This makes me sad.
I am sad that, of course, there is no such thing as a giant badger. Such a disappointment. The innocent creature pictured featured in the Daily Telegraph, one of the news outlets that ran a story that a giant badger was terrorising the girls at her school. It claimed there were ‘hundreds of screaming, hysterical girls … too scared to walk across the school grounds’.
While I wasn’t too pleased about her language, I was delighted that her reaction was ‘WTF?’ She had seen no such thing: none of her friends had even heard of the GB until she posted a link on Facebook.
It is a pity that she is unlikely to experience being ‘charged at and then sniffed by’ the beast, reported elsewhere in a story that arose from one single unsubstantiated anonymous source. Those journalistic standards in a story about my old school in the town where I started work as a reporter also make me sad.
My main cause for sadness, though, is un-badger-related. My daughter will start a new school for sixth form in September. There’s a concrete playground but no fields for badgers of any size here.
What it does have, I found out yesterday, is a police escort at home time. This is because of a ‘fear of crime and violence in London’s East End’.
It makes me sad that I’ve often had to call the police where we live. I couldn’t bear to list the dozens of times and severity of incidents.
I’ve worked for the Metropolitan Police Service and the Home Office. I don’t call 999 lightly. The number of occasions on which they don’t turn up far outnumber those that they do.
If the police think home time is in need of this level of attention, there are worse things than giant badgers out there. And that makes me very sad indeed.
(‘Shame, really’ was the response to most things by Nanny in Nancy Mitford’s ‘The Blessing’. Today I am mos’ly channelling her. Nanny, not Nancy. That definitely makes me sad.)