LAST Wednesday, on the eve of the EU Referendum, I wrote an article urging people in Edinburgh to stick up for their neighbours and friends from abroad and defeat Brexit racists like Nigel Farage with a solid vote to Remain in the EU.
On Monday morning, after the whole of Scotland did indeed vote to Remain, with only England and Wales (minus London) voting to Leave, I got a call from London’s LBC Radio asking me to come on air and defend my article to a “shock jock” named Nick Ferrari...
Ferrari: I understand you wrote an article in the Edinburgh Evening News – “Don’t let the racist Brexiteers triumph tomorrow” – this was obviously last week. I appreciate journalists don’t write the headline, but is a Brexiteer a racist, Mr Farrell?
Farrell: I think a lot of them are and if they’re not overtly racist, they’re closet racists. And I think Nigel Farage is overtly racist.
Ferrari: Let’s not worry too much about Mr Farage and he’s not here to defend himself. What makes you think if you’re a Brexiteer you could be a racist?
Farrell: Well, you only need to look at what the Huffington Post posted the other day, they collected all the racial slurs that have happened just hours after the referendum result and there’s dozens and dozens of hateful racial slurs. And basically what I think has happened is that the covert, secret, closet racists as I call them, who fronted the Leave campaign have legitimised people’s...
Ferrari: So hang on Mr Farrell, you’re talking about the closet racists, people such as Priti Patel, are you? And Michael Gove and others such as those?
Farrell: I’m not particularly thinking of them, I’m thinking of...
Ferrari: Well, you’ve just told me these are the people who fronted the campaign, I’ve just highlighted two fairly prominent people. So I just want to get this absolutely straight. Priti Patel, for instance, is a racist, is she?
Farrell: I think they all played a very dangerous game...
Ferrari: No no no no no never mind that, never mind that. Your headline was, unless you can tell me you didn’t write the headline, the headline was “... the racist Brexiteers triumph”, right? So, just to nail this, Priti Patel is a racist?
Farrell: No, she’s not a racist...
Ferrari: Ah! Ah! So you CAN be a Brexiteer and not be a racist!
Farrell: When I said “Brexiteers”, I meant all the people who supported the Leave campaign, not just the front people. And the loudest voices in that are often overtly racist; so they’re a conglomeration of people, they’re not just Priti Patel.
Ferrari: But don’t you see that headlines such as that could be construed just to stir up more problems?
Farrell: Ok, well what I believe in, and I go to church, is...
Ferrari: What? Sorry, does that mean your vote, your view carries more weight because you’re a churchgoer, I just wondered why you said that?
Farrell: Not at all, not at all. You haven’t let me finish at all. You just interrupt me all the time, so can I just finish please?
Farrell: Can I just finish?
Farrell: There’s only three words they say in church and that’s ‘Love your neighbour’ and I don’t think there’s very much love-your-neighbour going on just now.
Farrell: I don’t think there was before the vote and I don’t think there has been afterwards. And I think we should love our neighbours.
Ferrari: Right and how does an article “Don’t let the racist Brexiteers triumph”, how does that help Love Thy Neighbour’?
Farrell: Did you read the article?
Farrell: No? Well, there you go, you’d have to read the article first...
Ferrari: No, I’m... I can benefit from... well, you wrote it so you will now explain to me, I don’t need to write, read it, you can, the man who wrote it, can tell me how words such as “Don’t let the racist Brexiteers triumph” help with Love Thy Neighbour?
Farrell: It helped with Love Thy Neighbour because it persuaded my country, Scotland, to vote to Remain. That’s how it helped. It was a Scottish paper, an article aimed at the people of Scotland who read the Evening News, in Edinburgh particularly, so it definitely helped persuade people not to vote Leave because the whole of Scotland voted to Remain.
Ferrari: What is the readership of the Edinburgh Evening News?
Farrell: Oh I’ve no idea, but a good article spreads well on the internet...
Ferrari: Gerry Farrell writes for the Evening News, thank you.
(Nick Ferrari cuts the interview short)
Don’t poo poo the cancer test
Dear wives, girlfriends, mums, grannies, sisters, daughters and aunties.
Is the man you love scared to do his poo test for bowel cancer? Please get him to sit still for a minute while you read him this: six weeks ago, I tested my poo with the bowel cancer testing kit they send every two years to men aged between 50-74. I’d put off doing it for a year, out of laziness.
It’s vital to do your poo test quickly because it could reveal blood in your poo that the doctor can’t see. That could be an early warning and bowel cancer is much easier to get rid of if you detect it early.
My result came through the letterbox faster than usual. They’d found blood. In the envelope was a second poo test. I did it immediately. Two days later they told me they’d found blood again. They asked me to have a colonoscopy to find out if it was something bad or something harmless like piles. A colonoscopy, not to mince words, is a camera on a thin, flexible tube which they slide up your bum and into your bowel to see what’s what. My world turned upside down. I thought I was going to die.
The day I had my colonoscopy everything went smoothly. The NHS staff were kind and professional as always. The sedative and painkiller meant I didn’t feel a thing. In fact I was disappointed when it was over because I’d been watching it live in colour on a widescreen TV. As soon as the test was finished, right there in the room, they told me all was ok. Relief flooded through me. The tea and toast they brought tasted like champagne and caviar.
When my wife came in, we nearly broke each other’s ribs hugging. It was one of the happiest moments in my life and I haven’t stopped feeling happy since. Nine out of ten people survive bowel cancer if it’s detected early. Screening could save your man’s life. If he’s still shaking his head, make him listen to The Poo Song: https://youtu.be/UrwA_p8H6WY.
That’s me “playing the trumpet” at the end.