I’ve always considered that any article which starts out with a disclaimer, or sentence which contains a phrase along the lines of “I’ve nothing against… but…” to be inherently suspect and likely to indicate a certain weakness of argument. Which is why I’m somewhat hesitant in writing this as it can to an extent be boiled down to: “I’ve nothing against people protesting but I do wish they’d think about it and do it well”.
Quiet a few people of late have been wondering if the government might be getting rather eager for riots to happen this summer, in what they’re already calling a “summer of rage”*, so that they can play with the little reported Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This act basically gives high ranking politicians and officials the power to do whatever they like in the event of an “emergency”, where in its broadest reading an “emergency” is whatever they decide it is. It is in many ways quite a plausible idea, whilst also being somewhat close to the “tin foil wearing” end of the spectrum. I would like to think it’s quite a way from the “likely to happen” end of the spectrum though some of the things being reported do make one wonder. With such wondering in mind a small article in one of the London free rags caught my eye:
Hospitals alert on scarlet fever
London hospitals are on alert today over a severe outbreak of scarlet fever.
It seems that Mr Pullmans article is now back on line at the Times with not a word changed. Which would make me suspect it’s vanishing was merely due to technical issues with the publishing system used by the Times, except for the way it also vanished so quickly from the Google cache ( as others also noticed). Though whilst one should always remember the rule that given a choice between cock-up and conspiracy 99% of the time it’ll be cock up, sometimes conspiracy is the right choice and only by watching for patterns can one after a while make a better guess as to which is more likely. whilst there were some rumours that Mr Pullman wasn’t actually the author, he claims otherwise and had no idea why it vanished either. Still it’s back now so if you’ve not read it go and read it, even though its style isn’t to everyones taste and keep a copy just in case it gets lost again.
further commentary from: Heresy corner