i Editor's Letter: Too farcical to be credible, right?


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The Independent Online

The news is looking ever more like scripts from two cult satirical TV series. Only the scripts might have been rejected by producers for being too far-fetched.

First up, there was the bizarre giant sandcastle on Weymouth beach marking "100 days to go" until the opening of the Olympics. It took four days to build at a cost of £5,000. "Photo-op" over, it was bulldozed by the council on health and safety fears. It's a failure of "sustainability" and "legacy" with little chance at all of "inheritance". If only nonsense like this were confined to the fictional "Olympic Deliverance Commission" in the BBC's ever more biting 2012.

Sandcastles and countdown clocks that stop (last March) pale into insignificance in the face of "Carry on Qatada", an over-the-top plotline turned down by The Thick of It, Armando Iannucci's award-laden political satire.

Responding to the hysterical demands of the right-wing media, and battered by endless negative press regarding a dismal Border Agency, one-sided extradition programmes and "immigration free-for-alls", a beleaguered Home Secretary flies to Jordan to collect reassurances that an (over-the-top) unsympathetic radical cleric character, Abu Qatada, will not be tortured should we extradite him after a mere 10 years of trying.

Assurances received, the Home Office, of course, will have made 100 per cent certain it observed the deadline by which Qatada's team of lawyers could appeal to the much-maligned European Court of Human Rights before it staged a "perp-walk"-like photo-op for the media. Anything else would leave the Home Secretary open to egg on her face; and be too farcical to be credible, right? Oh ...