"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Taking Issue With The Headlines

Flicking through this morning's Telegraph two headlines stopped me in my tracks, but for very different reasons.

The first, Police helmet cams go up in smoke, gave me a wonderful mental image of front-line officers behind a row of riot shields completely oblivious to the flames rising from their helmets. It has two advantages: it would make the police easier to spot in the dark and it would certainly distract protesters - it would probably be more effective in quelling riots than kettling as protesters placed bets on which policeman would be the first to feel the heat.

The second headline was Kicking and slapping a child 'is reasonable physical chastisement', High Court rules. This just sounded so improbable that it could only mean that the Judge would shortly retire 'on health grounds'.

Neither headline is true. Reading to the end of the first article I found that it's the chargers for the camera batteries which are causing problems - and they are kept at the Station so we'll be denied the spectacle of policemen lit up like candles on a birthday cake. The High Court Judge, Lady Justice Hallett, seems to define a 'kick' as a parent "nudging a child's nappied bottom with their foot in gentle play." On second thoughts, perhaps she should still be retired on health grounds, or possibly to spend more time with her grand-children and their nappied bottoms.

In any event, both headlines are grossly misleading and give the lie to "It was in the Telegraph so it must be true."

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