NORMAN TEBBIT never actually told the feckless unemployed to get “on yer bike” and look for work in the aftermath of the 1981 Brixton riots. He was actually referring to how his own father dealt with the cruel depression of the 1930s.
Still, why let the facts get in the way of a good headline, eh?
For reasons soon to become apparent, my mind tended towards politicians and bikes during last Saturday’s pleasant afternoon – before the fluffing rains returned and the central heating went back on.
I can’t recall ever picturing politicians of any party in the altogether, although the Tory MP Penny Mordaunt filled her cossie handsomely in the reality TV show Splash (she’s let herself go a bit since becoming a cabinet minister).
I have actually fantasized about Diane Abbott in straps and chains – but only in the context of being dragged over broken rocks behind a team of wild horses.
But by about 3.20pm last Saturday, as my lungs wheezed, thighs cramped, and sweat obscured my prescription sunglasses – or it could have been streaming tears – I could think of little except Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt’s scrotum.
I should probably explain, before anyone brings their breakfast back up.
I see more of mad keen cyclist Bolty outside my house than I ever do around Dewsbury and Mirfield – and we live 45 miles apart.
He and his lycra-clad pals flashed past the Farmer’s Market on the village green a couple of weeks back. Before that we had a quick natter as they waited patiently at the traffic lights before crossing the river Derwent, heading off into East Yorkshire.
It’s that time of year. At weekends particularly the roads of the (mostly) pancake flat Vale of York are festooned by middle aged blokes dressed up as Power Rangers.
I get it, the exercise thing – especially in the company of like-minded people who are too uncoordinated to partake of a proper leisure activity like golf.
I have a bike, but not one of these three grand, carbon fibre/titanium machines that weigh less than Kate’s newborn prince.
Mine has thick black tyres. It had 24 Shimano gears, but only about half a dozen now work – and then only when they feel like changing, usually when I’m stood up on the pedals on an incline, at which point they slip and I almost sacrifice my manhood in the name of ‘fitness’. The back brake is ok-ish.
Which brings us to Bolty’s b*****s.
Saturday was lovely. Buds and blooms on the trees, spring properly in the air. I got the bike out.
Now, I’d rather set off in a pink tutu than all that fluorescent, skin-tight pervy gear these people favour. Sensible shorts, trainers and polo shirt for Locky, thanks.
On my head, just a lathering of Factor 30 (we men with fashionably short hair have to be careful). You see, I don’t want drivers to mistake me for ‘a cyclist’. I’m just a bloke pootling about on his bike.
Treat me with caution like the ordinary Joe I am, not a hi-vis enthusiast with an attitude that the road is as much his as the car owner.
My destination was a distant village pub with a nice outside seating area, past which Mrs L would be driving later. The bike could go in the back and I could be transported home, suitably refreshed, in comfort.
I worked up a right sweat and a thirst, I can tell you, because those bike tyres needed pumping up and the six gears are down to three.
And so of course the bloody pub was shut, wasn’t it? And the wife wasn't answering her phone, was she? And the ride home was into a stiff headwind for good measure, obviously.
About halfway back, crossing the Pocklington canal and contemplating whether to throw the flaming bike in it and walk home, my mind turned to councillor Martyn's nether regions.
He and his mates do 100 miles or more at a time, all the time. I can only imagine the fellas must all have leather knackers.
I felt like my entire undercarriage had been daubed with Fiery Jack – and I’d have more chance getting Diane Abbott to apply ice and TLC than the wife. The bike’s back in the garage. I’m still sitting on a big cushion, whimpering gently.
SOME of you will go to the polls next Thursday to decide the make-up of Kirklees Council for the year ahead. Most of you won’t bother.
It’s a toss up which lot will whine and moan most about Labour’s appalling, systematic neglect of Dewsbury and Batley particularly, but north Kirklees generally. But actually do something about it?
No doubt you’d get worked up but can’t be bothered, because nothing ever changes. It won’t if you don’t make it.
I presume the nine Dewsbury and six Batley Labour councillors are happy as Larry about plans for a £45 MILLION cultural quarter in Huddersfield.
Our libraries and museums? No big deal. Just so long as they can rely on useful idiots to tick a box every three or four years and keep them in the well-heeled, stress-free manner they’re accustomed to.
But getting stuff done? Let me ask you – has your car hit a pothole recently? There are more potholes than cars it seems. But does the council care? Well, not enough that they haven’t paid out nearly £1m in motorists’ claims in five years – with £2m outstanding.
Still, that’s no surprise given that there’s a £76 million backlog in the Kirklees highway maintenance budget. There’s plenty of money for idiotic road humps up Grange Road in Batley though, playing havoc with industrial traffic.
The councill will blame Tory cuts for the pothole chaos, because it’s all they do. I can only presume that where Huddersfield is concerned, Jeremy Corbyn’s sent them cuttings from his money tree.
PS: He hasn’t – you Labour-voting Dewsbury and Batley stooges are paying for it! My, how they must laugh at you.
Nice to see Beardy Sheardy, still nominally the leader of Kirklees Council, getting a serving from a Labour MP, Wes Streeting.
Coun David Sheard (Heckmondwike) took sarcastic issue with the MP over rampant anti-semitism within the pro-Hamas, pro-Hezbollah Labour party. Streeting replied: “If that’s your attitude to tackling racism in our party then you’re not fit to hold public office.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself...
IF YOU are at all mystified by the whistles, bangs and smokescreens filling the Westminster air about Brexit and a possible customs union between the UK and EU, allow me to explain.
It’s an ambush, in short. Labour are using the spurious notion of staying in a customs union in a cynical attempt to sow dissent in government, bring down Theresa May and force a general election.
They’re also kidding the public, but what’s new?
Tory EU quislings like MP Anna Soubry are at least honest in pursuing it ‘within’ Brexit – because it would in effect render Brexit meaningless.
Remaining in a customs union would mean open border immigration, being bound by EU tariffs and law (without being able to forge our own trade deals) – all, while having no say whatsoever in what the power-mad EU Commission decide.
It. Is. The. Worst. Possible. Outcome. For. The. UK.
Is that clear enough? And remember folks – that EU Parliament you vote for is a folly; it can’t make laws, just rubber stamp the diktats of Jean Claude Juncker and his unelected EU Commission.
Having reached some Brexit accords, the EU’s keen eyed Michael Barnier has sniffed weakness in Theresa the Appeaser again and started playing silly beggars. The EU plan is still to sabotage Brexit at all costs.
Consider this. Switzerland is landlocked by EU countries. It is not in the customs union but has agreements giving it wide access to the single market. It suits the Swiss (who fairly pay for it) and suits the EU.
But they are loathe to let the UK have such a deal because at best thwarting Brexit, or at worst punishing us for it, is their be all and end all.
May needs to keep her nerve and prepare to walk away. It’s the only way to stop this infernal scheming.