A policemen got removed from his job because he dressed in a carnival costume. This seems pretty incomprehensible on the face of it. His offence was that he wore an “Osama bin Laden” costume to a village (population: very few) carnival in Cornwall.
Before I go any further with this, it’s clear that the job that he was removed from would count as most people’s definition of “no loss”. In fact most people would sell their homes and families NOT to take the job. He was on secondment to the Foreign Office in Afghanistan. So I shouldn’t think he’s that distressed by this.
The bizarre things about this story are:
- A costume worn in a village carnival might just about make the local press – if there was a local newspaper, and there isn’t for anything on a lesser scale than half a county, as far as I can googlit. How the fuck did this story end up on the BBC news site and in every UK newspaper?
- After dedicated googling, it seems that the “disrespect” that Colin Terry has been accused of showing was not disrepect towards Osama bin Laden – which was a pretty baffling concept – but to the victims of 9/11, according tothe Times.
- Taking that to mean the surviving victims and the families of the dead, do they routinely follow Cornish village news? How do they find it? I can’t even find a local newspaper for that area, online.
- Has their grief been expressed in such bizarre activities as searching the web for any fancy-dress items that might mock Al Qaeda? In that case, I think I can find a few costume shops within a couple of miles of my house that they may need to know about.
- What about the supposed impact on the man’s job in Afghanistan? Given that Danish language cartoons seem to be the must-have media in the most undeveloped Islamic countries, could it be that the ungooglable Cornish village newspapers are being read avidly in Al Qaeda mountain strongholds? Might Osama bin Laden have taken offence at an ungraceful bit of carnival capering by someone dressed as a comic-book version of him and told the mujahideen to step up their attacks on British troops? (Don’t answer that. It was a rhetorical question.)
In other words, how did this become a news item?
For the policeman, the loss of the secondment to Afghanistan must surely be a blessing in carnival disguise. (If he’d had any sense, he would have phoned a complaint in himself. But then, who could have predicted this as a major national news item?) But why is he facing investigation by the Police Complaints Commission? Don’t they have enough real police misbehaviour to deal with?