The general stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me. ‘Dumb Britain’ in Private Eye, people who wait until reaching the barrier at the tube before looking for their Oyster cards, people who use ‘on route’.
But this week, in the height of silly season in the news calendar, it appears that stupid people are really trying to outdo each other to exhibit the sheer range and depth of their utter, utter stupidity.
Firstly, the furore over the fact that Big Ben would have to be silenced for four years due to
the completely reasonable idea of not deafening workers/startling them while they operate heavy and lethal machinary health and safety gone mad, which culminated in this, today, which actually happened. Yes, that’s a grown man crying because a bell won’t be hit for a little while.
But no, unbelievably, that’s not the stupidest thing I’ve heard today.
That honour would go to the many people who believed a spoof news story run by satirical site The Rochdale Herald, which claimed that Big Ben would be renamed Massive Mohammed from 2018, in order to ‘reflect the city’s growing diversity’.
According to ‘project manager’ Libby Tardy, “we’ve had a Muslim mayor since 2016 and according to the Daily Mail over 87% of Londoners are now Muslim, so we are confident that the public will really embrace the new nickname.”
The story added that large speakers would be added to the tower to play the Muslim call to prayer every hour.
If you were in any doubt that the story was fake, it ended with the lines: “When asked to comment on the project, a spokesman for London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, ‘What a load of utter bollocks. You’ve made this whole thing up. It’s like the ‘halal countdown’ thing all over again’.
“Now if you’ll excuse me, Mr. Khan has a meeting with the Islamic Council in five minutes about their plans to turn St. Paul’s into a mosque. That dome is going to look glorious in gold!”
Now, you’d think that alarm bells – pun intended, thanks very much – would ring if you read those lines and that even the dumbest of dumb people would twig that it might not be 100% true but then – of course, we’re talking about those glorious consumers of the internet who don’t actually read stuff that they share, preferring to just get outraged by Broken Britain.
Fortunately for the angry commenters, the story is indeed ‘ballocks’ although I’m genuinely curious to see what a one-man riot would look like. Could it technically be classed as a riot if it’s just one person? Isn’t that more just someone going a bit mad on their own?
Anyway, we’d watch it.
Brilliantly, someone has set up an online petition (and they always prove effective don’t they) to actually rename Big Ben ‘Massive Mohammed’ which we’re very much in favour of, but only if they replace the faces of the clock with Mo Farah’s big smiling profile. Now that really would liven up a dreary London winter day wouldn’t it?
(Images: Rochdale Herlad/Marcin Nowak)