Monday, 31 January 2011

I Walk Britain’s News-Free Streets

An eerie calm has descended upon the troubled streets of Britain’s major cities, writes Neville Shite, with the once-ubiquitous journalists - who previously enjoyed the power to intrude into every facet of everyday life – suddenly nowhere to be seen.

The mood is strangely calm. Ordinary citizens ran around freely, released - at least for now – from the ever-present fear of a dreaded tap on the shoulder from an uninformed journalist demanding an immediate soundbite.

The hated newspapers have imposed a total ban on news from the UK, and both state-run and independent broadcasters have taken the nation completely off-air. The TV screens are filled instead with constantly-repeating loops showing Egyptian tanks, interspersed with bored reporters in Cairo taking turns to interview each other.

MPs have taken to camping out, in case a reporter appears
Everybody in Britain seems to be expecting something to happen, but nobody knows exactly what. In the unprecedented news-vacuum, vigilante groups have begun wandering around the quiet streets with smartphones at the ready, pointing cameras randomly in case a story breaks out in their neighbourhood.

Meanwhile, the government finds itself increasingly isolated. Desperate ministers have been milling around aimlessly in Parliament Square, hopefully asking passers-by and bemused tourists if they have a camera, and begging to explain a policy or two.

The biggest fear among the British public, however, seems to be that everything will return to the way it was before. One man summed it up when he told me, on condition of strict anonymity, that he was afraid the feared journalists would soon descend from the skies in force, hitting on everybody indiscriminately with a deadly barrage of silly questions and hauling crowds of people away to the dreaded studios for interrogation.

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