I THINK we can file the past week in the ‘interesting’ column, even as Locky weeks go, from wandering around the Ijtema religious festival in Savile Town on Saturday, to being refused entry to the Old Bailey for the Tommy Robinson re-trial on Tuesday.
It says something when an infidel like me can get a warmer reception amongst Islamic ideologues, than from the City of London police – although it would have been interesting to see the reaction had the aforementioned Robinson paid a visit to Savile Town.
Do you know what? I expect he’d have been treated with respect.
The Press got a predictable kicking on Friday from local Muslims ‘outraged’ at the publicity we gave the Ijtema. I suspect many complainers weren’t old enough to remember the 1994 event which did attract over 50,000, causing absolute chaos and creating real ill-feeling.
The 50,000 attendance speculated on for the 2018 Ijtema wasn’t even our figure – that came from people apparently involved in it. Still, any excuse to play the race card, eh?
One Facebook warrior throwing abuse at me removed it when I pointed out that I’d had nothing to do with the coverage and that in fact we had a mutual (Muslim) friend. He suddenly wanted to treat me to a meal. I politely declined.
There’s no official word on numbers, but I’d guess at around 10,000 over the weekend. Either way, the parking arrangements and marshalling were excellent and traffic flowed well.
I guess it helps that, unlike now, in 1994 Savile Town was still very much a mixed community which caused major access problems, whereas today the mosques can shut the neighbourhood off without a murmur, because there’s no one left to be inconvenienced.
I parked by the Leggers Inn at the canal basin and wandered up and around the Markazi site. I got one cheery hello, quite a few curious looks, and just one vaguely hostile reaction when I took a photo of the crowds.
It was nothing to write home about and I headed back to the real world via Cross’s Butchers in town for some belly pork and pies. Not surprisingly, owner Glenn Riding hadn’t been swamped by visitors – they don’t know what they’re missing!
I WAS a funeral pall-bearer on Thursday, then we lost a close friend on Friday, and on Monday I was in London visiting a friend in the advanced stages of a terminal diagnosis. Not-so happy days.
Being ‘in town’ made it feasible to catch the Robinson re-trial, coming as it did on the heels of Kirklees’s 20 rape gang convictions and 221 years jail-time (with more sentences yet to come). It was over reporting that case that Robinson was imprisoned.
Speaking as a journalist whose reporting once saw a trial stopped and moved to a different court (the Iraqi Kurd who tried to kill Lee Massey in Ravensthorpe) and who was both hauled into court and referred to the Attorney General for potential Contempt of Court, I have a particular interest.
Despite liaising with the Old Bailey staff and providing accreditation, an arsey officer in charge of security kept me out. Why? Probably because he has a one-inch winky and he could. Hey ho.
The large ‘Free Tommy’ crowd was interesting. Young and old, male and female, some ‘football lads’, but city gents too, and plenty of ex-servicemen. It was all good natured – an Asian speaker wearing a skullcap got a big ovation but I’ll bet they didn’t show him on telly – too busy trying to snap someone with a can of cider.
I didn’t miss much in court as the case was finally referred to the Attorney General – which it should have been from day one.
Thanks to a quick Boris Bike over to King’s Cross, I was back oop t’north for 1pm.
THOSE rape gang sentences raise a few questions.
As someone who is painfully familiar with the police’s propensity for throwing innocent journalists in prison cells, how on earth are men accused of the vile sexabuse of vulnerable children allowed to walk free on bail?
The details of some of those horrific offences are not suitable for publication and the sentences reflect it – yet those men were allowed to walk free for months. Why?
We are told at least one, Sajid Hussain, has reportedly been back in Pakistan for four months. Again, how?
Because of the reporting restrictions a judge imposed, what should have been six months of daily evidence of this rotten plague on our towns – now very close to home – was limited to a day or two of faux outrage at the very end.
Indeed, while some newspaper virtually disappeared up their own backsides insisting ‘this isn’t a Muslim thing’ others gave as much coverage to saying the aforementioned Robinson should apologise to the victims for jeopardising the trial!
Yup, being a not-very-clued-up citizen journalist is far more heinous than raping and sodomising children.
If we can find a positive, it’s that at least they didn’t follow Bradford West Labour MP Naz Shah’s previous example, sharing a social media post telling rape victims to shut up “for the good of diversity”.
But neither did any of those newspapers mention the next 30 men and one woman who are due in Leeds Crown Court on identical sex offences next Thursday.
Now, we presume innocence obviously, but those 31 mostly Kirklees people face charges every bit as grievous as those jailed last week.
So are they all on remand awaiting trial? No, they’re walking free. Why?
I DIDN’T see numerically-challenged Diane Abbott at the People’s March in London last week, but she must have had some involvement.
How else could the 220,000 parading cry-babies (official Met Police numbers) have become 670,000 by the time they made the Sunday papers? Because they don’t ever tell big porkies, do they?
But then again you didn’t see Jeremy Corbyn marching either – or indeed any of the Labour commissars – and for good reason. They want us out of the EU too.
In that they have my full support and while I find little honour in them cynically trying to bring this useless government down at whatever cost to the country, it is eminently understandable.
If Corbyn is politically and economically incontinent, then Theresa May is happy to give the entire country the sh*ts in order to save her pathetic vanity. At unlike any time since 1940, where is today’s Churchill when we desperately need him?
WE HAD an advertising inquiry this week for a legal notice that’s about half the size of a cigarette packet.
Like a lot of people who must love being bent over and having their britches pulled round their ankles, the customer had been to the Dewsbury Reporter Group to ask how much it would cost to go in their paper. Go on, guess how much?
Eight. Hundred. Pounds. Crikey, the way their sales are right now, it would be cheaper to send all their readers a letter. When the chap finally got up off the floor, he started looking for sensible alternatives.
No wonder the Reporter, Batley News and Spenborough Guardian’s crippled owners, Johnston Press, are virtually bust and find themselves facing being broken up in a fire sale.
Johnston Press, already a major publisher, bought the Reporter’s parent company the very same week we started The Press. They paid £560 million for it. And the entirety of JP today? They’re valued at just £3m – and they must have spent that much trying to put us out of business. The banks have finally got fed up waiting for £220m of debt to be paid off.
I’m not gloating, because it is so sad what a revolving door of talentless gold-diggers have done to once-great local newspapers.