Anorak News | Barmy Army

Barmy Army

by | 20th, February 2006

‘OLD sitcom writers never die, they just go and work at the Mail.

It’s make yer mind up time

It’s hard not to smile as the Mail uses its front page to scream: “DON’T PANIC.”

Indeed, it is dear old Lance-Corporal Jones, the hysteric from Dad’s Army. Jones knows that bird flu is on our doorstep, pecking at the silver lids on our British pintas. He is manically running about the place telling us to remain calm.

Problem is “We’re all doomed”. “Bird flu at our door,” says the Mail’s Private Frazer. “Hotlines swamped. But Minister says: We’re prepared. (Now isn’t that what they said about foot-and-mouth?”)

The minister making the news is John Reid, the former health secretary, now defence secretary. He’s noted that two dead birds have been taken away for tests in northern France. And he realises that scientists are investigating the deaths of swans found in Suffolk, Hampshire, Yorkshire and Lancashire over the weekend. Fowl play has not been ruled out (the Mail, we should be working together, call me).

Reid is up to speed with developments. And he says: “It hasn’t arrived. Don’t let’s panic. I’m sure the Government has all necessary measures there.”

Phew! That’s put us at ease. But still the Mail asks: “Bird flu ‘could it be in UK already’?” The paper then invites commentator Geoffrey Lean to put on his tin hat and industrial wellies and wonder: “Will this be another foot and mouth?”

Since we’re all asking questions, the Mirror thinks the time is right to chip in with one of its own. “IS BIRD FLU HERE?” it asks.

Just like the Mail, the Mirror doesn’t know the answers to its own questions. Nor does it bother to find out, preferring to tell its readers how “infection may remain hidden for weeks after deadly virus arrives”.

With so many questions – and so little investigative reporting – little wonder the Sun’s front page says “WE’RE IN A FLAP”.

Not that the Sun is helping to calm things down, telling its readers that “Britain is still ill-prepared for bird flu – even though it is now on our doorstep”.

Crikey! Things look grim. Perhaps it would be best just to leave. Permission to speak, sirs and madams. Would you mind if I was excused? I’ve got to see a man about a birddog…’

Posted: 20th, February 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink