August 19, 2013

Will Self on what should never happen to an Englishman

Here's a bizarre piece by Will Self in yesterday's Daily Mail.  It's about being stopped by the police in the UK countryside because he had been reported as a suspected paedophile whilst on a walk with his 11 year old son.

The bizarre thing is the way he writes the piece and the things he chooses to emphasise.  Having said that, any emphases are added by me.  In the Daily Mail everything is said so emphatically they never need to add emphases.

See this:
No 11-year-old child should have to see his parent treated like a criminal for no reason whatsoever. And no Englishman enjoying a ramble with his son should face examination by police at the roadside on suspicion of being a sexual predator.
No Englishman?  What about non-Englishmen?  Or what about any women? Of course Will Self wouldn't think any of those would be ok but why then did he mention the Englishman thing at all?  I'm guessing it was for his Daily Mail readership.

Any more?
From the quintessence of a blamelessly British pursuit to an invitation to step inside a squad car, complete with WPC specially selected in case my boy had to be taken into protective custody, all following a ‘tip-off’ from a high-vis jacketed private security guard; can there be a more disturbing parable of the Britain we have become?
Has whatever it is that happened to him really been made worse by the fact that what he was actually doing was quintessentially British?

And when was the last time you heard a police officer who happened to be a woman referred to as a WPC (ie Woman Police Constable)?  I just did a google search for WPC.  I eventually found it on Wikipedia tucked away on an alphabetically ordered list.  Following the link I found that:
The prefix "Woman" in front of female officers' ranks has been obsolete since 1999.
As it happens what happened to Will Self wasn't very nice.  He was effectively accused of being a paedophile in front of his son and there was a woman police officer there to take the child into custody.

I'm not entirely comfortable with the fact that Self has used the Daily Mail for what was a personal beef with the officious high-vis clad official who got the police onto him but even if he did have a point -
You may, quite reasonably, think I’m getting too hot and bothered about this – but I don’t think so. In two full weeks of walking through the beautiful English countryside, experiencing the joy of its nature and the goodwill of its inhabitants, this episode remains an ugly blot.
The time was that you could live your whole life in Britain having no more contact with the government than buying a stamp at the local post office.

did he really have to lapse into full blown Daily Mail mode to vent it:?  Or was it edited in Daily Mail mode?  I'd like to think it's the latter because I like a good Will Self piece.

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