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The Power Of A Disguise

Remember "the boogie man"? The horrifying something that was going to get you if you didn't behave when you were a kid?

Well, now his name is Osama Bin Laden and he's managed to trip up the career of the Chief Superintendent of Police in Devon and Cornwall, a man called Colin Terry.

You see, the Superintendent was taking part in his local carnival procession down in England's beautiful South-West, when he made the mistake of wearing an Osama Bin Laden face mask. Apparently he was lampooning Bin Laden, while surrounded by people dressed as dancing chickens, a fairy queen and an Austin Powers lookalike. It was that serious.

No one in the Cornish village actually complained, in fact no one seems to have noticed. But it turns out that someone from his own Police force was filming the parade and rushed back to headquarters. After he had grasped that this wasn't really Osama Bin Laden visiting the tiny Cornish village of Grampound, this miserable person filed a complaint. And now all hell has been let loose.

Superintendent Terry has been recalled from Afghanistan where he was actually helping set up a Police College. He won't be going back. And he'll certainly be at the centre of an internal enquiry.

Maybe he should have thought twice, but he did it in the long tradition of British carnivals. This stretches back to before written record, and they are the least politically correct events in this country. One carnival in Kent still burns an effigy of the Pope every year, though most people can't quite work out why.

We've always been a nation that specialises in insulting and scorning our enemies, before we defeat them. Napoleon came in for a fair bit of stick when the French started getting too big for their boots. The Kaiser took a walloping before the First World War, and Adolf Hitler was notoriously reminded in popular song that he lacked an important piece of his anatomy. [Look it up on Google if you don't know how it goes!]

Superintendent Terry has become a victim of the po-faced, interfering, politically correct ninnies who have far too much power here. All he did was to dress up and make a bit of a fool of himself, and who hasn't done that at some stage in his life? I wish him well, and I'd love to know who he'll dress up as next year. Whoever it is, he'll get the biggest cheer of the day.
By Simon Bates