The news that a honeymooning couple from Falkirk have returned home from Cancun with Swine Flu, has predictably set the UK’s tabloid press into a frenzy of doomsday scenario related speculation. Personally, I feel this is all going to fizzle out, in much the same way as it did a couple of years ago when they found a seagull in Fife that had died of bird flu, quarantined the area (except for the rolling news trucks of the BBC, Sky and CNN), told us we were doomed and then neglected to tell us of exactly how few people had promptly dropped dead of the dreaded H5N1 virus. (None).
Stupidly thinking that the “quality” press might be a safer haven, I once again purchased the Independent. (I find the Scotsman too parochial, the Telegraph too Tory, the Guardian unreadable and my dislike for Murdoch precludes me from getting the Times). I was, of course, wrong. Once again, hysteria appears to have taken over with the paper somehow contriving to make Simon Calder the voice of reason. He’s advising us to carry on as normal….but then he would, he’s a travel journalist. If the airlines start to struggle because we’ve all locked ourselves up at home, he’s out of a job!
Marvelously though, there’s another Q&A panel on page 5, with more of the burning questions and “reassuring” answers the discerning tabloid shaped broadsheet reader wants. I was going to do a similar extract exercise to yesterdays, but then I read this and fear I may incur the wrath of Mr Morozov. Oh fuck it, no one reads this anyway so what are the odds?
Q. Do masks provide protection against swine flu?
A. Yes, but probably not to the person wearing them. Well thanks so much for that, very reassuring. Plus it gives all those bastards wearing one another reason to be all sanctimonious. Besides, that’s not a great shade of blue, how are you supposed to accessorise a face mask?
Q. Now swine flu has arrived in Britain how likely is it to spread?
A. Highly likely – if it hasn’t already. Christ!! Really piling on the happy thoughts today. It’s time to head for the hills, live in caves as hermits. It seems “Survivors” on BBC last Autumn wasn’t a drama, it was a public information film. We’re doooooooooomed.
Q. Should Britian screen travellers at it’s borders?
Flu is one of the most infectious illnesses known – one cough by an infected person can transmit the virus to a whole room. Thank Christ this isn’t the Daily Mail. This is a cue for a whole diatribe of invective railing against immigrants, coming over here, infecting us with swine flu, taking our low paid menial jobs no one wants anyway, dating our women and generally not being English.
Fred Goodwin must be loving this. It’s actually taken the heat off him for a while. Maybe he had something to do with it!?!?
I’m off to sit in a bath of Dettol, popping Tamiflu in my cave in the hills.