Benny Is Innocent
‘PASSING the buck is nothing new in government, as anyone with a passing interest in our current leaders will know. But the Daily Telegraph carries a story that surely trumps the feeble efforts of Jo Moore and her pals.
‘The Government is blaming Benny Hill, the comedian famous for his sketches involving scantily-clad girls, for its failure to cut teenage pregnancies,’ the story begins.
At which point one waits for the weasel words that show that the facts have been twisted for the sake of a delicious headline. But the weasel words don’t come. Indeed, the phrase ‘Benny Hill culture’ comes straight from the mouth of Cathy Hamlyn, the head of the Government’s Teenage Pregnancy Unit.
There’s no answer to that, so we won’t bother trying. Instead, we shall devote what little space remains to a curious paragraph tacked on the end of the report. According to his biography, Hill, who died in 1992, maintained a ‘firm distaste for intercourse’.
The paper offers no comment, but adds that his father sold condoms for a living. With Hill setting his cap against carnality, and his old dad in the prophylactic trade, it is hard – though enjoyable – to imagine a less likely scapegoat.
But rest assured, that won’t stop the government trying.