Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently, you’ll be aware of the media hysteria over the windows at Darlaston swimming pool, which our masters in the press would have us believe were blacked out in an attempt to placate muslim swimmers. Like most things in the printed press, there seems to have been an agenda at work here. The story started a week ago in the Express & Star, which went to town with a shrill story which was subsequently lifted (nice to see role reversal for a change…) by the middlebrow tabloids. The good old E&S deserves a particular raspberry in all this, as it never misses a chance to half-report a story if it can possibly foster community division. Never let the facts get in the way, chaps, even if it does make you look like scumbags.
All of this outrage has been quite comprehensively countered by the excellent ‘Tabloidwatch’ Blog, and Walsall Council’s official statement can be read here.
The hullabaloo has energised a number of commentators, not least The Plastic Hippo, late of this parish, who was clearly placed in some quandary by the situation, desperately scrabbling for some way to blame Walsall Council whilst not joining in with the pitchfork and flaming torch mob that descended. Thanks, Hippo, that raised a rare laugh in the darkness.
On Friday, Radio Four’s topical comedy show ‘The Now Show’ featured a classic rant on the matter by John Finnemore, which I think hits the nail squarely on the head. To listen to it, click on the player below.
For what it’s worth, I’d point out that while lots of people have been distracted by this storm in a teacup, Walsall Council have announced another £7.7 million pounds of cuts, and are to press ahead with the closures of both Willenhall Leisure Centre and Bryntisilio, whilst the savings themselves could have been comfortably covered by the overspend on the dismal, despised new Ring Road and the losses to the EU caused by the utter failure of the council to keep proper records. Meanwhile, the Building Schools for the Future project lies in tatters and the health service is on track for another capitalist carve-up. Have any of the outraged swimmers noticed those? Just keep being angry about windows, folks, we’re busy with something else right now…
As I said before, beware of those who try to divide us – they’re usually working to their own agenda.