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TIMES: Mick Hume

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  • Dragana Mitrovic
    http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,322-2001553527,00.html THE TIMES (London) SATURDAY DECEMBER 01 2001 Mick Hume I forget many things; but being called Satan
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2001
      http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/0,,322-2001553527,00.html

      THE TIMES (London)
      SATURDAY DECEMBER 01 2001

      Mick Hume

      I forget many things; but being called Satan in a suit
      tends to stick in one's mind
      ----
      "I find myself arguing with the ubiquitous media
      pundit Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, whose Islington-Islamic
      opinions some find a little shrill and
      self-righteous...I remind Ms A-B that we last crossed
      swords on a TV debate during the Kosovo war, when she
      remarked that I was “the Devil in nice clothes”.
      ----

      MY mother tells me that her church didn’t smash any
      plates during Sunday’s service. Other Methodist
      churches did, apparently to highlight violence against
      women, as part of White Ribbon Day. Campaigners and
      celebrities also blew whistles in Trafalgar Square.
      How much was achieved by this cacophony remains
      unclear, but no doubt they meant well. Reports of the
      campaign highlighted familiar statistics about one in
      four UK women being victims of domestic violence. Can
      it be true that six million women are secretly
      brutalised by their partners? Which one in four of
      your friends is it? Are these the same one in four
      women that we’re told are raped, or is that another
      six million victims somewhere? Look closer, and you
      usually find these statistics come from a few
      questionable surveys. They create the false impression
      of a society filled with abusers and the abused. Yet
      it seems any statistical analysis is acceptable to
      raise our “awareness” of a cause. After all, awareness
      raising is now a fiercely competitive market;
      according to my quick Internet search, White Ribbon
      Days have also been held for gay teen suicides, peace
      in Northern Ireland, world peace, safe motherhood,
      Puerto Rico, missing children, and “to thank all
      people with disabilities”, among others.


      STRAIGHT from a discussion of media coverage of the
      war with the novelist Will Self, organised by the
      Internet news service Ananova, to join a debate on the
      same subject at City University school of journalism,
      chaired by Simon Jenkins of The Times. I find myself
      arguing with the ubiquitous media pundit Yasmin
      Alibhai-Brown, whose Islington-Islamic opinions some
      find a little shrill and self-righteous. She disagrees
      with my complaints about the new school of more
      emotional war reporting, and dismisses any notion that
      journalists are able to be objective.

      This sounds like a recipe for turning reporting into
      creative writing. I remind Ms A-B that we last crossed
      swords on a TV debate during the Kosovo war, when she
      remarked that I was “the Devil in nice clothes”. “You
      don’t forget, do you?” she says. I assure her that I
      forget many things; but being called Satan in a suit
      tends to stick in one’s mind.



      OF course the health service needs Gordon Brown’s
      extra money. But it might also reconsider how it uses
      those billions. A former hospital consultant has sent
      me an (almost) A-to-Z list of the committees he had to
      sit on as the chairman of a department in a NHS
      hospital. It begins with the Audit, Accreditation and
      Appointments Committees, Budget Committee, Complaints,
      Certification, and Critical Incidents Committees,
      Distinction Awards, Disciplinary and Directorates
      Committees and the Ethics Committee, and goes right
      through to the Working Hours Directive Committee. And
      to think, all that time he could have been operating
      on Mrs Oldlady on her trolley in the corridor.


      GLANCING at the Daily Mail in a West End coffee shop,
      I almost bit through my tongue along with my croissant
      at the sight of Cilla Black, 58, and “Babs” Windsor,
      63, in sequined basques at the Royal Variety
      Performance, beneath the headline: “The night Cilla
      and Barbara showed that sex appeal is ageless.” I will
      bite my tongue again, and say only that they do,
      indeed, have every bit as much sexual appeal for me
      today as they have always done. (Virginia says she
      feels much the same about sprightly Mick Jagger.) I am
      all for the triumph of fun and free expression over
      prudery. But there is something dubious about a
      culture where any trashy act can be applauded on the
      grounds that the artists are “expressing their
      sexuality”. Later that morning I passed the theatre
      where The Vagina Monologues is delighting audiences,
      after the triumph of Puppetry of the Penis. Perhaps
      somebody is even now planning to stage the musical
      spectacular Anus on Ice for Christmas.


      FEELING the onset of a cold, I try to cadge a
      paracetamol from a colleague. She is fresh out, after
      a supermarket refused to let her and her husband buy
      two boxes; apparently it is illegal to sell anybody
      more than 32 tablets. Jennie pointed out that there
      were two people making the purchase, and they even
      offered to queue up separately with one packet each,
      but to no avail. What makes this all the more absurd
      is that 32 paracetamol can be quite enough to kill.
      As, indeed, can one bottle of whisky or household
      bleach, one box of matches, one kitchen knife, etc.
      Yet the peddlers of death seem happy to sell these to
      innocent adults. If I can get any tablets, I may have
      to take two and lie down in a darkened room.

      Mick.Hume@...
      letters@...


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