Anorak News | Winning The War

Winning The War

by | 1st, August 2005

‘IT was the week when the world according to the Sun returned to normal. Hurrah! A nation rejoiced as there on the Sun’s Page 3 was Charlotte Church and, more vitally, Charlotte Church’s bare nipple.

A hearty full-chested cheer to our Charlotte, who defiantly served up her breast as a warning to all terrorists and religious fundamentalists who would have women trussed up in shapeless burkas. She for one will not be cowed.

And showing that in Britain men and women are equal, there in the Mail was Richard Madeley’s “admirably trim body”, the one he “can’t resist sharing it with the rest of the world”.

“He has got excellent muscle definition and puts lots of men half his age to shame,” said a captivated observer, “although he seems to have a small paunch.” Or a Judy Finnegan, as it is most commonly known…

And from Madeley it is but a small push of a shopping trolley to Tony Blair, who, in many ways, is to politics when Madeley is to daytime telly.

News in all the papers was that the Prime Minister has spent nearly £1,800 of taxpayers’ money on make-up over the past six years. The annual expenditure on the PM’s cosmetics had risen from £43.80 in 1999 to £340.02 a year later.

His grinning face appears before us as a mask of bronzing powder, oil and lotion – and more concealer than is thought decent.

But while we looked for more of such cutting-edge news, for stories of footballers waxing their chests and how Anthea Turner ties her sarong by the pool, terror returned.

Horror of horrors, we discovered that the terrorists were not all that hard working. The Sun’s front-page headline, “BOMBER IN BENEFITS”, told of how Somalian Yasin Hassan Omar, 24, one of the four men suspected of trying to commit mass murder on July 21, had claimed £23,000 in housing benefits while living in a ninth-storey flat in Southgate, north London.

Doubtless police are right now liaising with social security operatives as Omar prepares to confront the already besieged British taxpayer with a full crown court case and, if found guilty, many years in a British prison.

There was more. The Mail wanted us to know that bomber Muktar Mohammed Said often played football with children from Arnos Park and Broomfield secondary school. We heard that the Arsenal fan had had a “mad tackle”.

He went in hard, although to our knowledge, his on-field aggression never earned him a yellow card. Said might well be a murderous, narcissistic bastard but he played football within the rules.

By now, anyone reading the papers should have built up a pretty good profile of what an Islamic terrorist or a terror suspect looks like.

And on Wednesday, the Sun wanted us to know that the Eritrean-born Said was a “menacing, drug-smoking bully”. He was, as the headline succinctly puts it: “ROBBER, DRUGGIE, BOMBER.”

But where would his being an Arsenal fan fit into his list of life’s achievements? Somewhere between “Robber” and “Druggie”, or lower down the chain of descent?

But things were to change fast. On Thursday, Omar was caught. “WE’VE GOT HIM,” said the Sun triumphantly. “Suspect zapped with 50,000 volts.” (Omar was hit with a Taser stun gun.) “Cop: I never saw anybody so scared.”

There was indeed, as the Mail says, “DRAMA IN A BIRMINGHAM SUBURB”.

And this paper’s cartoonist has taken the trouble to show the pain and fear on Omar’s face, depicted dressed in grey pants, a blue top and wearing his trademark black rucksack.

And better was to come in the war on terror. On Friday, the Times reported that the IRA had told its units to dump their weapons and instructed its operatives to end their “armed campaign”. They must engage in “no other activities whatever”.

“This may be the day when after all the false dawns and dashed hopes, peace replaces war, politics replaces terror on the island of Ireland,” said Tony Blair clumsily.

It was a time to breathe a sigh of relief. But what of the other terrorist threat, the one posed by Muslim extremists?

Well, the law caught up with the rest of the July 21 terrorist gang. And after the grainy shots of the suspects, we got to see a couple of them in their unlovely flesh, including the aforesaid Said.

It was hard to know that to make of it. Should we be happy that they looked so unthreatening, podgy and ordinary or more worried because of it..?’

Posted: 1st, August 2005 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink