Barbaric acronyms

Last week David Cameron accused an imam of supporting IS. When it was later discovered that the imam had in fact been touring the country to talk about the evils of ISIS, Number 10 clarified that David Cameron was not talking about “The ISIS” but, you know, Islamic states in general, you know, like Saudi Arabia. Um, no not Saudi Arabia which is a key ally of the United Kingdom and has our full and unwavering support, and which we will never ever condemn, even when they’re massacring thousands of civilians in Yemen with weapons we sold them. No, not that kind of Islamic state, but you know those other ones we don’t support that are barbaric in a different way. Like, um, you know, Iran, er, Egypt, well it doesn’t matter, but it’s clear what the Prime Minister meant, he meant IS as in Islamic states or the third person singular present of be, which is even worse.

The bad news for Mr Cameron is that an awful lot of his constituents seem to have worrying connections to ISIS. Indeed many seem to work for its subsidiaries. I never failed to be amazed when in Oxford by the shear number of ISIS businesses brazenly operating in Mr Cameron’s back yard. As a public service, therefore, and in light of the government’s warnings about people who believe in acronyms, I have helpfully compiled a list of possible occupations likely to fall foul of the new policy of slandering people on extremely tenuous grounds for political gain:

— The Oxford University reserve Boat Race rowing crew.

— Contributors to the Oxford University student magazine.

— Mr Jones, responsible for cleaning chewing gum off Isis Bridge.

— Lunar geologists focusing on the Isis crater.

— Propulsion engineers studying the asteroid 42 Isis.

— Employees of Isis, Ohio, USA.

— Clerks employed by the electoral district of Isis, Queensland, Australia.

— Tour guides at Isis Temple, Arizona, USA.

— The National Waterways officer responsible for The Isis branch of the River Thames in Oxford.

— DJ Isis van der Wel.

— María Isis.

— Members of the American post-metal band, ISIS.

— Bob Dylan tribute acts.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs tribute act (big in Dudley).

— Editors of the history of science, medicine and technology journal, Isis.

— Operatives working for the Israeli Secret Intelligence Service.

— Technologists working on the Image and Scanner Interface Specification.

— Network technicians.

— Prison officers working at a young offenders institution located in London.

— Researchers at the Institute for Science and International Security.

— Researchers at the Institute of Science in Society.

— Philosophers at the Institute for the Secularisation of Islamic Society.

— Academics at the International Society for Iranian Studies.

— ISIS satellite engineers.

You’re welcome.

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