Ed Lines

I WAS left with lots of questions (and some loathing) after the BBC’s much-hyped opening episode of The Moorside on Tuesday.

The first question, after realising that this programme actually wasn’t Happy Valley or Last Tango in Halifax, was ‘why?’

Why not film it on the Moorside Estate? Why not in Dewsbury generally? What the hell were all of those shots of Halifax town centre about? If this is a about the wonderful, tight-knit, socially and morally uplifting community of a run-down estate on Dewsbury Moor, why not stay true to the location at least?

Answers aplenty occurred, the first being that the TV vans might get looted and the cast and crew lynched. Apparently locals really weren’t best pleased at the idea of being held (once again) to national ridicule – which is basically what this exercise was.

Yes there are long-suffering, honest-to-goodness families on sink estates, but there are degenerate toe-rags, social dregs and dysfunctional morons – in short most of the people this awful production shone a spotlight on.

The Moorside was little more than an exercise in peering down a microscope at society’s pond life, with a boot in Dewsbury’s gonads for good measure.

The ‘we shall overcome’ jingoism of the Julie Bushby character was so much gooey shtick. The lass threw herself heart and soul into things and deserved plaudits, but an entire TV series? Really?

People flocked to the search effort, some from Moorside and many from the wider Dewsbury community, as indeed caring people would anywhere, when a child disappears.  That might have been a story if they’d found her, but they didn’t. Noble motives, but so what?

I doubt that I was the only local observer back in 2008 who, as the days ticked by, felt that for some Moorside people it was more about getting their mush on the telly than any realistic hope of finding Shannon alive.

The searching had all been done. Certainly the police thought she was dead.

As such I didn’t feel there was ‘drama’ of any worth in The Moorside. The script could have been written by Shannon’s classmates.

The highlight was the stunned expression of the actress playing DC Christine Freeman, the police liaison officer. The scenes inside the Matthews house were the one element of this half-baked public autopsy that rang  true, probably because Mrs Freeman, who still lives locally, was the main factual consultant on the show.

I noted that Det Supt Andy Brennan was absent (as were the police generally apart from the laughable community PC). Showboating Brennan led the hapless hunt and once they accidentally tripped up over Shannon, somehow managed to make the ludicrous kidnap charge stick.

If you recall Brennan was the clown responsible for the ‘Hanging at Devil’s Ditch’ debacle in Chickenley some time earlier. He brought the world’s media descending on Dewsbury and tried to sell a Jamie Bulger-type scenario, when in fact two kids had fallen out. No wonder he wasn’t a consultant on this.

The scriptwriters even failed to create any intrigue out of Shannon’s discovery, but that’s understandable because there wasn’t any – just PC Plod getting lucky.

I’m not sure what The Moorside was supposed to achieve, but TV gold it certainly wasn’t. Comedy gold perhaps, where some of the accents were concerned and the ever-changing shades of Karen’s panda-eyes.

Maybe I’m too close to see it as anything more than soapy TV trash.

Beyond that it just felt like an opportunistic earner for a few BBC luvvies. At Dewsbury’s cheap expense.


A PRETTY simple question. Why is disgraced lawyer Phil Shiner, who falsely persecuted hundreds of British soldiers, not in handcuffs and on his way to a prison cell?

Shiner’s company Public Interest Lawyers milked fortunes out of the British public purse in pursuit of fanciful and imagined horrors supposedly perpetrated by our troops on innocent Iraqis.

No lie or deceit was too outlandish for Shiner to manipulate, in his attempts to ruin the life of a hero and by association his family. When he ran out of chancers with however scurrilous a claim, he bribed others into inventing them.

Last week Shiner was struck off for professional misconduct. This, a man feted by the Law Society, The Guardian (obviously), the Blair government, and who is still I believe a professor of law at Middlesex University.

The reaction of the left-wing establishment will no doubt be sympathetic; he meant well; he just tried too hard; the evil military deserves all it gets.

This is the liberal British judiciary that’s supposedly above personal bias, which resolutely upholds one law for all.

In that case uphold the law as it would apply to any ordinary bloke who attempted to defraud the public purse and inflict grievous damage upon innocent people. Prosecute the vile Phil Shiner to the full extent of the law.

Treason would be a good starting place.


BELIEVE it or not I find Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a harmless enough soul. There aren’t enough brain cells rattling round his vacant head to generate the cunning deceit of a Blair or Cameron.

Such as my stomach is turned by anything about Corbyn, it’s knowing he slept with Diane Abbott. Really Jezza? Were things ever that unimaginably desperate?

Sadly, it seems that Abbott still has Corbyn by the meat and two veg. That worries me, and not merely in regard to politically inappropriate knee tremblers.

Labour continue to disintegrate over everything and anything from Brexit to someone queue jumping in the House of Commons canteen. They make playground squabbles resemble a United Nations summit.

I understand why Corbyn laid down a three-line whip on supporting the Brexit bill. Labour needed to be seen to obeying the public will over the referendum – they could save their ambush for the detailed stages of any EU deal. A semblance of smart politics for once.

The rabble couldn’t even get that right though, with more subsequent blood on the floor – all except for Abbott. While seriously ill Labour MPs were whipped in to vote, she slithered off home with a migraine to avoid doing her duty.

She was shamed into obeying the whip on Wednesday night but by then the wider damage was done.

I get the migraine. She probably caught a glimpse of her mush in a mirror. Indeed I get the s-h-1-tees every time she opens her mouth.

They had a solution for Abbott’s type of behaviour in the trenches of northern France 100 years ago. It was called a firing squad.

But it would seem through his whimpering support of this woman that the only whipping and shooting on Jeremy’s mind conveys nostalgia for a different period in history. Poor old Labour.

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