Brussels is set to legislate to standardise the way news reports quantify "tension in the middle east". Top brass at the EU's elite Central Commission For Standards are said to be concerned that in certain member countries, in particular the UK, press and media outlets report the seriousness of any particular event in the middle east depending on how much other news they have at the time. "For example," our Brussels insider, Jean-Pierre Greggs Steakbake told us, "if a big story like Jimmy Savile is in full swing, then even news that a nuclear missile had destroyed Tel Aviv would have to contend with 8 pages of quotes from 'insiders' at Leeds General saying how they always thought Savile was a grotty old perv when he was a volunteer porter (but, in balance, they admitted they thought ALL hospital porters were grotty old pervs in the 70s. Which, of course, they were.) And when there's not much news about, say when Prince Philip's in hospital or David Blaine's being dangled over something, then the least consequential, most trivial of occurences in the middle east are suddenly being reported as of massive, historical import. Like when that US private took a load of prescription painkillers and vodka in Iraq and killed half the pupils and half the teachers. No one in Britain would ever have known about that, if it hadn't happened to have been on the same day that the only other news in Britain was that Helen Mirren was playing the Queen again. On the day that Michael Jackson's funeral was broadcast live worldwide, the Israeli army launched a bold and risky 'cross border' land invasion of the West Bank and Gaza in an attempt to reclaim them, finally and completely, as Israel, at around 9.13am. By lunchtime they had driven all and any Palestinian resistance into the sea. By the back of two, however, reinforcements in the form of guerrilas and agents from across the region arrived, and the Palestinians rallied to not only force the Israelis back across the border, but enjoy a complete rout of the Israeli infantry, and even briefly capture and occupy the whole city of Jerusalem from about ten to three until half four-ish. Order was eventually restored at teatime, when the Israeli air force turned up with fighter jets and started napalming the Palestinians until they went back to their hovels in their pretend country. No one knows any of this. They were watching Michael Jackson's funeral."
The EU legislation will insist that 'tension in the middle east' be strictly graded from '1: Muslim chap accidentally offers Jewish chap sausage roll at bowling club function in well-heeled Beirut suburb. Mild offence and slight embarrassment caused.' to '10: Nuclear weapon fired at Jerusalem/Mecca/Bagdad/Tehran, Dome Of The Rock Mosque in Jerusalem stormed by US Marines and converted into titty bar live sports venue and bowl-o-rama, entire population of Syria killed by recent 'tensions' and territory of Syria now occupied by Israel, etc.'