No more giant badgers. Shame, really.

A_badger_not_the_giant_one_from_Folkestone_School_for _GirlsMy daughter is unlikely  to be attacked by a giant badger.

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.)

 

 

 

 

3 responses to “No more giant badgers. Shame, really.

  1. Hi Karen, I saw this crazy but typically ‘Folkestone’ story a few weeks back. It did a classic early silly-season tour of a number of on-line and print publications containing ever more incredible additions from the fevered imaginations of so-called journalists. I raise a particularly eyebrow over claimed that an order went out to shut all the windows after the beast had been spotted beneath a mobile classroom. Presumably they feared Mr Brock, already grossly over-proportioned, might suddenly start jumping or climbing into the school rooms. If only bouncing badgers were the only perceived threat to pupils! I was quite shocked by your revelation that schools in east London are introducing police escorts at home-time. How terribly sad that not only are there obviously many very real threats around but also that the fear of crime and anti-social behaviour is paralysing normal life in our inner cities. Stay safe! Jeremy

    • I was minded to say that my first news editor wouldn’t have let anything with just one anonymous source pass his desk …
      Yes, I wanted to comment re its idiocy when it came out in Kent Online. The author follows me on Twitter and it’s been tempting. Appalled that the Torygraph took it up. But the comparison was too much to pass up this time.
      The late great Linda Smith used to call our local paper the Weekly Murderer … They do love their crime.
      xx to you and Hattie.

  2. Happily your first news editor didn’t have a bean-counter’s henchman standing over him saying: “I don’t care if it’s true, if it sells papers…” I supposed you could call our local paper aspirational but that is being far too kind. The editor, I am reliably informed, lives by the motto “If it bleeds it reads” and there’s a part of him I suspect that would love to be presiding over the average Hackney/East London news agenda. Unfortunately he lives in a leafy (aren’t they alway leafy?) suburb where nothing much happens. The town to be fair has its inevitable moments. So he takes his magnifying glass and every time somebody gets mugged for their iPhone it’s front page news. Every time a car crashes through a fence we get an Inches From Death headline and a story about the lucky escape of the people who didn’t hurt.
    When it comes to real horror they have nothing left to say. The other day the front page lead was about a bloke who killed and dismembered his dad. They’d shot their bolt. It had no impact and read just like the average report of someone being punched in the gob.
    Love to you too from H and me xx

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