The other day we wrote about the imbecilic paranoid "siege mentality" of nationalism as the sole possible explanation for the urban myth that police are banning England tops from pubs during the World Cup.
Within days the ban on tops doubled up as a ban on flags and, in no time at all, tabloid non-stories multiplied. Apparently, the "Cornish banned England flags", as did PC managers at rubbish collection companies and taxi firms.
Needless to say, the urban myth is snowballing. Outraged Facebook groups have been mushrooming up and the stories, each increasingly embellished, have multiplied on forums and various websites where people are venting anger and frothing at, to quote the Daily Mail, the "clampdown on public patriotism".
Nevermind it's a non-existent clampdown, like flies following a cantering horse's arsehole, those "outraged" Facebook groups members and tabloid commenters insist it's "time2 make a stand" and "take off ur turban too cuz im offended by it2".
But then, courtesy of both Tabloid Watch and Enemies of Reason, I discovered that there's even more to it.
There is now a new and even more pathetic breed of associated stories coming to the fore.
I'm not suggesting that someone, somewhere, may have spotted a milking cow or a golden goose (or an horse's arsehole, to continue with our earlier analogy).
I'm just asking a question. If a clever person contacted the Daily Mail, or the Daily Star, or a local paper, with a story like this ("Driver orders toddler off bus for wearing 'offensive' England football shirt") or this ("Policeman told me not to wear England shirt, claims woman"), how much dosh would they offer?
And if this same person then also agreed to pose with their kid for couple of pictures holding a slightly concerned face while proudly wearing the patriotic outfit, would the papers stick an extra pony on top of the initial offer?
Because it's quite baffling that more similar stories are springing up which fit the outraged they-won't-let-us-fly-our-flags tabloid posturing like a turd in a toilet bowl.
But the real drama is that these stories are all turning out to be untrue. The "evil foreign bus driver" one was followed by a full investigation by the bus company. They concluded that "no such incident took place". The bus was packed, apparently, but nobody saw any evil Eastern European driver kicking a kid off the bus for wearing an England top. Needless to say, the Mail didn't publish any of that.
Similarly. Dorset police could not trace the officer mentioned in the "Policeman-told-me-not-to-wear-England-shirt" fable. And it couldn't have been otherwise, as the force stated categorically that such behaviour is not part of their policy.
So here it is. This morning I was going about my own business when a police officer, accompanied by a man from the Council's Diversity Office and also by an Eastern European bus driver (who also turned out to be Muslim), stopped me and ordered me to take off my Alan Shearer shirt.
As I expressed my objections, they all replied that I had no other option other than to follow their orders. And when I noted that walking around with my torso on display was not the best idea, they handed me a made-in-France European Union t-shirt.
If any tabloid is interested in finding out more about it, please contact me at the usual e-mail address. I offer competitive rates.