Grant Woodward: Boris is not the messiah, he’s a self-serving buffoon

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Consequences of EU vote are nothing compared to disaster that would befall Britain if Johnson ever got a sniff of Downing Street

SO there I was. Perched on the edge of my sofa on Sunday night, as I’m sure you were, waiting with bated breath for Boris Johnson to tell us whether or not we should stay in the European Union.

I’d been on tenterhooks all day. The papers said he wouldn’t be making an announcement until 10pm. This, naturally, was so that the newspaper that pays him £250,000 to write a weekly column (a sum Boris rightly describes as “chicken feed”) would get the exclusive.

But I was monitoring the TV news channels just in case. And sure enough, just before 5pm our saviour emerged to his sea of disciples (otherwise known as the London-based media) to tell the nation his decision.

“He’s on!” I shouted to my wife in the kitchen. “Boris is on! Come quick or you’ll miss him!”

It was truly a momentous event in our lives as the millionaire Old Etonian stood outside his London mansion and told us he was backing “Vote Leave or whatever the team is called”.

We wouldn’t have missed Boris’s Sermon on the Doorstep for all the world. I mean what else were we going to do?

Worry some more about whether our children will get into one of the massively oversubscribed state schools in our area?

Hit the calculator again to work out how we’ll afford the four per cent hike in council tax to cover the massive shortfall in Government funding for Leeds?

Ok, so I’m being sarcastic. But you get my point.

The occupants of the Westminster bubble may as well have beamed down from Planet Zarg for all the relevance their petty squabbles have for most people in Britain, let alone us lot north of the Watford Gap.

Don’t get me wrong. The issue of whether or not we stay in the EU is an important one.

But already it’s been reduced to a pathetic pantomime that proves our politicians have no clue what really matters to the public they’re meant to be serving.

Instead of being about Britain, with a proper breakdown of the pros and cons of staying or going, it’s all about Cameron and Johnson – the Bullingdon Club boys engaging in handbags at dawn.

Who cares? I just want to see cold hard facts that allow me to make an informed decision come June 23. Ideally put together by independent economists and laid out on a spreadsheet.

Do jobs (apart from our MEPs’) genuinely depend on membership of the EU? If so, how many?

Are we safer from terrorists, as Home Secretary Theresa May claims, by being part of the EU?

Do we really hand over £18bn a year to Brussels? And what do we actually get for that?

At the moment the argument for staying in is based solely on fear.

David Cameron warns that leaving the EU “could hurt working people for years to come”. Fair enough, but so will a Tory government.

As for Boris Johnson, I’m not sure we’ve witnessed a more blatant display of self-interest since Kate Winslet shoved poor Leo DiCaprio off that floating door in Titanic.

What does it say about Britain – and our London-centric media – that we’re meant to hang on the every word of a man who has shown himself to be so hopelessly out of step with ordinary people?

A man who thinks £250,000 is “chicken feed”. A man who has talked of “piccannies” and “watermelon smiles” when referring to Africans and branded gay men “tank-topped bumboys”.

A man who felt it ok to accuse the people of Liverpool of “wallowing” in their “victim status” because they refused to accept the lies fed to them over Hillsborough.

At the moment I’m not sure which way I’ll vote on June 23.

But I do know one thing. The consequences of Britain staying put or coming out are as nothing compared to the disaster that would befall us if this boorish, self-serving buffoon ever got a sniff of 10 Downing Street.

No choice but to fix town hall

I USED to take my car to a garage where the mechanic would give me an estimate for the repair job, only to then present me with a far heftier bill when I went to pick it up.

He’d tell me it was because they had found a few more bits that needed doing. Or that the job ended up being more difficult than they expected.

Either way my jaw would drop, I’d wince as I handed over my credit card and I ended up going somewhere else.

I can only think that’s how Leeds City Council felt when the estimate for repairs to the Town Hall somehow went from £3m to £10m. I know it’s a 160-year-old building but still, that’s a hell of a jump.

Some aren’t happy that the council is spending so much on this when money is so tight. But the fact is they have no choice but to carry out the work.

As a Grade I listed building they really don’t – someone will make them if they won’t do it willingly – and at least half the cash will come from Lottery funding.

And besides, how many other truly iconic buildings does Leeds boast? As one of the city’s finest landmarks it’s our duty to keep it looking ship-shape.

With big name comics, a wrestling event and a Four Seasons tribute night, there’s a shedload of entertainment lined up for the Town Hall over the next couple of months. Oh, and Jason Donovan’s playing there too.

Now we need the council’s commercial team to earn their corn by bringing in more moneyspinners to help find that other £5m.

Sick of getting the turd degree

SOMETIMES human beings leave me truly baffled. How hard can it be, for instance, to pick up after your dog?

All it takes is a couple of plastic bags. I know they’re not free from the supermarkets any more but surely pet owners aren’t that hard up.

If they are, they shouldn’t have a dog in the first place.

Walking down our road is like doing the downhill slalom on Ski Sunday.

The pavement is peppered with piles of the stuff, often spread even further across the tarmac because some poor sod has trodden in it.

We’ve had to scrape it off our kids’ shoes and given the number of children in the area I’m sure plenty of other parents have too.

I’ve heard rumours that it’s a dirty protest by local dog walkers after the primary school took back land they used to do their walkies on so they could expand.

But no one could be that petty and vindictive, could they?

Follow Grant on Twitter @woodwardworld

Victoria Gate in Leeds.

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