Residents of Liverpool are threatening to boycott Insurance Times after the paper rashly administered the oxygen of publicity to grossly defamatory allegations contained within a so-called “study” trumped up by some outfit called the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Not long ago, back in 2008 to be less imprecise, Liverpool rejoiced in the much sought after accolade of European Capital of Culture. Now the DWP’s metropolitan slander monkeys are attempting to besmirch that proud legacy with a new designation: Liverpool 2012: European Capital of Whiplash.

The DWP has incensed denizens of the Northwest Littoral with its snide insinuation that there issomething fishy about 1 in 50 Liverpudlians claiming for whiplash injury (twice the national average and 20 times the rate seen in some parts of Scotland).

Suggestions that the high local incidence of neck afflictions following motor accidents is something other than persistent bad luck, endured as usual with brave and silent stoicism by the local population, have made the DWP few friends in the birthplace of the Beatles (a popular musical quartet of the mid-twentieth century, Ed) and the home of Liverpool FC (not sure about this one, Ed).

“DWP?” asked one local spokesman derisively, “never eared of them. They’re a disgrace to themselves and they’re not welcome here.” The tragically fragile necks of Maresyside residents, he insisted, “were not something to be mocked and scorned, but a cruel affliction nobly borne by a proud race of much maligned grafters and toilers.

Malcolm Starling of the ABI recklessly added oil to the flames this week by suggesting that the very high incidence of whiplash claims in the Liverpool area might have something to do with the very high incidence of “lawyers specialising in personal injuries cases” in the North West. Which is clearly as absurd as suggesting that a very high incidence of scantily clad women caused the recent fine weather.

But no such rational considerations appeared to hold Mr Starling back from alleging outrageously that “whiplash claims have gone up by a third in the past three years while the number of accidents has gone down” and implying that some people may “see whiplash injury claims as easy money waiting to be collected.”

Such reckless commentary from bodies like the DWP and the ABI – who surely ought to know better – risks playing into the hands of cynical haters who will seize on the fact that whiplash rhymes with moustache to heap further undeserved scorn on Liverpudlians and their unfortunate cervical afflictions.


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