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Anorak | An Ill Wind

An Ill Wind

by | 29th, July 2005

‘THE Sun’s front page seems to have provided an answer to the question as to whether or not the London bomber caught in Birmingham planned to blow up a part of Britain’s second city.

Death to Renault 5s

The picture of Birmingham reveals a scene of mass destruction. Roofs have been ripped off a swathe of houses. Entire floors have collapsed. Debris lies strewn about the place.

But this is no terrorist atrocity. It’s the weather that’s wreaked havoc, as the Sun watches a tornado hit the city.

It’s “BRUM’S RUSH” inside the paper, as a 130mph twister hit. “Terrified residents ran for safety as tiles, bricks and glass also spun murderously through the air,” writes the paper excitedly.

The winds left the area in the suburbs of King’s Heath, Sparbrook and Small Heath looking “like a war zone” says the Sun. “It was like a scene from War of the Worlds,” says eyewitness Arjun Thakra. “Windows were popping like champagne corks, cars were levelled like butter,” says he.

It does sound pretty awful, and it’s worse on the Mail’s front page, where the winds, now cranked up to a whopping 136mph, brought “terror” to Birmingham. On pages 2 and 3, readers get to learn of “the tornado that blew away Brum”.

Only it did not. And pictures of damaged houses (“houses of horror”), a collapsed wall (“like a war zone”) and a car under a tangle of fallen tree branches (“buried”) display less a missing city and more a paper in full hyperbolic mode.

Sure the storm was strong, but no-one was badly hurt or killed. Reading these reports it’s as if the papers’ language has been affected by the continual talk of bombers and terrorists high on vitriol.

You half expect a Muslim cleric with bad teeth and thick-glass spectacles to pop up and tell us that this is God’s will and how the thirty houses badly damaged in Ladypool Road, Sparbook, are just the start of things.

But no. All we get is one man telling the Express that in looking at the tornado “you realise why they call it the finger of God”.

Who “they” are we don’t know. And the only finger of God most of us are familiar with is the one that comes from out of a cloud on a TV advert to tell us that we’ve won the National lottery.

Indeed, what they, being the papers, usually call such freakish weather is “Mother Nature gone mad!” – as it would have been before the bombers struck…’



Posted: 29th, July 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink