Saturday, 21 March 2009

These kids may not be guilty now, but give them time!

Time for a complete non-story which is nevertheless an interesting indication of the way the Mail's sensationalism and dog-whistling gets their readers angry at shit that the articles technically don't say. The story is Boy aged TWO is youngest Briton to be threatened with an Asbo after he is accused of verbally abusing adults. It takes a whopping 23 paragraphs before we get to the police confirmation that the letter threatening the two-year-old with an ASBO was sent to the wrong address by mistake.

He added: 'Having conducted a review of these incidents, it now transpires one of the households has been incorrectly identified to ourselves as having children who may have been responsible.

'It has since been brought to our attention that the letter sent in error was received by a family with a child of two years of age, this was clearly not intended and we apologise for any distress this may have caused.'

So, it's essentially the perennial "Man wrongly sent £6billion phone bill!" fluff piece, except the headline and the structure of the article is done in such a way that the casual reader might be forgiven for thinking it's actually one of the Mail's even more perennial "Kids are running riot in the streets, only Littlejohn can save us now!" scare stories. And heck, it seems to work if the comments are any guide. The charming A.Hiscox writes:

Nice to see that the mum has a different surname to her youngest child and both the mum and the youngest child have different surnames to the current partner. No mention of the older two's surnames, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was another surname there too!
Actually, the article gives the surname of the youngest child as Poyser, which is in fact the same surname as her mother's partner, so he's clearly living with both his parents, but his mother hasn't changed her name because they're not married. The commenter has no evidence at all for his assertion that the other kids are born to different fathers, but, y'know...c'mon...chavs innit?!?! John G from Lancashire doesn't fuck around and gets straight to whatever he thinks the point is:

what the hell is wrong with this country
No time even for a question mark, this shit is too urgent! Helpfully, he gets an answer from Lou in Derbyshire:

what is wrong with this coountry is that it is ruled by children, the vast majority of them are horrible hooligans with parents who just ignore them. They are unable to discipline them and therefore they grow up with no fear or respect.
Elizabeth from London doesn't know if these kids are innocent or guilty, but they clearly will be one day:

3 kids at the age of 24??? Great, and of course she isn't working and living off the state...I can believe that those kids are trouble already, and if they are not yet, they will definitely be in the future!!!
Someone living in France cuts through the boring complexity of social issues and makes a devastatingly strong and original point which should shame us all into action over whatever the problem is here:

You couldn't make it up! What has happened to 'Great Britain'? It seems that it has totally lost it's "Great".
The dangers, there, of getting your impression of what Britain is like from the pages of this rag. The excellent thing about that one is that you could copy and paste it into about 80% of Mail stories and it would make about as much sense.

The comments, sadly, continue largely in this vein; a couple of people pointing out that it was a mistake and the kids have done nothing wrong, getting lost in a sea of self-righteous posturing and sanctimonious finger-wagging from the Mail readers, who have a go at the mother for letting her kids do things they haven't done, provide advice about how she should get them in line whether or not they're out of line, and generally lament the collapse of society. Perhaps the bleakest comment is one from Donna in Edinburgh. Unlike some of the others, she appears to have actually read and understood the story, and yet she sweeps the 'not actually true' detail aside;
...yes the letter was a mistake. But I bet you the children are not as Innocent as she makes them out to be.
You know, I try not to to criticise Mail readers too much, because I feel most of them are just badly let down by the warped interpretation of Britain their paper gives them, but sometimes they really don't make it easy to sympathise.


  1. 'What has happened to 'Great Britain'? It seems that it has totally lost it's "Great".'

    Nope, it's still not Brittany (Bretagne as opposed to Grande Bretagne).

  2. "yes the letter was a mistake. But I bet you the children are not as Innocent as she makes them out to be."

    Ah, reminds me of the double-page spread the Express did on the Forest Gate shooting and WHY THEY ARE ALMOST CERTAINLY CRIMINALS EVEN IF THEY DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.

  3. Sorry to be coarse but if their comments are anything to go by then most Daily Mail readers are some of the most worthless, witless cunts imaginable.