‘Andrew Bearpark, director general of the British Association of Private Security Companies, said he was in favour of self-regulation. But he has raised the prospect of an international code of conduct.’ Soberly thus, today’s Guardian reports how the Foreign Office proposes self-regulation for private military firms. It is somehow fitting that the leader of these ‘private military companies, some of which have been engaged in highly controversial activities’ (as the paper also notes) should be called Bearpark, even though he doubtless denies that they ever behave as if they were in one. Looking up this article online, I discovered from an item on 16 June 2007 that Andrew Bearpark was ‘probably the Coalition Provisional Authority’s central British figure’ in the US-led administration set up to run Iraq following the invasion in 2003. He described Britain as ‘being complicit in Iraq’s current position as a failed state due to its the failure to prepare a postwar plan.’ So he clearly knows how a bearpark looks and behaves.
Still, we must not jump to conclusions about the meaning of names. Another article informs us that ‘Bearpark comes from “beau” park, “beautiful” park’. Unfortunately, it also tells us that Bearpark (two miles outside the fair city of Durham) ‘is hideous’. Let us hope that both Iraq and Bearpark, Durham, have more beautiful futures.