Jude Collins

Monday, 16 August 2010

Let's get down and tabloid...

UNITED STATES - CIRCA 1950s:  Little boy and girl reading comic strips outside.  (Photo by George Marks/Retrofile/Getty Images)

If there’s one thing that’s damaged the fight against the illegal drugs trade over the years, it’s the dire warnings we’ve heard again and again about what marijuana does to your brain, and how once you take it you’re on a slippery slope that’ll end up with you crouched in a dank alley injecting heroin into your big toe. Young and not-so-young people knew  from experience that this was Grade A Claptrap,  and so they tended to be equally sceptical about the legitimate warnings against hard drugs.  Thus the anti-drugs campaigners weakened their own case with a stupid lie.

Anyone looking at the front page of the Venerable Organ this morning might find their thoughts turning to marijuana. ‘They’re targeting kids’  the headline trumpets, beneath a massive picture of two (very photogenic) children who were caught up in the Lurgan bomb at the weekend. Now I know the VO is desperate to counter the threat of English tabloids and a headline and a picture like this does pull the punters in. But are things really so bad the VO feels compelled to go down the Grade A Claptrap route?

Dissident republicans are NOT targetting ‘kids’, or even children. They’re targetting policemen and British soldiers, and through a combination of bad luck and their own ineptness,  they’ve very nearly killed these children. That was the last thing the dissidents wanted,  just as the slaughter in Omagh was the last thing the Real IRA wanted. They may be reckless but they’re not that stupid: they know that killing children is bad PR for them, which is why when it happens, it’s because they’ve bungled, not because they set out to target children or civilians.

Just like the anti-drugs authorities,  the VO this morning has shot itself in the bum. Keen to hammer the dissidents and boost sales, it’s gone for an omigod headline and what it hopes will be a tear-jerker picture. The thing is, if the front page is such ripe tripe, what should we expect inside?

2 comments:

  1. ationals by paying
    them less child benefit than they
    were entitled to, it was revealed
    today. Two others quit when an
    investigation was launched earlier
    this year. All nine were based at the HM
    Revenue and Customs contact
    centre in Belfast. It is understood they tampered
    with computer records so that
    claimants from ethnic minority
    backgrounds living in various parts
    of the UK were paid less than they
    were entitled to. All have now been fully
    reimbursed. The resignations and sackings of
    the nine men followed an internal
    investigation into allegations of
    racially-motivated conduct going
    back to the second half of last
    year. Dave Hartnett, permanent secretary for tax at
    HM Revenue and Customs, said the
    department operates a zero-tolerance policy on
    racial discrimination. He added: 'The vast majority of our people are
    entirely professional and one of the ways we
    support that professionalism is by taking
    decisive action against the tiny minority who
    let us all down by falling far short of those
    standards.' The HMRC contact centre, where 200 people
    work, is based at Dorchester House, close to
    the city centre in Belfast's Great Victoria
    Street. The investigation started in January when a
    complaint was lodged by somebody who
    claimed their records had been changed. A
    detailed audit was carried out and the inquiry
    then widened to take in another 16 cases. It is understood the nine men, all of whom live
    in North Ireland, were suspended once the
    investigation started, but two quit immediately. Patrick Yu, chief executive of the Northern
    Ireland Council for Ethnic Minorities, said he
    was shocked that nine people in the same
    office could act in such a discriminatory
    manner. He added: 'From our experiences, non-
    nationals have little knowledge or no
    understanding of our benefit system. Due to
    our complex benefit calculation it is difficult to
    know what amount of benefits he or she is
    entitled to. In most cases they will accept the HMRC amounts without question.' He praised the HMRC for the swift disciplinary
    action. Mr Yu said: 'This is the only way to deal
    with institutional racism. Today the message to
    the general public is pretty clear -
    discriminatory behaviour is not acceptable in
    our society.'

    Taken from the Daily Mail

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