WHAT a washout. I feel for the hardy volunteers who have spent months planning their church fetes and village shows, or the loved-up couples whose wedding day photos have been taken beneath brollies with a backdrop of blackened clouds.
Flaming English weather.
There’s nowhere lovelier when the sun is in the sky, but it sure can be miserable when God forgets to turn the weather on, and we’re all peering up at a slate grey roof wondering what the hell the day has in store.
Flip flops or wellies? Toss a coin, but take both.
My memories of school summer holidays were largely six weeks of wandering the fields, streams and hills on the far side of Thornhill – always in the sun – although that’s more down to selective memory, I suspect – with the highlight of a working men’s club trip to Blackpool, Brid or Scarborough (I doubt that anyone who went on the day trip to Southport one year will ever forgive whichever committee member had that bright idea).
These days, few parents would let their kids head out after breakfast, only to return at dinner time (‘lunch’ was what posh folk had) or even tea-time, when we were drawn home by hunger pangs.
These days, especially with this weather and a far higher level of parental caution, it’s a real challenge keeping the kids busy.
Most summer holiday activities are outdoors, so it must have come as a real boon for local families during Wednesday’s rainy weather when Batley & Spen MP Tracy Brabin put on an “exciting” programme of indoor activities.
“All The Family Welcome” read R Trace’s poster. “Free Refreshments” enticed the message, in patriotic green and white print.
Green and white, patriotic, I hear you ask?
Well, that’s the passion that gets R Trace’s bovver boots stomping in anger – the green and white of the Pakistani flag.
“Are You Worried About Kashmir?” was the headline on her activity day poster. “Are You Going To The London Demo This Thursday?”
The ‘exciting’ activities to which families were invited to bring their kiddies at the PKWA centre in Batley – the Pakistan and Kashmir Welfare Association – included “creating banners and placards”, a “group discussion” and “planning for London demo”.
What joy …. “No, little Hasina – that’s not how you spell ‘Fxxx Boris Jonsen and the Torries’. Tut, tut, Tahir, we really can’t wave a flag saying ‘Nuke India, Reclaim Kashmir’ now, can we?
As for the ‘fun’ activity ‘Planning for London demo’? The mind boggles. I wonder if they were rehearsing chants to shout in the faces of the police, or getting advice on which imperial/colonialist businesses most deserved their windows putting through.
IF THE background to this mobilisation of Batley’s Muslims has passed you by, the Indian government has revoked a special status bestowed on Indian Kashmir – the region is divided between India and Pakistan and has been the source of conflict for decades.
Without boring you rigid, New Delhi has brought its part of the disputed territory back under central control, which has not gone down well with the majority Muslim population there.
It had Kirklees Council leader Shabir Pandor thundering at Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, and pretty much everyone in the Labour Party from Comrade Corbyn down to Batley’s Brabin tweeting their outrage and taking to the streets.
And thus it leaves the rest of us to ponder exactly what it takes to fire the blood of Pandor, Brabin and friends.
We are in the midst of uncovering a generation of grooming, rape and trafficking of young white girls, literally on the doorsteps of Pandor and friends, by men, some of whom may be known and possibly even related to them, but to which they respond with little more than a public “tut, tut,” if that.
Christians are systematically persecuted around the world by Islamist fanatics, amounting to what reports describe as “virtual genocide” in the Middle East, but the only public political response from Batley, Dewsbury and Huddersfield is silence. Stony silence.
On one level you can understand the blind eyes and deaf ears – it’s a world away, nothing to do with us. Indeed.
But Indian domestic policy over Kashmir has nothing to with us either.
So what is it, Pandor and Brabin? Concern for all human rights abuses, abroad and very much here at home, or just the ones that suit you – the ones that pave your passage to Kirklees Council or Westminster? Because that’s how it looks to the rest of us.
The thing is, it was Ms Brabin’s email on the poster, so presumably her handiwork – except her commitment to the cause didn’t run to actually joining the London demonstration.
She was here in Batley on Thursday ... so maybe not quite so publicly committed.
Still it’s good to start ‘em young and keep kids’ minds occupied. With such “exciting” family summer activities, who needs Blackpool, Brid, Scarborough – or even sodden Southport?
I SEE ‘nanny’ is alive and well. Nanny as in nanny-state, with pious Members of Parliament now berating us that even taking a phone call hands-free while driving is a veritable death wish.
I drive a lot of miles, mostly on motorways and dual carriageways and I’m all for the law being properly enforced. If I can generalise, young women are the worst for reading texts at the wheel – you can tell – and when I get into Batley and Dewsbury, it’s usually young men boldly clamping mobiles to their ears, despite the fact their flash motors obviously have a hands-free capability.
Just enforce the laws we have, Plod! That’ll be a start.
But I have to wonder – what on earth is the difference between talking to a voice via the car speakers and someone sitting next to you? Do we ban conversation next (it might prevent a few arguments with backseat drivers I suppose). Ban passengers altogether, perhaps?
And what about changing the radio? Changing gear? Ban it all! That’ll save the polar bears! Although if we have to rely on the trains, forget No Deal – the nation will be well and truly beggared.
PLEASE, please, tell me it’s not just me.
Talk about a nanny state – an advert for Philadelphia Cream Cheese has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority, because its jokey portrayal of a dad sitting his toddler on a food conveyer and getting distracted is “gender stereotyping”.
Oh fer, fer, fer, flip’s sake!
Who are these humourless Thought Nazis? Do they actually get paid to sit and find some fanciful offence in ever-more ridiculous aspects of everyday life?
I hope Disney don’t make a Mary Poppins 3, because the movie trailers will be banned for featuring a woman dressed up as a nanny-type Mary Poppins figure. I swear the world has gone doolally.