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Meanwhile, written by Simon Jones. war, gulf war II, gulf war, saddam hussan, terrorist threats, fear of TV, head in the sand, fear of the news
 

Some people have accused me of being socially irresponsible because at times I prefer not to watch the news on TV or catch it on the radio.

I'm not big on watching the news on TV. At times I steer clear of news websites. And I don't get a newspaper, not even the one where some random wannabe sex symbol bares her breasts for all to see on page three.

In short, there are simply times where I try to avoid knowing what's going on in the world. It's not that I don't want to know what's happening, it's just that the more I know, the less I want to know.

Right now if I turn on the TV and the news is dominated by talk of war. Thousands of United States and British troupes are already in strategic positions around the Gulf ready, or so it would seem, to simply sweep into action against Saddam Hussein.

It looks like everyone is getting ready for 'Desert Storm II' sequel to the popular TV show that was war with the nasty bits taken out so as not to offend TV viewers and upset advertisers.

Over the weekend one and a half million people poured onto the street on London to tell our government here in the UK that they didn't want to go to war with Iraq. A whole host of celebrities, sport stars and even some world leaders share that sentiment too, but so far none of this has altered the seemingly unstoppable course of affairs.

We're going to war with Iraq and that's it. Maybe I'm being paranoid here but isn't it obvious that this was something decided by Bush and Blair a long time ago, and that they've only waited this long to try and rally other countries to stand behind them.

Add to all this the fact that Britain is on high alert following intelligence reports that a large scale terrorist attack on the UK has been planned. We are, of course, not being told what this may be, but nonetheless we've all been advised to be "vigilant" but not paranoid.

We're told that al-Qaeda has terrorist cells here in the UK and indeed all over the world. They say that even as I write this, for reasons I simply can't understand, terrorists are apparently plotting to carry out more attacks on the same scale as those carried out in the United States on September 11th 2001.

These top stories almost push another situation into obscurity too. North Korea. I don't know much about this, and again, I don't want to. But it looks like they've been doing their own mini war dance with America, a dance that Japan recently got involved in saying they would attack North Korea if their was evidence that it was planning a missile attack.

And then, instead of the 'and finally' stories where we usually get a nice story about 'Bessy the pig' recovering from a traumatic knee operation after some bizarre accident, or maybe a few moments of smug banter between the newscasters, we get the usual run of the mill news about the economic downturn, house prices going into orbit and some horrible killer flood in some place across the world that most of us couldn't even point at on a map.

Following this there will be a weather report, which given the fact it's February here in the UK, will simply be a selection of different weatherman terms all concluding that it'll be damn cold everywhere and will probably rain a whole lot too.

The weather doesn't spell the end of the news though. No, after the world news and the weather we have the local news and local weather. This will consists of a collection of stories about stabbings, muggings, robberies and some company shedding x thousand jobs.

This bulletin will however still have time for one of those "and finally" type stories in which we'll learn something like how 'thumper the cat' has survived brain surgery after some bizarre accident involving a discarded refrigerator.

Then some chirpy little local TV weather girl with dreams of making it all the way to national TV will find yet more ways of telling us what we already know, that the North West of England will be really bloody cold in the month of February.

And after all this, what will we do? We'll sit there and watch a game show, or an episode of Friends or ER perhaps. We'll escape into the make believe world of television for a while, until the next new bulletin, at which point we'll probably say "I've seen this before." then switch it off and go to bed.

And people have accused me of being socially irresponsible!



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