Truth and consequences: on the BBC, the GLC and MRSA | Katharine Whitehorn

It’s all Ken’s fault…

Hurricanes are often blamed on the beating of a butterfly’s wings on the other side of the world (inciting the naive to ask why someone didn’t go and do something about that butterfly). But there are plenty of other examples of unintended consequences. There’s Yeats’s “Did that play of mine send out certain men the English shot?” in his poem The Man and The Echo. Or, as someone told me, that the BBC is responsible for alien plants polluting our streams, since, having had a success with house-makeover programmes, it tried the same thing with garden makeovers, and as plants can’t simply grow overnight, tended to include quickly installed stone water features that were to be enlivened by exotic plants. So apparently fancy plants started getting sold at garden centres, and some of them escaped into our rivers and mucked them up.

Again, it has been argued by some that putting hospital cleaning out to private firms, thus removing the sense the cleaners used to have of belonging to the hospital, was at least partly the cause of the spread of MRSA. And the condom industry could, at a pinch, be held responsible for the bendy bus and the new GLC building, since Ken Livingstone, who fathered both, has himself said that if condoms had come in packets of six rather than four, his parents wouldn’t have had to risk unprotected sex “just this once” – thus begetting him. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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