Ed Lines – June 21, 2019

Ed Lines – June 21, 2019

I ONLY caught the last 10 minutes of the BBC’s appalling Conservative leadership debate on Tuesday night. 

It’s a good job it was the last 10 minutes and not the first, otherwise I might have put my size 10 boot through a perfectly good Samsung 55” TV.

Boris Johnson had boycotted Channel 4’s earlier attempt to harvest good viewing figures via awful television, with C4 placing an empty chair where Boris would have been. 

The Beeb would have done political discourse a huge favour by having a stage full of empty chairs and letting the hysterical Emily Maitlis shout at the camera for an hour. 

Viewers would have learned just as much and it would have done greater service to the Conservative Party, because the BBC/Maitlis agenda was to undermine the Tories and particularly to savage Boris Johnson. Impartial BBC, my backside.

I was struck by how much the panel – and particularly Rory Stewart – resembled how 1960s Supermarionation puppets The Thunderbirds would look, if they came to life 50 years on. 

In terms of selling a vision of a United Kingdom under their individual leadership, The Thunderbirds would have been more believable.

And speaking of Rory Stewart, I haven’t the foggiest idea why he was standing for the Tory party leadership, when to all intents and purposes he is a Liberal Democrat. 

Like Labour/Change UK defector Chuka Umunna, the Dim Libs are Stewart’s natural home and the sooner he cosies up to their mad grandad Vince Cable, the better for all concerned.

Shortly after fellow Tory MPs rejected his depressing cause on Wednesday evening, Stewart informed the nation that we’ll get what’s coming to us if Boris becomes Prime Minister and heads for a ‘no deal’ exit on October 31.

Is it just me, or does that cataclysmic prophesy appear to have become accepted by default? 

The fact the UK economy has outperformed virtually all of the EU, despite the uncertainties and distractions of this Brexit debacle, seems to have completely escaped these Jeremiahs. 

They wallow in their own depressing predictions of impending doom, at a time when the nation desperately needs someone with a vision of a bright and glorious future.

I know it’s a reminder that shouldn’t require repeating, but hey folks, the UK still has the world’s fifth largest economy. 

The EU still wants to sell twice as much goods to us as we do to them. It also appears to have been lost in the mists of time and the verbal battles for personal political advancement, but didn’t the EU offer a simple, tariff-free parting of the ways very early in these convoluted procedures? 

Great. Just shake hands and walk away, £39 billion better off – unless of course the EU wants to talk sense and allow us to get off our knees and stand on two feet, face to face as equals.

But of course Barnier and Juncker, Merkel and Macron, don’t want that because their plan remains, as it always has been, to force political chaos in the UK, possibly a change of government, and a second referendum which they hope and pray will abort Brexit, just as happened (and succeeded) with Ireland and Denmark before us.

I can’t abide the hypocrisy of Rory Stewart and his fellow closet Remainers who – like Theresa May – keep repeating the mantra of ‘delivering Brexit and honouring the referendum’ (with their fingers crossed behind their backs) when we all know their actual plan is to keep us on our knees at Brussels’ behest.

Why would Brussels yield anything different from May’s appalling withdrawal bill if the new Prime Minister was coming in with exactly the same approach? They wouldn’t. They won’t.

Love or hate him, Boris Johnson will be the next PM because he’s the only Leave candidate in tune with the Conservative Party grass roots who will choose. 

Whichever candidates he ends up facing off against (I’m writing ahead of the final votes) Sajid Javid and Jeremy Hunt are Remainers, while anyone who trusts Michael Gove to help put their overcoat on deserves the knife he’ll happily plunge in their back.

And so, casting forward, the autumn will bring a battle between Boris’s Leave-oriented cabinet and the Houses of Parliament who are intent on derailing Brexit. 

The likely outcome? I think the Commons, aided by that weasel John Bercow, will prevail, and we’ll have a general election before the first frosts.

And the outcome of that? A Conservative-Brexit Party coalition government. 

Not that I’m heading straight to the bookies to put my house on it, because we are sailing in uncharted waters and I’m not yet sure what kind of a skipper Boris is…

It might have been 1am, but this young couple were making sure their infant son could grow up to say ‘I was there’ when Toronto came out to celebrate

It might have been 1am, but this young couple were making sure their infant son could grow up to say ‘I was there’ when Toronto came out to celebrate

I WAS in Canada last week where I witnessed the Dewsbury Rams being humiliated by the Toronto Wolfpack, among other things. 

As such, it seems a tad far-fetched when I pose this question: In the unlikely event of the Rams lifting the Challenge Cup at Wembley, would the streets of Savile Town and Ravensthorpe empty, to join the happy throng lining the town’s streets for the ritual open-top bus parade?

Perhaps less unlikely, if England win the cricket World Cup currently in progress, will the citizens of Tower Hamlets and Brixton descend on Trafalgar Square to join the melee of patriotic Brits celebrating our moment of glory? I know what I think.

My thrifty Yorkshire nature – how mooch? – led to my first night in Toronto being spent at a hotel describing itself as “a boutique property ideal for the solo traveller, handy for all amenities”. 

Boutique is shorthand for having to stand outside the ‘bathroom’ while trying to have a shave. 

And it’s a shame the actual ‘handy’ amenities weren’t elaborated on – an HIV drop-in centre, homeless shelter, and an abundance of hookers (not the rugby sort) and zombie-like addicts, strung out on something even Michael Gove wouldn’t sniff.

Yup, I’d found the neighbourhood that every large city, however fabulous it is, had. 

I spent a few bob more and moved to the elegant Radisson Admiral hotel on Toronto’s spectacular quayside for the next two nights.

However, its sad neighbours apart, those digs were handy for a sports bar to witness the Toronto Raptors winning their first-ever NBA (basketball) championship against the reigning champs, the Golden State Warriors. 

Because the game was in San Francisco, it was midnight local time when the Raptors clinched victory and nearby was Yonge-Dundas Square, where thousands of people immediately headed to celebrate.

It was remarkable. Neighbouring Afghan and Greek restaurant owners locked up as they and their staff headed for the gathering.

There were south Asian people, Chinese – every nationality and ethnicity under the sun – all proud (even if adopted) Torontonians and Canadians. There were similar scenes in Montreal and to put that in context, imagine Leeds Utd fans cheering on Manchester Utd in the FA Cup final. Not happening.

I don’t know what Canada has done right with its immigrant communities that we haven’t, but it was so heartening to see and experience. 

I’ve never visited a friendlier city, from the railway staff and fantastic rugby fans, to the gent who saw me studying my phone and stopped to ask if he could help with directions. Everyone was just so nice.

If our once-great, but mostly broken nation continues on its descent towards tribal warfare, I’ll happily fund my kids’ relocation to Toronto. In fact I would anyway.

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