Once again the British newspapers and Sky News show that Stalin was ahead of his time and foresaw the strange priorities of today’s news reporting.
The wife of a US diplomat has claimed diplomatic immunity after allegedly killing a British teenager in a road accident. Just in case her immunity was not recognised by the Brits, she made sure to get out of the country and back to the States before any legal proceedings could begin. This sad story is taking up much space in the printed papers and is the headline news over and over again on Sky News. The 19-year-old was killed when his motorbike collided with the American woman’s Volvo outside an RAF military base in Northamptonshire. Like many of us, she was confused by Britain’s insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road.
In the meantime, if you look hard enough, you will find that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has sent Turkish warplanes and armoured units thundering into Syria. According to the UN, some 200,000 people have fled the area of the Turkish attack, Turkish fighters taking part in a offensive on Kurdish-held border towns in northeastern Syria have “executed” at least nine civilians. But what are 200,000 Kurdish refugees, and a few dead civilians, compared to a 19-year-old killed in a road accident.
Another strange way of looking at things are the stories out of Japan. At least 43 people were killed and 16 were missing after a powerful typhoon blasted across Japan. The exceptionally brutal typhoon, the most savage typhoon to hit the Japanese mainland in over 60 years, sent winds gusting up to 195 mph when it made landfall on the Izu peninsula on the outskirts of Tokyo. But what do we hear from the UK’s Telegraph – worries that a football match might be cancelled. (Note to new readers of my blogs – for me, football is anything that involves people playing with a ball, whether large, small, brown, white or squashed out of shape.)
Pages are devoted to lyrical praise for the Japanese team that “changed world rugby forever”. But hardly a word about the 27,000 military personnel helping with the relief work the day after the natural disaster that changed quite a few lives forever.
The typhoon should not have come as a surprise, after all, it is the typhoon season in Japan and there are an average of 20-25 typhoons every year. But the papers are full of arguments about who decided to hold the match and which teams will get points for a game they did not play. Not much worry about the 18 dead people who won’t see the matches wherever they are played.
And if you look hard you might find the report that more than 1,000 police are to be on hand for the upcoming visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Pakistan. Pakistan, well-known as a terrorist haven blighted by violence hopes that the royal visit will change its reputation. A more easily found headline gave us the important news – “What will the Duchess of Cambridge wear in Pakistan? We predict her tour wardrobe”. The tour, the Telegraph goes on, will present Kate with some unique fashion challenges. But not a word about the morality of the British royal family being used as a fig leaf by a terrorist country.
Reading the exciting predictions for the Duchesses wardrobe completely overshadowed the prediction made by the Telegraph just three days earlier – “A nuclear war between India and Pakistan could kill up to 125 million people and then tip the world into a decade of starvation as smoke blocks sunlight.”
And what, you ask, did Stalin say about this. Well, although there are other contenders for the honour, he is reputed to have said: “One death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic.”
Yes, in this modern world, we have plenty of statistics.