The pigs are all right

Swine flu’s back! You remember swine flu, right? Back in the days before there was a tube strike to worry about, when MPs could dredge their cash-filled moats in peace and we were all a bit bored of hearing about City-based spivs spunking our money up the wall (where were you with your leash then, James from The Apprentice?), we were all worrying about sprouting trotters and developing an irrational fear of wolves.

Well, now it’s here again. It’s an actual pandemic this time, and someone here’s died. This is, obviously, tragic for those concerned, but before we all start jacking up little wraps of Tamiflu around the clock, the situation could perhaps benefit from a little perspective.

Apparently, actual flu kills about 3-4,000 people in the UK every year. At the height of the last media furore at the end of April, when swine flu was last on everyone’s lips (not literally, of course… that would completely contradict the point I’m trying to make), five people here had it. Five. That’s a whopping 0.000008% of the population. Fuck!

The evidence of the resulting headline-induced panic, however, is everywhere, and nowhere more so than those stupid NHS posters instructing us how to scrub up properly after using the toilet. Thanks, NHS, I’d been wondering how to clean those things on the ends of my arms for some time, so it was a weight off my mind when you finally enlightened me, and I’m sure I’m not alone there.

What’s next? NHS-sponsored bathroom attendants lurking nightclub-style in every toilet in the country, patiently waiting for us to finish doing our business so they can force us to take a GCSE in doing the bloody obvious before we return to our desks?

The single most worrying thing about all this swine flu scaremongering, though, is that it is clearly distracting people from other things they should be truly scared of. Like this.

Yep. Piers Morgan, the former editor of the Daily Mirror and News of the World, is to appear in an outdoor ad campaign for Burger King’s (!) new Flame fragrance, lying in front of a blazing fire wearing a gold chain and a small velvet rag covering his, presumably pathetic, manhood.

So don’t worry about contracting the pork flu because, if Burger King has its way, in a few months we’ll all be walking around smelling of extra-large foot-and-mouth burgers gawping at 20-foot-high billboards with that smug prick from Britain’s Got Talent plastered all over them. That’s Piers Morgan, not Simon Cowell. Don’t give them ideas.


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