FOR those of you without any interest in politics whatsoever, I have a shocking anecdote to share. When I finished work on Wednesday evening and headed for home I stopped off in a Batley hostelry and was charged £5.10 for a pint.
It was lager, admittedly, and a premium brand at that.
But having to break into a tenner for a bevvy? In Barfield? (a name old Batelians will recognise, even if the pub was in Upper Barfield – to borrow the lexicon of the 1950s classic Diana Dors film Value for Money).
I refrained from advising the female bar person (you probably can’t say barmaid these days) that I didn’t want to buy the entire bloody pub. This must have been where Value for Money’s recent millionaire (John Gregson) did his supping.
As I departed, I mused that the licensees must either be Conservative voters of high aspiration, or Labour hardliners determined to re-balance local wealth entirely off their own bat.
And there’s your non-politics done for today.
As I drove homewards, radio station-hopping, I caught about 30 seconds of Theresa May’s contribution to PM’s Questions in the House of Commons that lunchtime.
I came to a conclusion that I suspect many Britons may soon be reaching – that the woman, our fearless leader, is an insufferable pain in the backside.
She has all of the personality of a toilet brush, not to mention a haircut to match (not that I’m anyone to talk about haircuts).
But she has this faintly hysterical manner of angrily reciting speeches, no doubt penned for her by beardless Oxbridge nerds who wouldn’t know a toilet brush if someone inserted one up the appropriate orifice (although in fairness, that may well be a freshers’ rite of ‘passage’ at Oxford and Cambridge).
Mrs May comes over very schoolmarmish and humourless and even by my impatient standards, this political honeymoon has been brief indeed.
But at this point, and while local Labour MPs Paula Sherriff and Tracy Brabin fist-pump and growl “get in, he’s on our side!” I should add a cautionary note.
Yes, I admit it, Jeremy Corbyn is easier on the ear by far. I’d go so far as to say that he sounds very sincere when espousing his rose-tinted socialist utopia.
But as Prime Minister?
I’d rather shove a barbed wire toilet brush in both eyes and one up my jacksy for good measure, than entrust this nation to the safekeeping of Jeremy and the England-haters using him as their glove puppet.
It’s a lesson that I hope the country will give proof of. I might not like Theresa May’s style, a public speaker with all the charisma of an ingrowing toenail – but she won’t be bothered trying to schmooze you.
Tony Blair perfected that. David Cameron too. Look where that got us.
No, give me a hard-faced harridan that I respect but don’t necessarily like, every day of the week. I want our PM to be someone I can see running the country. I don’t need her to be funny or look like Diana Dors.
AND SO farewell UKIP. You were fun while you lasted, but your moment has passed. Lingering like a bad smell, desperately hoping that someone becomes partial to it, is fun for no one at all.
Better to bow out gracefully and bid goodnight, pretty much as your talisman Nigel Farage has already done.
When UKIP was at its formidable best two years ago, it turned the world of politics on its head garnering a share of the vote unimaginable a scant few years previously.
And for all of those 3,881,099 votes, it won one solitary, miserable seat – and even that MP, Douglas Carswell, caused chaos.
More than anything the 2015 election was explicit condemnation of our outdated first past the post voting system. Consider that a scant 1.4 million votes earned the Scottish Nationalists 56 seats. Scandalous.
But the UKIP shock waves worked. Boy, did they.
The party lost its battle for Westminster, but won its war for Europe – those voting figures scared the witless David Cameron into fighting a campaign he didn’t have to, on terms he couldn’t win, and brought about total and irrefutable victory for the UK Independence Party and all it stood for on June 23, 2016.
Gentlemen and ladies, I salute you.
What we now witness however is a political version of the dear old One-Legged Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Someone chops off an arm, he picks up his sword with the other. A leg, another, the second arm … “Come on, just a flesh wound, two out of three...”
UKIP can’t talk tougher or more pragmatically on Brexit than Mrs May, so where’s the appeal to disillusioned Tory voters?
Labour? I’m sure many of their traditional supporters voted UKIP – people who saw and still see their kids’ classrooms swamped by non-English speaking migrant children; who can’t get doctors’ appointments; who are being failed by politically correct local authorities and Labour’s ruinous Private Finance Initiative that is breaking the NHS, nowhere more than here in Dewsbury, Batley, Mirfield and Spen; people whose under-pressure wages are being dragged down by cheap EU labour.
That’s not about party politics, that’s the realpolitik of open-bordered EU madness. That was UKIP’s flag in the sand and they won.
At the referendum people of all political allegiances and none made a choice, one which I think could be the saving of Europe, if not the rapidly failing EU.
So why would those people vote UKIP now?
The party hit rock bottom when its leader Paul Nuttall announced that UKIP’s manifesto would include banning the burkha.
Really? What has that got to do with the price of croissants or pasta? Or paying UK child benefits to kids who have never left Warsaw?
UKIP had to fight tooth and nail to make the case that it was about moral patriotism not howling nationalism. And now, tragically, it is desperately appealing to the lowest common denominator of the knuckle-dragging BNP or NF mob.
I thought UKIP were better than that – as does Aleks Lukic, clearly, the local UKIP activist who has abandoned the party.
Just to be clear, I don’t like the full face veil – the niqab – at all. I despise it, and I exercise my right to revile every Muslim woman who chooses to insult both me and my country by choosing to wear it in public.
The veil is a statement of aggression and non-conformity, not religious obeisance. It has no place in the Koran, only in the mind of Islamic separatists, which this district has been largely surrendered to.
Wearing the veil is that community’s choice. It is the militant uniform of its determination not to be tainted by wider British society.
I respect their right to insult people of my race and creed but I then expect them to respect my right to find them hateful, insecure and even dangerous for it.
I prefer to see our enemies and I believe the veil helps that. It is a visible insult to all non-Muslims, a deliberate one at that.
As such, jackbooting Muslim women into giving up the veil, as UKIP propose, is of no use to anyone.
Until the imams and mullahs invite their women out of the 7th century of their own accord, there can be no one nation Britain. It’s only soft-headed, white socialist fools who imagine otherwise.