MANCHESTER NEWS
Worst antisemitism in my lifetime, says radio star

BY ADAM CAILLER

ANTISEMITISM is worse in Britain now than at any other time in his lifetime, radio presenter Mike Sweeney told 260 people at a Nicky Alliance Day Centre fundraiser.

The 71-year-old was part of the Loose Women panel, hosted by journalist Angela Epstein, at The Village Hotel, Bury, alongside lawyer Nick Freeman, Judge Lindsey Kushner, former MP Edwina Currie and former Real Housewives of Cheshire star — and wife of former Manchester United footballer Wes Brown — Leanne Brown. The event raised £10,000

Mr Sweeney, who presents six days a week on Radio Manchester, said: “I told my Jewish producer that antisemitism is the one racism that seems to be acceptable.

“If someone is being racist due to the pigmentation of someone’s skin, then everyone is immediately on it.

“As a non-Jew, I find it incredible that if you’re antisemitic, there’s always an excuse being made.

“At this moment, antisemitism is worse than it’s ever been in my 70-plus years.

“It needs addressing in society — it is not acceptable, not excusable and it needs dealing with.”

Mr Sweeney’s comments received the loudest applause of the near-three-hour event.

Topics ranged from parking violations to assisted suicide.

Asked what the panel would credit as the secret to their success, Mr Freeman, Ms Currie and Judge Kushner agreed it was “Jewish genes”.

Liverpool-born former Conservative MP Ms Currie, who converted to Christianity, said: “I was known as Edwina Cohen for a long time in Liverpool.

“Being brought up with family and a routine life of stopping doing things on a Friday night/Saturday for Shabbat helped.

“That gave me what is now known as mindfulness and time to reflect.

“I would have been a different person if I had been known as Edwina Kelly.”

Mr Freeman, who is known as Mr Loophole, added: “Having Jewish parents helped. I went to private school when I was seven, and we would have times table tests.

“The first two weeks I got zero out of 20.

“I remember my dad asking me what the ‘eff’ I was doing as he was spending so much on my education.

“He told me that for the next fortnight, every answer I got wrong I would get a stroke with either a hairbrush or a riding crop.

“Next week I got 13 out of 20, then 20 out of 20 and he didn’t touch me.

“After four weeks, at the age of seven, I went from being bottom of the class to top.

“I remember the feeling of being top and thinking that that is where I wanted to be.”

Judge Kushner caused controversy by claiming that some of her “best clients” were paedophiles and perverts.

She made the comments after Mr Freeman admitted that he would never represent them or alleged terrorists.

She later clarified: “Some of the best cases are the most difficult. You get to know people pretty well when you’re in a very heavy case.

“I’m not saying they are my favourite clients, but they are clients in some of the best cases.

“Where would we be if I said that I didn’t fancy representing these people?”

Ms Currie added: “Any of us could be accused of something and find ourselves in court.

“You want to have the assumption you are innocent until proven guilty, and you want to have a bloody good lawyer looking after you.

“We should be thankful for people such as Nick and Lindsey, and be proud of their expertise.”

No event could go ahead without a discussion on Brexit, and this was no different.

Prime Minister Theresa May received backing from the majority of the panel, unlike the catalyst for it, former PM David Cameron.

Mr Freeman said: “He abandoned the ship.

“If he was going to give us a referendum, he should have given us a differential of at least 10 per cent otherwise we end up in the situation we are now.

“He will go down in history as one of the worst Prime Ministers.”

Ms Currie added: “Theresa May is displaying the qualities of grit, determination and resistance — something which her predecessor did not do when he left.

“I was a remain campaigner, but I felt the result reflected the view of the country and we have to carry that forward.

“If I was in Parliament now, I would grit my bloody teeth and vote for it.”

Mr Sweeney called Mr Cameron “arrogant” for his recent comment that he was contemplating a return to politics due to “being bored”.

On a lighter note, Ms Currie shed some light on the truths of what goes on behind the camera on reality show I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here.

The 72-year-old, who was a contestant on the ITV programme in 2014, said: “Wherever you are, you’re surrounded by around 700 crew members.

“When the British show is finished, the Germans come in and carry on. The security staff are of Maori heritage.

“We used to drive the editors crazy by flirting with them and dragging them into view — normally they are hiding behind trees.”

When asked how much she was paid for being on the show, she evaded the question but admitted that she knocked her garage down “and built a new room called the Jungle Room” with the money.


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