In our other post today we mentioned in passing the hysterical reporting of British newspapers. Here's a case in point …
More insane British bureaucracy
Twin girls born either side of midnight to be split up in school - because they fall in different academic years
As twin girls, the parents of one-week-old Lexus and Amber Conway expected them to share everything as they grew up. But the possibility they will be separated for much of their formative years is already hanging over the pair - and all because they were born either side of midnight. The girls were born just 45 minutes apart on the the night of August 31, but one arrived before it officially became September 1 and one after. A matter of minutes means they are now facing being separated at school because their official birthdays fall either side of the division for academic years.
Under the current rules, Lexus would be able to go to school aged four but because she was born slightly later, Amber would have to wait until she was five. Their parents, Sarah Conway and Ian Caldwell, however, are determined they will not be split up and plan to fight for the next four years to prevent it. Miss Conway said: 'Doing everything together is what being a twin is all about. How could I keep one at home and send one to school? 'I've been told this is a really unique case and I'm going to fight to make sure they go to school together even if it takes me the next four years.'
The 37-year-old administrator gave birth to Lexus naturally at 11.40pm on August 31 at the Barratt Maternity Unit in Northampton. Amber was delivered by Caesarean section just 45 minutes later but by that time, it had become September 1. 'The midwife said it was the first time she had ever heard of this happening to twins,' Miss Conway, from Northampton, said. 'It's such a shame for the girls, especially as Amber only missed the cut-off point by a matter of minutes. 'We tried to persuade the registry office to give them both August 31 as their birthdays but they said there was no leeway.'
Mr Caldwell, who is also a twin, said they would teach the girls at home or move to Spain if they cannot start school together. 'My family live in Spain and they have a different academic year so we'd rather move out there than split up the twins,' his girlfriend added.
Keith Reed, chief executive of the charity The Twins and Multiple Births Association, said this was the first case of its kind he had ever heard of. 'It's highly unusual for twins to be born in separate school years and I hope the local authority gives due regard to the individual needs of the children and family involved,' he said.
Northamptonshire County Council, the family's local authority, have also never encountered such a scenario before. A spokesman said: "We will need to look into this nearer the time Lexus and Amber are due to start school as part of their overall application for a school place. 'Any decision made will be in the best interests of both children as well as taking into consideration the wishes of the parents."
This just about takes the biscuit. British bureaucracy is frequently insane, I grant you. But just how does this reporter think that some bureaucrat was responsible for the twins being born either side of midnight? Does it not occur to him (or her, or both) that the aggrieved mother might have had something to do with it? Or maybe she thinks doctors should deliver babies when it's convenient to her, rather than when it's medically safest and most natural?
Or perhaps this is just one more example of the modern "it's not my fault, someone else must be to blame" syndrome? Whatever misfortune befalls you, it's always someone else's responsibility. Accidents don't happen, they're caused by somebody and we're going to sue their arse. Shit doesn't happen, because "they" (the government, the local authority, society at large) should stop it, and if they don't we'll bleat and whine until they do.
We're all victims these days. Even, apparently, two-week-old twins.
Is there any point, I wonder, in suggesting that the problem hasn't arisen yet, and may never do so, so why create this fuss? Is it so ridiculous to think that by the time the twins are old enough to go to school, the local authority may just make a sensible decision and let them stay together? Local authorities aren't known for their flexibility and common-sense, I grant you, but surely they have to be given the benefit of the doubt. You have to assume that they'll behave rationally, until they demonstrate otherwise.
No prizes for guessing which newspaper ran this ridiculous story - it was the Daily Mail, of course.
We should be grateful for our newspapers, because without them the powers-that-be would be free to do as they like, safe from public scrutiny. From unjust speed cameras to vicious litter-wardens, from crooked businesses to sleazy MPs, from grasping public utilities to draconian local government, they'd bully us and spy on us and fleece us with impunity if it weren't for the newspapers, and we'd never know the difference.
So newspapers are, on the whole, a necessary evil. But just once, just this once, couldn't the Daily Mail have done us the courtesy of assuming that we all have more than two brain-cells to rub together?
The GOS says: Just a little afterthought. Haven't the parents missed a trick here? They've called the babies "Lexus" and "Amber".
If you're going to saddle your child with a stupid name like "Lexus", why not go the whole hog? What's wrong with Lexus and Volvo, or Lexus and Daewoo? Or if you want something really upmarket, how about "Range Rover"?
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