even more of the embarrassment than I think anyone feared. He really does believe his own BS. Mad, sad and quite possibly dangerous.

However, so far he hasn’t publicly beheaded anyone, let alone bombed, gassed, or committed genocide against his own people or any others – although quite a lot of them would gladly see that fate befall their new President.

Well, that’s their business, their right. It is not in the gift of a bunch of bleeding-heart British conscientious objectors.

Those are the same conshies, by the way, who have no voice to raise against the governments that fund and arm (and in some cases are) terrorist organisations whose hate-filled goal in life is depriving the self-same snowflakes of the physical ability – let alone right – to march in protest.

I can only imagine that in the event of that simpleton celebrity Lily Allen finding herself kneeling in front of a video camera clad in an orange boiler suit, with a carving knife at her neck, she would blame Brexit, Nigel Farage, Theresa May, Trump, the Daily Mail … anyone except her own lobby group of infantile fantasists who think that all ISIS and al Qaeda need is a group hug and a nice cup of Rooibos tea.

I could find a grain of sympathy with the snowflakes if not for the fact that six of Trump’s seven banned nations have a total ban on Israelis visiting their countries.

They, and a total of 11 of the 16 Muslim nations similarly prejudiced against a lawfully constituted member of the United Nations, were hosted by mayor of London Sadiq Khan this week.

Some will even ban or deport anyone who so much as has visited Jerusalem as a tourist, yet typically Khan was on his moral soapbox, blowing gas and air up the backsides of governments with appalling human rights records. Hypocrisy knows no bounds where the left-wing and anti-semitism is concerned.

 

I SURVIVED South Africa at least, although last Friday night trying to negotiate the legions of beggars and prostitutes on Cape Town’s Long Street – described on tourist websites as “lively” “funky” and “fun” – was a walk on the wild side.

Community safety officers stand idly by – I saw one elderly English-sounding gent being indulged with some handiwork (ahem!) in a shop doorway – while groups of young Christian missionaries patrol trying to save souls. A thankless task.

It’s a stunningly beautiful country and the people are generous of welcome and spirit, though many are fearful of its future. With good reason.

I suspect friends who said I’d love it never tried some of Johannesburg’s more colourful precincts or East London and a great many other non-tourist friendly parts of the nation.

Murder and corruption are commonplace and in many ways the new Rainbow Nation is still going backwards. It has a big U-turn to make if it is to fulfil its undoubted natural potential.

Would I recommend it? With qualifications, depending on how sanitised a South Africa you want to see. Even then, you’ll see things you’d rather not. Oh, and contrary to popular myth, they serve the toughest steaks I’ve ever encountered.

 

AS THE quote attributed to the great British statesman Benjamin Disraeli went: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics”.

Disraeli may have been accurate of his time, but those innocent days are long gone.

Can I offer an addendum: Lies, damned lies, statistics and bureaucratic bullshine.

That’s what happens when people like Public Health Kirklees (a department of the local authority) gets hold of inconvenient and uncomfortable statistics.

One of the most craven, dangerous examples of them at work was witnessed on page 4 of The Press last week,

The story was headlined ‘North Kirklees baby deaths stat shock’. Latest figures (2014) show that infant mortality on our patch stood at 13.2 per 1,000 live births, compared to 8.4 in Huddersfield – which is shocking enough – but staggering against a national level of only 7.1. Australia? Just 3.3.

Now factor this in: take away Mirfield, Birstall and Spen, and imagine what those numbers would be. You know where I’m going. And so does Public Health Kirklees (PHK) which artfully somehow avoided addressing not the level of baby deaths, but the why of them.

A spokesman glibly said the Kirklees level had been higher than the national average for years “but the gap has narrowed considerably in recent years”.

This was strangely enhanced by a claim that in the past nine years the level has actually been “around five in every 1,000 live births”.

Lord knows how those dreamboat numbers have been arrived at because in 2008 North Kirklees was 50% higher than Huddersfield, while Dewsbury alone was more than double the national average.

PHK tried to palm away the reasons for this crisis by blaming “poverty, poor accommodation, poor diets, smoking, alcohol and drug use”. All are indubitably a factor, although I detect something critical missing from that list of factors.

You see, the majority of births in Dewsbury and Batley are among a community not renowned for its women smoking, boozing or using drugs. Apart from anything else they’d set fire to their niqab if they tried a sneaky Capstan Full Strength.

But what they still do, as much as ever, is marry close family members. And generationally they keep on doing it, compounding the inherent genetic risks.

One of the few exemplary Kirklees public servants whose work I’ve admired over the past 20-odd years is Dr Judith Hooper MBE. If she’d still been in situ we might have had this ticking ethnic time bomb explained – because it isn’t just about infant mortality, it’s about sky high incidences of congenital abnormalities, physical and mental impairments.

I’ve no idea why Dr Hooper walked away but she was a rare public servant, unafraid of the truth.

I’m not sure where in her successor’s remit it declares that effectively lying by omission is conducive to improving public health. Maybe today’s functionaries joined Kirklees having lost their jobs at Rotherham or Rochdale, where the uniform approach to these difficult issues was to close eyes, put hands over ears and go ‘blah-blah-blah’.

Statistics show that while it may help the guilty sleep at night, it does bugger all to tackle social epidemics.

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