The same old stories

It has been another busy week for media disinformation on a range of their favourite topics. The Daily Mail has made more extremely misleading claims about migration, this time attacking skilled workers by implying that only 1 in 4 of them actually work in a ‘top job’. The figures in fact could only confirm that 29% were in low-skilled work, whilst almost half of the sample returned unclear data – data that the Daily Mail or anyone else cannot possibly draw any conclusions from.

They have also made some very bizzarre claims against health and safety, again. This time they claim that ‘A ten year old champion swimmer has been banned from wearing his goggles in the pool under health and safety rules’. As Minority Thought points out ‘the decision to prevent Alex from wearing goggles has nothing to do with health and safety rules of any kind’ and in fact as the articles confirm the reason is as follows:

The school, St Anne’s in Royton, Greater Manchester, says it is following Oldham Council swimming guidelines which state that beginners and improvers should become used to eye contact with water.

It seems to me that the traditional tabloid portrayal of ‘elf ‘n’ safety’ would demand that goggles be worn at all times in order to protect eyes from the water, this is the complete opposite of the normal ‘elf ‘n’ safety gone mad’ myth.

This story is little more than an aside in the real story that an hospital eye consultant (ophthalmologist Parwez Hossain) has advised that participants in apple-bobbing should wear goggles and that bottled or boiled water should be used and the stalks removed from the apples. The Mail refers to this advice as ‘Halloween health and safety horror’ and insert the normal comments from outraged Joe Public:

Shop assistant and Halloween enthusiast Ben Richards, 29, from Southampton said: ‘This seems like health and safety gone mad.

‘I’ve done apple bobbing for years and never had any problems. It is all part of the Halloween experience.’

And, oddly, they even give some space for the thoughts of Adrian Barlow, chief executive of English Apples & Pears (which represents apple growers) as if because he deals with the marketing of apples he is somehow in a position to comment on the dangers of bobbing for apples:

‘Health and safety can be taken too far and in this case it is ludicrous in the extreme. I have never heard of anybody suffering an injury as a result of apple bobbing.’

If he had read the comments of Parwez Hossain he would have known the following:

Mr Hossain said three people were admitted to the hospital with apple bobbing injuries last year. He added: ‘Casualty staff have seen children and adults turning up on Halloween with scratches on the cornea and eye injuries from impacts caused by apple bobbing…

‘Admissions to casualty on Bonfire Night have gone down as people have become more aware of health and safety but we have not seen a decline on Halloween.’

The Daily Mail declares that ‘now apple bobbing has fallen foul of the health and safety police’, even though this is merely advice given out by one hospital in an attempt to reduce the numbers of people they treat for avoidable injuries during halloween. The Daily Mail really needs some basic lessons on risk and they really need to stop using the word ‘police’ to accompany any advice that they do not wish to heed. There is no ‘health and safety police’, this advice is not backed-up by any kind of sanction or legal impediment. It is advice you are free to ignore or heed, something very different to the laws enforced by the police.

In other news the Daily Mail has been horrifying readers (and providing fuel for the EDL) by claiming that the ‘Islamification’ of Britain is in full swing because ‘Mohammed’ is the most popular name for newborn boys in the UK. Accept, of course, that is isn’t. It is actually in 16th place but the Daily Mail adds together all the variant spellings of the name until they force it into first place. Even then it only accounts for 2.09% of all newborn boys born each year in the UK. You can read more on this story on the following blogs:

Meanwhile this blog might be a bit sporadic for a bit whilst some other projects are being developed.

7 thoughts on “The same old stories”

  1. Ugh I cannot take the daily mail anymore. Matthew Wright claims to hate it but he seems to use as a news source all the time in The Wright Show and use it for topics of the day.

  2. And now the ‘Elf ‘n Safety police have only gone and BANNED all children from eating sweets. Well my dentist advised me that eating sweets damaged my teeth when i was a kid. Same difference, right?

    Keep up the good work with the blog, if the real facts keep getting put out there i’m sure the truth will out (eventually!…….. might be a few yrs from now tho)

  3. I wonder what life would be like if all the health and safety myths propogated by the press were actually true. Do people really believe them, even when they find themselves engaging in an activity supposedly regulated by the H&S police and no-one raises an eyebrow?

    I covered the apple bobbing story here: https://pressnotsorry.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/health-and-safety-the-apple-of-the-mails-eye/

    I couldn’t find some of the quotes attributed to Mr Hossain at all anywhere else except for the Mail. Strange.

  4. My favourite new game is to read this blog. This gives me what I like to call ammunition. I then engage my parter’s Dad in chat about the Mail which he once described as a “serious paper, not a comic” and then get him to defend the latest heap of nonsense while I fire the ammunition at him. Very entertaining and thanks for the hard bits that you do. First rate.

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