HERE are two stories scooped from the bran tub of news. You never know what you might find in there.
First up is “veteran TV presenter Noel Edmonds” – shorthand for that annoying beardy bloke who has seemingly managed to stay in employment since moving pictures were first trapped inside a box.
The Deal Or No Deal presenter was late for a meeting and adopted the Nigel Farage excuse: blame immigration. The Ukip leader, you may recall, was once late arriving in Wales due to heavy traffic on the M4. He blamed his six-hour journey on “a population that is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be”.
That was back in 2014, and today Noel Edmonds is on the front of the Daily Express, asking “Am I alone in feeling Britain is full?” He put the question on Twitter after he was late for what the Express calls “a crunch business meeting”. No elaboration is offered on the exact nature of that meeting. What is a crunch business meeting and is it different to a Crunchie business meeting, where self-important people sit around eating chocolate bars filled with honeycomb?
Self-importance is more than a throwaway line here. What Edmonds does in linking his late arrival to rising immigration is to conflate two unconnected things – and make himself the important part of the equation.
The rights and wrongs of immigration should be debated – but should be debated sensibly. Instead Edmonds adopts what is known technically as the Farage Fumble. This manoeuvre puts the individual before everything else: the ‘self’ stuck in a traffic jam rises above the general situation and, feeling offended or annoyed, looks for someone to blame. And who is easier to blame than immigrants?
All these immigrants, they come over here and spend the money they don’t have on expensive cars in a plot to clog up our motorways and stop people going about their daily business.
As for that ‘open door’ policy on immigration, that doesn’t really exist at all. It’s mostly a construct to stoke outrage, isn’t it? Last time I looked that door at Calais looked firmly shut, with queues of miserable and desperate people stuck on the other side.
Let’s put Noel back in the bran tub where he belongs.
Two people who aren’t at all miserable at the moment are David and Carol Martin from Hawick in the Borders – pronounced “Hoyk”, as David helpfully told reporters who’d gathered to learn about the couple’s £33 million win on the Lottery.
Now I knew that because we had a holiday there once.
Carol and David seem to be the ultimate nice and ordinary couple – as if ordered by Camelot central casting to avoid future moneyed mortification. They charmed the reporters at the press conference, saying that they drank lots of Tetley Tea to celebrate, with David adding that now he could spend £200 on a nice pair of brogues.
Funnily enough that’s just what I would do too – although my choice of tea wouldn’t go down so well with the Daily Mirror, which reported the Tetley line. Perhaps the Guardian or Times would pass on the detail that I celebrated with dahjeeling – damn, drink it, can’t spell it – with leaf Darjeeling tea.
Anyway, David and Carol seem like a decent couple who say they will help family and friends, and donate some of the money to flood victims in their home town. They are unlikely to be an embarrassment with their considerable fortune. Good fortune, I guess. And as a broke man on a ledge I was hoping to win. But so much money must be scary. How do you live an ordinary life after that? I guess you just don’t, but you do have to live some sort of a life.
David and Carol said they hadn’t intended to go public with news of their win. “You can’t hide 33 million quid,” David told reporters, adding “And you [meaning reporters] would be there in Hawick knocking on our neighbours’ doors.”
I would have kept quiet myself, but then my good fortune has never run to more than 25 quid.