EDitorial ± 12-Dec-2006

Coming Like A Ghost Town

Welcome to Ipswich, says the sign on the Woodbridge Road: late night shopping Thursday until 9pm. I was going to string a few words together about the usual this-time-of-year traditions -- making that annual NME purchase, buying the tree from Notcutts, smiling along to the sounds of Tijuana Christmas -- but that all seems a little inappropriate.

Word of the discovery of two further bodies raced through the office late afternoon even before BBC News Online had the details. Then everyone got on with the down-to-earth business of trying to figure out which roads would be closed.

Ten o'clock news, "with Huw Edwards in Ipswich," broadcasting live from outside the police station, no more than ten minutes from here. Cut to Rajesh Mirchandani at Levington, a couple of miles from the office. That's half the prime-time news taken up by the town, for all the wrong reasons. Odd to hear names like Copdock and Nacton on the telly or see them on the web, ripped out of their normal context. It's all too close to home, like living through a even less credible than usual episode of Midsomer.

School play's been cancelled since it would obviously take place after dark, and the council is running special buses to the car parks. It used to be that the police helicopter was simply an annoyance and the odd siren of no particular interest; now those sounds seem to mean that much more, giving you pause for thought. Grim times.