In newspapers it's called the silly season.
It begins around the time the schools break up and runs until they go back in September, give or take a week or two.
It?s when councils ease off on the meetings, Parliament falls silent and anybody remotely newsworthy leaves the country to top up the tan.
During this time news editors across the land can be seen pulling their hair out as they try desperately to avoid large white spaces in their respective publications.
So when a big story does come along, the press happily picks up the ball and starts running. And so they should.
Then, depending on the strength of the story, the coverage will gently fizzle out or be usurped by something eminently more noteworthy.
This summer, thanks to eight men and their bomb-laden rucksacks, should have been different.
Indeed, when more than 50 people were killed on the London transport system six weeks ago there should have been more than enough grief, outrage and intrigue to satiate even the most demanding of editors until well into the autumn.
Until armed police shot dead Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station that is.
The initial reaction of the press and public alike, when all believed that the police had foiled another suicide bombing, was one of shock ? how the hell could this be happening in OUR country? ? but also of relief.
If the shooting on sight of suicide bombers was the resort to which the police had been forced to stoop then so be it. Better them than us, we thought.
But then these feelings turned to abject horror when it was discovered that far from being a suicide bomber, Mr de Menezes was a young Brazilian plumber on his way to work.
And at this point the silly season began in earnest.
Almost immediately the dead (and dozens of horribly injured) from July 7 were forgotten. The four suspects from July 21 had been successfully rounded-up so they also slipped down the news agenda.
Instead, acres of newsprint focused on the tragic shooting of Mr de Menezes and in more recent times the role of Metropolitan Police Commander Sir Ian Blair.
Now these are serious issues no doubt. When police officers shoot to kill and get the wrong man we need to worry. We need to do everything within our powers to make sure that this doesn?t happen again.
But it might. The suicide bombers haven?t gone away because the police shot Mr de Menezes.
Somewhere out there are more young men preparing to become martyrs for their cause and we expect the police to strain every sinew to get them before they get us.
The debate as to whether Sir Ian, who still enjoys the backing of the PM and London residents, should resign is taking place for want of something better to talk about.
Unfortunately, sooner rather than later I fear, another atrocity will come our way to knock Mr de Menezes off the front pages.
And then the silly season will definitely be over.
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