Anorak | Talk Of The Town: A Tabloid Guide To Dewsbury

Talk Of The Town: A Tabloid Guide To Dewsbury

by | 14th, April 2008

dewsbury-1.jpg “IT HAS BECOME the town that dare not speak its name,” announces the Daily Mirror.

“People outside must shudder at the thought of living in or even visiting Dewsbury in West Yorkshire. It has become a byword for everything that is bad about Britain – the Dewsbury bomber, the veil row, the toddler who nearly died after being strung up from a tree, the story of a man crucified… and now the Shannon Matthews saga.”

Strong words. But what of those who live there. Do they shudder too?

Being a good, reliable newspaper, the Mirror has tracked down an (anonymous) Dewsbury resident….

“A barman said yesterday: ‘I’m ashamed to say I’m from Dewsbury. Now, I say I’m from Leeds instead. It’s horrible living here.'”

OK, so he’s not happy. But take another look at that first paragraph. In particular, take a look at the bit that says people “must shudder”. Is that an opinion or an order?

A bit of both, it seems. The Mirror seems to have reached an opinion, and now it’s ordering us to follow its lead.

But what of the incidents from which the paper has constructed its case against Dewsbury?

Yes, Mohammed Sidique Khan was one of the London bombers. But as far as we at Anorak are aware, every other bomber (of whatever persuasion) throughout British history has come from outside Dewsbury.

siddique_khan_.jpg Yes, there was controversy at Headfield Church of England Junior School, concerning a pupil who was banned from wearing the veil at school. But there have been equally high-profile veil controversies raised by MPs representing Keighley (Ann Cryer) and Blackburn (Jack Straw) and by the Mayor of London, to name but a few.

Yes, the toddler “who nearly died after being strung up from a tree” was from Dewsbury. But did he nearly die? And was he strung up from a tree? Anorak’s brief investigation yielded the following, from The Times’s report of the case in 2005:

“The boy gave the police confusing and bizarre accounts of what had happened, saying that he had been strung up and beaten with sticks and nettles. In another interview, the boy said he thought he was in the jungle with monkeys surrounding him. He was cut down with a pair of scissors, he said.

“Mehran Nassiri, prosecuting, said the boy and girl gave conflicting accounts of what had happened in the woods. She at first blamed other children and gave the police four names.

[…] The girl at first claimed that the boy had followed her. She was with friends who put the rope around his neck and pulled him

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Posted: 14th, April 2008 | In: Madeleine McCann, News, Tabloids Comments (4) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink