I've received this three times today so far. Twice from friends, and once -- in a slightly bowdlerised form -- from the Newsnight daily email:
``Umm Qasr is a city similar to Southampton,'' UK defence minister Geoff Hoon said in the Commons yesterday. ``He's either never been to Southampton, or he's never been to Umm Qasr'' says a British squaddie patrolling Umm Qasr. Another soldier added: ``There's no beer, no prostitutes and people are shooting at us. It's more like Portsmouth.''
``Umm Qasr is a city similar to Southampton,'' UK defence minister Geoff Hoon said this week. ``He's either never been to Southampton, or he's never been to Umm Qasr,'' says one of the British soldiers now patrolling the Iraqi settlement, which could barely be described as a town.
A search on Google News for `Southampton Portsmouth Qasr Hoon' doesn't match anything. My theory is that this is an invented quote based on the BBC story above, which was certainly written before I received the email, but only by a couple of hours. A look on flakey web-log search engine Feedster reveals some other instances, for instance
but it's a bit hard to tell the chronology, since nobody seems to give time zones for their timestamps. Idiots. In any case it's a bit poor that Jeremy Paxman propagated this one, simply introduced by
A marine based there writes....
I can't see any good way to get to the bottom of this. Any guesses from those more plugged in to the zeitgeist? I doubt it. I agree with Martin: [Web logs] make the Internet an even less safe place for information.