Wednesday, December 15, 2010
By Mark Steel
"The police like to set their public relations department a special Christmas challenge, don't they? Because that's the only explanation for them being filmed on the anti-fees demonstration, chucking a disabled man out of his wheelchair and shoving him along the road, unless it was to enjoy telling their PR team, "Stick a positive spin on that for us, could you?"
Ben Brown of the BBC tried his best, when he interviewed Jody McIntyre, the man who was dislodged, and said aggressively: "There's a suggestion that you were rolling in the direction of the police." Now, let's suppose this was the case (which I can't help but doubt), how much force is needed, I wonder, to stop a man with cerebral palsy who keeps rolling, even when asked to stop?
Presumably the police turned to each other in shock, spluttering: "Oh my God, he's rolling straight for us. These riot shields and helmets with visors offer woefully inadequate protection against such a persistent rolling machine. If we're lucky our batons can buy us some time, but his momentum is terrifying, it's like a cerebral palsy tsunami."
Maybe this is how to win in Afghanistan. We recruit a multiple sclerosis battalion to roll mercilessly through Helmand province and the Taliban will run away shrieking in fear....."