"Green army to halt weed invasion," runs the BBC headline, designed to fire the imagination if nothing else. The Evening Standard is, as ever, far more restrained and less alarmist: "BLUEBELLS FACE DEATH FROM GIANT KILLER WEED," it howls. Poor show for not being able to work in house prices or Tamara Beckwith, chaps.
The actual story is this: Kew Gardens has been infiltrated by "yellowflowered perfoliate Alexanders", which may sound rather nice, but which actually grow up to 1.5 metres tall and starve bluebells of light.
"In recent years the populat ion has spread aggressively," Simon Cole, manager of natural areas at Kew, told the Standard.
The paper adds:
The invading weed was first seen at Kew in the early Nineties. It is found normally in North Africa, southern Europe and south-west Asia.
Wait for it, they'll find a way of blaming Blair's immigration policies in a minute.
[Cole] is also worried the weeds could quickly spread throughout London: "If nothing is done, it's inevitable this will escape Kew Gardens."
It's like Sangatte all over again.
Fortunately, the BBC adds, Something Is Being Done. An "army of volunteers" will work to tame the merciless Alexanders. However, once again woolly liberalism has been allowed to get in the way: "... they did not plan to eradicate the plant but to bring them under control to ensure a good carpet of bluebells."
Tch! The quota system!
Fortunately, the Standard does manage to get in one more healthy dash of ruddy-cheeked botano-xeno-phobia:
British bluebells are already threatened by their Spanish cousins, which are crossbreeding with the English variety, interfering with its genetic integrity.
I don't know, swarthy latin flowers swanning over here, stealing our innocent British flowers and "interfering with their genetic integrity". They'll be robbing old ladies, illegally camping outside villages in Surrey and causing breast cancer next. It's botanical correctness gone mad.