CONTRARY to fevered speculation currently circulating the district, I am not changing my name to Mystic Meg.
Sorry, potential recruiters from Churchill Insurance – oh yes! – it’s an ‘oh no!’ from Locky.
My ability to foresee ‘accidental’ fires on landmark buildings is strictly down to insider information, not the alignment of Venus with Uranus. Or anyone else’s, come to that.
Eagle-eyed readers contacted The Press regarding a somewhat cryptic statement I made at the end of June. I said I knew about a fire yet to happen at a major Batley landmark, the implications of which you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce.
When the former Batley Hospital buildings went up in flames last Sunday, the question was posed: was this the fire/building I had in mind?
Answer – yes it was.
We have had no response from the trustees of the Zakaria Muslim Girls School about how Sunday’s mysterious fire affects their plans to turn the building off Carlinghow Hill into a Muslim girls high school.
My understanding is that it won’t – because they have already given up on their ambitious plans. They can’t afford it, apparently.
The Zakaria got planning permission in the face of huge local opposition as long ago as 2013. In 2014 Trust chairman Shabbir Daji said the move would be “after September” but with no firm date set and a £1.5 million refurb to fund. Three long years have since passed.
So, what’s going on? Well, it’s good news firstly – you would think – for local residents, if the 250-pupil girls school isn’t going to happen. Not quite so good though, if it means the old hospital is flattened and a housing development replaces it.
You’ll understand why I have to be careful here. It’s important to say that by no means am I suggesting that anyone connected with the Zakaria had anything whatsoever to do with Sunday’s fire. Far from it.
But anyone familiar with how our Muslim community operates might understand that circumstances are rarely what they seem.
I doubt you’ll find a Natwest mortgage on that property. The Zakaria is a strict, deobandi Muslim institution. If the Prophet didn’t do it in the 7th century, they don’t in the 21st – and there wasn’t a Mecca branch of HSBC in 632AD.
People see a dodgy fire like that and the automatic reaction is “insurance job!” It wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t even insurance on it.
The info I received suggested the Zakaria management had borrowed money from within ‘the community’ to buy the old hospital, couldn’t afford to finish the job, and were desperately looking for someone to take it off their hands – someone who had no use for a dilapidated Victorian pile, but might be in the market for a prime piece of housing real estate.
There was a suggestion that the property was already in the process of changing hands. And then I was told, unequivocally, that the old Batley Hospital would be going up in flames.
Why exactly that would be, I really haven’t a clue.
In fact, come to think of it, it was probably just a lousy accident and strange coincidence and thank the Lord no one was hurt … move along now folks, nothing to see here.
IF YOU hadn’t heard the news, the UK’s police forces are at breaking point.
Cash strapped, under resourced, can barely afford to fill up the petrol tank in their old Ford Anglia patrol cars.
Some probably only have one working blue bulb when they have to rush home through red traffic lights to make sure they knock off their shifts on time.
Austerity, you know. Tory cuts, the cruel bar stewards.
Mind you, not all forces are completely skint you’ll be relieved to hear. Scotland Yard has scratted and scraped together £154,000 to keep four detectives on a vital case. They probably sold a job lot of old fashioned Dixon of Dock Green coppers’ helmets on eBay to raise the cash.
Well, I say keep four detectives on the job. ‘Topping up their tans on the Algarve’ might be another way of looking at it.
Operation Grange is the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, more than 10 years ago. After £12m of achieving absolutely nothing, officers have now uncovered a “person of significance” although the extra money is said to be “as much to rule the person out as anything else.”
Meanwhile it emerges the Operation Grange detectives have not even interviewed Gerry and Kate McCann, or the seven friends they were partying with when the three-year-old went missing. The detectives have apparently been relying on translations from Portuguese of statements given at the time via an interpreter. That sounds frankly unbelievable and I can only assume these Kops were seconded from the Keystone division of the Yard.
Don’t expect an arrest any time soon, let alone a teenage girl back in the family fold.
Still, never understimate the resourcefulness of our intrepid crusaders for law and order.
I wouldn’t mind a bet on the sleuths finding some inkling of yet another lead before this £154k runs out. After all, it only lasts until March and the Portuguese sunbathing season isn’t even in full flow by then.
FOR whatever reasons Theresa May might no longer be judged a suitable Prime Minister – and there are many – having a sore throat shouldn’t be one of them.
Who replaces her is the billion euro question, but I sense Boris Johnson lost his greatest chance to take pole position after Mrs May’s speech was disgracefully sabotaged by this Lee Nelson cretin, handing her a P45 ‘signed’ by Boris, then approaching old mop-top himself.
Boris should have chinned him on the spot.
How this kind of stunt is pulled off without insider help, I don’t know. Can you imagine someone trying that on Donald Trump? They’d have more holes than a worn-out sieve.
And Boris could have cemented his place as a man of the people with one good slap in the chops to make the point that, actually, this is the future of our country we’re talking about, not a cheap publicity stunt.
THERE was an interesting article in the Sunday Times about Britain being the ‘soft touch’ of Europe when it comes to money laundering.
Mafia dons were actually running mob operations in Naples from a terraced house in Preston, Lancashire. I make no wonder they don’t want us to leave the EU!
I wouldn’t go to some of the violent hellholes in Colombia and Mexico for a gold pig, but when it comes large scale white collar organised crime, we’re the bees knees apparently. According to author Roberto Saviano, an expert on the Camorra mafia gang, the UK is “the most corrupt place on earth” in how it facilitates “criminal capitalism.”
That crossed my mind as I stood in a bank queue behind a young man paying in thousands of pounds in cash. Being a nosey so-and-so I noticed the name of his business and looked it up later.
No names, no pack drill, but how that business generated cash in any substantial measure, I couldn’t fathom. Maybe I was missing something. Clearly I was.
And maybe the bank didn’t care because for every £5,000 cash it accepts from a customer, it charges up to £50 – and this young chap had a lot more than that.
Hear no evil, see no evil...