The weekend’s news that in order to defend the Olympics, we should now be deploying missile launchers on the top of tower blocks is the final straw.Because unless the politicians and security bods have been lying to us about risk levels for the past few years, the increased risk represented by the Olympics is beyond acceptable.
It is time to call it a day.
“What? What?” I hear you splutter, Major-General Bloodnok and Colonel Blimp. “This is treason!”
But actually no. It the least commonsense deconstruction of what’s just been proposed, combined with my own personal response to the arrogant elitism of some military twonk rolled out to defend the decision on Jeremy Vine today.
Let’s start with the security risk. Either the risk to London is much the same. Or its just gone up massively on account of the Olympics. If its much the same – to wit, so high as to necessitate having big missile pointy things trained on our skies at all times – then we’ve been lied to, pure and simple.
Cause we should have had big pointy things out there the past couple of years, and we didn’t.
On t’other hand, if we didn’t need them and now we do. We-ell, that means that in the view of the professionals, our hosting the Olympics has significantly increased the risk that someone will drop a plane on London. Oh, thank you!
But of course, its not their fault. And besides, since that is the risk we are dealing with, it would be giving in to terror to not do everything homicidal, suicidal or just generally fungicidal to prevent the terrorists from having their dastardly way.
So pointing out the failings in the current plans is either unpatriotic or as one military guy with an obvious distaste for democracy pompously put it on Jeremy Vine this lunchtime: if you oppose such measures you are obviously not sane!
Mmmm. I suspect there is a space for him in a junta somewhere, should he need to retire soon for any reason.
I digress. This “we’ll never give in” macho posturing has led to some true violence and whilst there is always a police spokesperson out there to blame the bad guys, the truth is that it is also made worse by a particular style of policing.
Well remembered from my anti-Nazi days, were marches by the National Front. Us lefties assembled. The police penned us in. Then – because their command stated officially that the police never gave up control of the streets, they took the fascists thru the centre of the lefties. Much nastiness ensued, all in the name of police teaching people a lesson.
Failure to calculate risk
So, here. Its a simple calculus. Risk to london without Olympics = x. Risk to London plus Olympics = x + delta, where delta represents a threat sufficient to necessitate the militarisation of our capital.
Presumably delta is not small. So it comes with considerable risk and cost implications – let alone the damage already done to our democratic processes which is implicit in sticking big pointy things on top of council blocks without planning permission.
The lessons of (film) history
Last up, has no-one in the military watched “Con Air”. As fans of that minor late night film icon, starring Nicholas Cage and John Malkovich, may remember, a key element of the plot was a US Air Marshall who brought a hand gun onto a plane full of convicts, in opposition to official guidelines, in order to protect himself and keep the cons in order.
Unfortunately, when it all kicked off, he was overpowered, his gun seized and then used to shoot him with.
I think this is relevant. Because if i were a terrorist, i wouldn’t necessarily do the SAME things every time. In fact, doing different things seems like its much more in tune with modern terroristing. Now one thing i’d dearly love is my own portable missile launcher in the heart of London.
Course, getting it in, getting it to the top of a tower block, assembling it. These are all difficult tasks.
But what if the Brits conveniently did all that stuff for me. Then all i would need to do is take control of the location. Lemme see: two squads…first, a bunch of suicide bombers who would get close enough to the action, then detonate, thereby taking out most of those defending the installation.
A second team would operate the big gun thing…and a third team, if necessary, would hold off any attempts to recapture the emplacement just long enough for me to swivel the weapon round and take out the House of Commons.