Thursday, December 08, 2005

Whispering Fears 

We have been hit by a classic Urban Panic Whisper in MK. Versions of this go back a century or more through several wars and other troubles, featuring Germans, various Irish and people with sinister east European accents. Our outbreak centers on an alleged incident where a shop assistant helps an arabic (or in some versions undefinably 'islamic') looking man by running after him to give him the wallet he left behind. By way of thanks he tells her 'for your safety stay away from Central Milton Keynes on the 11th'. Of course nobody can now locate any such real live assistant as the source but panicky e-mails are flying and Thames Valley Police have had to issue a statement that they have 'no intelligence whatever' to suggest a terrorist attack on that date.

In some previous outbreaks my sinister east European accent would probably have made this an uncomfortable week to shop. No prizes for guessing who may be made to feel uncomfortable by fearful glances this week.

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