Thursday, 30 July 2009

Another wonderful day in the Mail

The Mail is today taking credit for being one of the papers whose excitable coverage of the 'Police banned from wearing Union Jack badges in support of our brave troops' story got the 'decision' reversed. Yesterday, the Mail, along with the Express and the Telegraph reported that yet more shocking political correctness gone bonkers had been behind a story about Met officers being told they weren't supposed to be wearing 'Support Our Soldiers' badges.

I'd link you to the original Mail article, but in accordance with their Dicking Around With Our Stories After We've Published Them Because The Internet Is Like A Big Etch-A-Sketch policy, they've just inserted the 'embarrassing U-turn' bollocks into the story. It's now entitled Scotland Yard DROPS ban on officers wearing Union Flag badges backing our troops, where yesterday it was called "Banned, the police Union Flag badge that backs our troops", as the URL and my IE title bar still indicate.

Of course, this leads to the story being an even worse mess than the original was. The original gave a lot of prominence to the idea that the ban was in place because someone had complained it was offensive. This was, and still is, backed up in the article by the line "The banning order is thought to have followed a complaint that the symbol is ‘offensive'". This entirely unconvincing claim, backed up by no official confirmation and not even a made-up quote, is flatly contradicted by the stated reason, which was as follows:
"The Metropolitan Police has a dress code policy to clarify the dress standard expected from all staff whether they are wearing uniform or plain clothes.

"The Met wants to ensure that everyone projects a smart and professional image in support of delivering a quality service.

"The dress code states only the approved corporate badging may be used and only on clothing authorised by the Clothing Board."
That quote was in the Mail yesterday, but has been removed in favour of the more recent statement after new Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson (the new, more tabloid-friendly successor to Sir Ian Blair) made a special exception:
'The Met has a dress code policy which states that only approved corporate badging may be used.

However, on this occasion, the Commissioner has decided to intervene.

'He feels strongly that these are exceptional circumstances and the Met should be openly showing their support for British troops currently serving abroad.
Indeed, it's also contradicted by the new introduction to the article, which states that the badges "fell foul of a blanket ban on non-regulation clothing". So where did the suggestion that there was a complaint come from? The Met have never mentioned a complaint, and none of the papers that have covered it and repeated the complaint theory have done anything to back it up. I ask this question rhetorically, of course. With the complaint angle it's another brilliant PC PCs Gone Mad story; without it it's a rather flaccid tale about a fairly reasonable regulation with no particularly serious consequences getting some patriots riled.

Elsewhere in the Mail, Rosie Boycott uses some ad hoc speculation about a woman's tragic suicide as a starting point for a kind of weird essay about the state of Britain, which seems to gently imply that maybe women shouldn't be having careers and babies at the same time. One wonders if she's hoping her employees read it and take the hint, given that a year ago she was writing about how terribly worried she was that she might have to pay maternity pay to one of her employees. Given that rampant speculation seems to be the order of the day, I therefore have no problem inferring that perhaps the "incredibly attractive young woman in her 30s called Sarah" who works for Boycott has just got herself a serious boyfriend. Don't do it, Sarah! Not only will you cause your boss financial problems, you'll probably wind up throwing yourself off a bridge!

Meanwhile, Anna Pasternak strikes another blow for feminism in Is there even ONE straight, kind, solvent single man in his 40s left in Britain?. I've double-checked and that is indeed the title of an article in a national newspaper, and not someone's Facebook status or the title of a drunken Livejournal entry. In it, Pasternak expresses her horror at finding herself still single despite having been on a 'handful' of dates. Rest assured, dear reader, that this is nothing to do with Pasternak herself. No, Pasternak has reached the conclusion that there ain't no good men after some painstaking research, which has mostly revolved around talking to her similarly single friends on a "detox holiday in Morocco" where they "bonded over our inability to find our male match". Some of these women are unfathomably still single despite being "well-educated and successful (including bankers, a lawyer, a top fashion buyer, a media executive and an art historian)".

What hope is there for humanity when a fashion buyer can't find a man? Pasternak is angry because these men seem to be failing to look past the superficial and seeing her for who she really is:
These men are so adept at sizing you up - your wealth and your looks - that they don't bother to see who you really are. And they don't care that an intelligent forty-something woman like me seeks a spark of recognition, of mutual companionship and respect.
Of course, Pasternak's view of 40-something men is rounded, nuanced and deep:
As far as I can see, they fall into two distinct camps.

There are the overgrown 'kidults' - men who have degenerated into hopeless commitment-phobes and just want to have 'fun' (ie lots of sex) with taut twenty-somethings. They just seem to seek endless couplings, often facilitated by the internet.

Then there are the successful, solvent divorc├ęs who are so determined to find wife number two pronto that they approach dating like a cold business transaction.
Which leads her to the conclusion that it's all the men's fault:
Believe me, in all this it's not a case of us women being unrealistic or fussy. It's our male counterparts who are more exacting, arrogant and demanding than we could ever be, and who have this vile presumption that they are some kind of sought-after prize that we would be so lucky to 'get'.
The article goes on to conclude that some men would prefer to shag attractive young women if they could, which unfortunately the type of men Pasternak is aiming for seem to indeed be able to do. Did I mention that this was in an actual newspaper? I'm thinking of submitting an article about how it takes some women a bit longer to get dressed than men, plus have you ever noticed how a lot of women seem to be more interested in shoes than men (possibly because they have a greater variety of clothing styles than men, who knows?). What's the deal with that?


  1. Surely the Mail must be committing crimes against humanity under the Geneva Conventions or something with arse-numbing wankery like this.

  2. What Pasternak is saying is actually true. I know she's writing for a moronic newspaper, but there ARE a lot of "kidult" men out there. They''re all over the dating sites. And it is true that women start to become invisible at 40 and many of their male counterparts are only interested in chasing much younger women.

    Women take longer to get dressed than men because we live in a world where women's appearances are ruthlessly picked apart and judged, including by the Daily Fail. I'm not particularly interested in shoes, myself, but I would guess that women who do care about shoes and clothes do so in order to satisfy a society that demands they be decorative objects.