As populist scare stories go, The Sun has got to be applauded this week for combining two of the nation’s (largely unfounded) fears: drug users and swine flu - not just once but twice.
On Saturday the red top screamed “Junkies and alcoholics ‘manning flu hotline’”; by Monday it informed readers: “Junkies first in queue for swine flu jab” - which presumably should have pleased anyone worried after the first story that there might not be enough staff to answer the flu phones once the pandemic spreads more rapidly. One suspects, however, that wasn’t what the paper was getting at.
But let’s forget about swine flu for a few moments and focus instead on a topic not often covered in Media Watch: rapping.
This week, give a wholehearted cheer (or whatever cool thing the kids do these days) for Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb, who, it emerges, has a young rapper as a protégé.
The Guardian’s Weekend magazine tells us Mr Lamb
has remortgaged his home to finance Tinchy Stryder’s career, which is managed by his son and a friend. He’s also lent them his car to drive to gigs and - perhaps most staggeringly - infected his mother with his musical enthusiasm.
The magazine says: “Norman Lamb, as Liberal Democrat shadow health secretaries go, seems enormously well informed about British rap. ‘My mother,’ he announces, ‘is the only 90-year-old in Britain with a poster of Lethal Bizzle in her kitchen.’”
It’s the qualifying “as Liberal Democrat shadow health secretaries go” that is confounding. Is Norman Lamb not alone? Is Andrew Lansley a closet grime fan? Are most MPs putting their houses in hock to support young urban musicians?
Forget swine flu, these questions must be answered.