THIS was the year when the 17.4million of us who voted to leave the EU in 2016 could be forgiven for asking: “Was it worth it?”
All that division.
6Brussels is reeling with what looks rather like the greatest financial scandal in the EU’s history – pictured MEP Eva KailiCredit: AFP6Belgian police seized more than £1.3million from raids on 19 homes and parliamentary officesCredit: EPAAll that trauma.
All that pain.
And for what?
The only person who has done brilliantly out of Brexit is its great roly-poly cheerleader, Boris Johnson, who has trousered more than £1million for speaking fees since leaving 10 Downing Street only three months ago.
Now that’s what I call the post-Brexit sunlit uplands!
As our battered, broken country grinds to a halt, it is very easy to forget why the British people voted to leave the EU in some of the greatest numbers ever in our history.
But now I remember.
Brussels is suddenly reeling with what looks rather like the greatest financial scandal in the EU’s history.
Belgian anti-corruption police have displayed 1.5million euros (£1.3million) they found in two homes and a suitcase, suspected to be dirty money from Qatar.
MEP Eva Kaili, one of the vice presidents of the European Parliament, is one of four people currently in custody, charged with receiving bribes from World Cup hosts Qatar to influence EU policy.
Ironically, the EU was going to vote on giving Qataris visa-free travel to the EU this week.
A bit awkward.
The vote has been quietly scrapped.
The comely Kaili is a former TV presenter who has spoken eloquently in the European Parliament about the glories of Qatar’s working conditions.
She denies any wrongdoing.
The Qatar government says any claims of bribery are “gravely misinformed”.
But why are suitcases stuffed full of millions in used euros sloshing around?
It reeks to high heaven.
And now we recall one of Brexit’s founding fathers — accountability.
We left because millions of the British people felt there was a democracy deficit in the European Union.
We left the EU because of its lack of accountability.
We — 17.4million of us — felt that our laws were being made and our lives were being run by faceless Eurocrats who felt no affection, love or respect for our country.
And we suspected that some of our faceless masters in Brussels were not there for the benefit of Europe.
But to stick their snouts in the bottomless EU trough.
It looks like we were right.
Perhaps we were naive to believe that life outside the European Union would be unalloyed bliss — or even better.
Perhaps it was laughably wrong to think that leaving the EU would give us greater control over our borders — for have they ever looked more uncontrolled than they do today?
But this just in — we were right to say that the EU is totally unaccountable, a sleazy racket riddled with brazen corruption, a gravy train of sickening gluttony and greed.
When those of us who supported Brexit are asked what we gained from leaving the EU, our stock answer is the vaccine rollout, which would not have happened if we were still steered by the dead hand of EU bureaucracy.
And it’s true, although we can’t hide behind the vaccine roll-out forever.
Brexit has to be about other benefits or it has failed.
But at the end of the year that Brexit stalled, Brussels looks like a sewer of secret backhanders, bent politicians and rampant corruption.
And if we want better relations with our EU friends in 2023, we are clearly going to have to start stuffing some suitcases full of cash.
What a busy body
ELLE Macpherson, 58, shares a new clip with her 660,000 Instagram followers where she looks exactly – and I do mean exactly – the same as when she was first crowned The Body in 1989 after appearing on the cover of Time.
How does she do it?
6Supermodel Elle shows her figure is the same as when she was first crowned The Body in 1989It is more complicated than simply winning the genetic National Lottery.
Elle shares a link to her interview with Body & Soul website where she goes into great detail about her rigorous regime that includes yoga, hydration, meditation, breath exercises and “getting up with the sun”.
Lots of smiling.
Above everything, smiling is key.
The first thing Elle Macpherson does every day is – smile.
And the last thing she does each day is – smile.
There is a lesson for all of us there.
Count your blessings.
Be grateful for what you have.
Mind you, Elle Macpherson does have an awful lot to smile about.
Blown it, Mick
MICK Lynch, flat-capped railway union firebrand, was a media darling as recently as September, guesting on the smug lefty love festival that is Have I Got News For You.
How long ago it seems!
6Lynch angrily commanded GMB’s Richard Madeley to interview himself when asked if he was ruining ChristmasCredit: LNPThis week Lynch erupted at two presenters who had the temerity to ask him a tricky question.
Lynch angrily commanded GMB’s Richard Madeley to interview himself when Richard wondered if Mick was spoiling Christmas.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today, Lynch bizarrely accused Mishal Husain of “parroting” right wing propaganda for not showing sufficient “admiration” for his senseless, spiteful strike.
Calm down, comrade!
When you lose your rag, Mick, you have lost the argument.
Biden an old joke
“YOU think I don’t know how f***ing old I am?” President Joe Biden, 80, reportedly snapped at some hapless flunky.
6Biden falls off his bike, snaps at reporters, makes Air Force One look like it needs a stair liftCredit: AFPLet’s think carefully before we respond to that, Mr President.
You recently warmly thanked the Prime Minister of Colombia for his leadership when you were having a meeting with the Prime Minister Hun Sen of, er, Cambodia.
Wrong world leader.
You recently gave a speech in the White House asking if Republican congress-woman Jackie Walorski was in the audience – “Where’s Jackie?” you chortled.
“Is Jackie here?”
Walorski died in a car crash in August.
Biden falls off his bike, snaps at reporters, makes Air Force One look like it needs a stair lift.
I am afraid “Sleepy Joe” doesn’t quite cover it any more.
With the greatest respect, Joe Biden not knowing his age is surely a definite possibility.
Will and Kate’s abbey family
CATHERINE, Princess of Wales, is becoming a Christmas stalwart.
Last year, Kate played the piano in public for the first time at the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas service in Westminster Abbey, accompanying singer Tom Walker.
6The Prince and Princess of Wales arriving with their children Princess Charlotte and Prince George at the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster AbbeyCredit: PAThis year, at the same carol service, she was radiant in seasonal red alongside her husband and two oldest children.
Kate has also posted a clip on Twitter showing her adorning her family’s tree, wrapped up warm in a festive winter woolly, wreathed in smiles.
What a contrast with Mr and Mrs Markle, Les Miserables of Montecito.
A new poll by YouGov suggests Harry and Meghan are now the least popular royals, with only Prince Andrew polling lower.
I’d even prefer Andrew over this self-pitying pair any day.
But one good thing has come out of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex constantly telling us how tough life was in all those uncaring palaces, and how shallow it was for the racist British people to pay for their £30million wedding and how the racist British media conspired to feed Meghan to the racist corgis.
Harry and Meghan have surely secured the future of the British monarchy for the next 100 years.
Gareth is vital
I PRAY Gareth Southgate stays as England manager.
The man is part of English football’s DNA.
The boy who missed the penalty in 1996, the man in the waistcoat in 2018.
There was only pride for England at this 2022 World Cup.
No foreign replacement – and any Southgate replacement is likely to be foreign as Eddie Howe will be at Newcastle for some years to come – will ever feel England’s agonies and ecstasies like Southgate.
The team is young and will get better.
The next Euros start in 18 months.
Gareth, be a bit bolder with the incredible talent you have sitting on the substitute’s bench.
But please stay.
Stay because you are good at your job.
Stay because this England squad and the England supporters love you.
But above all, stay because you are one of us.
THIS column is back with a bang on New Year’s Day. Merry Christmas to you and yours from me and mine.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk