Google’s searching questions about Ann Widdecombe
PUBLISHED: 14:30 31 October 2019 | UPDATED: 16:45 31 October 2019
2019 Getty Images
STEVE ANGLESEY on a busy few days for the Brexit Party MEP and her mindboggling ‘link’ to the comedian Josh Widdicombe.
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Anyone doubting that the great British public will make a wise and informed choice at the impending general election is held should stay away from Google, where the great British public is currently asking "is Ann Widdecombe really Josh Widdicombe's mum?"
Despite tiny snags like Ann's status as one of Britain's most famous spinsters and the fact that their surnames are spelled differently, the question of whether the tousle-haired Brexiteer might have secretly reared the tousle-haired panel show staple seems to be occupying many of us. So much so that in Google Trends' measure of internet searches about the bloke from The Last Leg, "is he related to Ann Widdecombe?" now nestles between "Josh Widdicombe tour 2019" and "how tall is Josh Widdicombe?" - these two presumably searched for by people who enjoy stand-up but only when the comedian stands up above 5ft 10.
Of course, Ann Widdecombe is not related to Josh Widdicombe, inset, but if she were it would hardly be more bizarre a tale than some she has recently been involved with.
Take what happened early in October when Widdecombe was invited to appear on a celebrity edition of The Chase, alongside comedian Jimmy Carr and television presenting duo Sam Nixon and Mark Rhodes (me neither). Despite failing to recognise the date of the Battle of Britain and shrieking "don't be ridiculous!" when asked a question about Spotify, the MEP's zany granny act had the audience eating out of her hand and helped her team win £100,000 for good causes.
But while the others donated their £25,000 shares to two childrens' charities and a hospice in Barnsley, Ann opted to bung her wad to 'Safe Haven for Donkeys in the Holy Land'. Now that's a lot of oats. Whatever happened to British TV gameshow money for British donkeys?
Odder still was to come on October 23, in the column Widdecombe writes for the Brexiteer Pravda that is the Daily Express under a rather old byline photo. Her lead story was an attack on the "lynch-mob antics" of a "mob of Remainers" who yelled things at Jacob Rees-Mogg during the People's Vote march. Also on the page was a predictable dig at Harry and Meghan ("oh, please do stop whining").
But then the veteran right-winger turned her attention to the tragic death of motorcyclist Harry Dunn, who was killed in a road collision involving the wife of a US diplomat who subsequently fled the country. "I have a friend who inadvertently started driving on the left in Italy and killed a motorcyclist," she wrote. "He, as did Anne Sacoolas [the driver involved in the crash with Dunn], stopped, tried to help the victim and called the police.
"The Italian courts were restrained. He was spared imprisonment, the awful memory of what happened being punishment enough. By contrast, there is a witch-hunt atmosphere in this country."
Unless her friend fled the country after claiming diplomatic immunity, this is point-missing on a grand scale. But weirder was to come at the bottom of the page, where Widdecombe pondered the case of Bruno Dey, the 93-year-old former guard at the Stutthof concentration camp who has gone on trial in Hamburg accused of having been an accessory to the murder of 5,230 people.
"I have the highest admiration for the Nazi hunters, but to haul a frail nonagenarian into court because his teenage self lacked the courage to stand up to one of the most brutal regimes in history, smacks less of justice than of vengeance," she wrote. Later she doubled down, appearing on LBC's Nick Ferrari show to claim that if Dey "had been in any way, even at the age of 17, actively involved in the deaths at the death camps, then I think that's a different issue. But he wasn't".
Well, not actively involved, but Dey has admitted being on sentry duty when he saw between 20 or 30 people led into a gas chamber, followed by screams and banging. He claims that at the time he "didn't know that they were being gassed".
Despite all this, Widdecombe thinks him deserving of mercy because of his age. It's a contrast with her views on ISIS bride Shamima Begum, who was 15 when she left the UK for Syria in 2014.
In February, the former shadow home secretary told TalkRadio: "She may have been 15 when she went out there, she has matured, she has been a mother three times over, she has matured in a war zone, and yet she'll still spout Jihadi rubbish… We are bringing the force of the law on this girl, and I think that's right…"
Can Widdecombe not see that the reason Begum still spouts Jihadi rubbish is that she is still a young and impressionable woman without the distance from her crimes which Dey now has? Or does she not care?
Perhaps she should heed the advice of the Catholic Herald columnist who wrote in February 2019 that a "passion for vengeance is a direct product of mass departure from the teachings of Christ with their emphasis on repentance, forgiveness and the danger of judging others".
That columnist, naturally, was Ann Widdecombe; the gay therapy-defending, right to choose-opposing, pick-and-mix Christian whose career, like that of her comedian non-son, should be on its Last Legs.
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