Anorak News | The Word On The Lane

The Word On The Lane

by | 13th, July 2005

‘I SAY, I say, I say, what do you call a man who blows himself up on a crowded train with the intent of killing and maiming anyone and everyone around him?

‘And finally… A gas leak in central London…’

THE Mail thinks it knows and labels the four “SUICIDE BOMBERS FROM SUBURBIA” – “the teenager”, “the cricketer”, “the family man” and “the mystery man”.

That’s a good try, or four good tries; five if you include ‘suicide bombers’. But they are all wrong.

The Sun thinks it knows, and labels the foursome who came to London from Yorkshire dressed as hitchhikers “THE BRIT BOMBERS”.

But this is not the right answer, either. Which just leaves the Mirror to give us its best shot. Are they “THE SUICIDE MURDERERS”?

Like it. It’s a neat variant on the American ‘homicide bomber’. But it too is wrong.

In times like these we usually defer to the BBC’s style guide, and it says, as the Mail reports, that the answer is the unadorned “bombers”.

As Helen Boaden, the Beeb’s knowing director of news says in her memo dispatched to her editors after last week’s attacks, or ‘pranks’, the ‘perpetrators’, the ‘misunderstood’, the ‘accidental tourists’, call them what you will, are not terrorists.

She’s advised the BBC’s news staff not to use the word ‘terrorists’ when talking about, er, terrorists and to resist any urge to talk of the ‘events’ as being part of a ‘terror attack’.

That is clear enough. But to the Mail (“So whose side is the Beeb really on?”), the move is controversial, although surely in keeping with the Beeb’s labelling of men and women who blow up buses in Israel as “extremists” or “militants”.

Or ‘happy slappers’…’

Posted: 13th, July 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink