It’s the usual gory item that appeals to young children at this time of year (actually, it’s a month away come to think of it) ideal for wandering the streets, taking sweets from strangers and generally scaring themselves witless.
The problem in Hyde is that this is where Dr Harold Shipman killed hundreds of his patients by overdosing them on morphine and where he is now known as Dr Death. Now I can see that with a little effort you could be outraged by this, but I don’t seriously think young children will make the link and nor should his patients.
For a start, he didn’t wear a white coat, but perhaps if he had worn the blood-splattered garment with eyeballs hanging out of the pocket etc, people might have twigged him a bit sooner.
And, of course, we make caricatures out of famous villains. Less than a week after Halloween, we’re burning effigies of Guy Fawkes on bonfires, although there’s talk that we’ll ban that soon in case it offends the Catholic community.
And before you accuse me of being callous and unfeeling, three points I’d like to make:
- I once lived in Hyde and Shipman was a GP at my doctors’ surgery.
- He has treated me and the little Parrots.
- One of his victims was a relative of Mrs Parrot.
No, I think this was just an easy media target.
And who christened Shipman ‘Dr Death? Oh yes — it was the media.