Plots and conspiracies

“The people never give up their liberties but under some delusion.” – Edmund Burke

This morning the UK government is saying the ‘Threat Level’ can be downgraded from critical to severe. In other words they don’t expect an attack imminently but one is expected at some nebulous time in the future. There is also talk of allowing some hand luggage back onto aeroplanes although it isn’t fully clear just yet exactly what restrictions there will be on that.

Wolf! Wolf! The problem is that the government’s credibility feels a little stretched. Was there really a threat? Perhaps. Maybe even probably. Not certainly, however. Not in my mind anyway. These are the people that claimed we were at threat, within 45 minutes, of being attacked by Iraq and their weapons of mass destruction. The weapons that we can probably now confidently say didn’t exist. I didn’t believe it back then and in that case it appears I was right not too. It was clear that the US had already made its mind up about invading Iraq and that the British government would obediently follow. Then there was the blatant deployment of tanks at Heathrow airport a few days before the big Iraq anti-war march in London. Funny how we aren’t seeing tanks out this time?

July the 7th 2005 proved one thing, real threats do exist. Of course the security services completely failed to detect this particular attack before it happened. They missed one, perhaps they’ve stopped several others. The lack of court trials doesn’t really lead us to believe that is the case, though. Who can tell? Openness is lacking, at best.

Now we can’t even take a book onto a plane, unless we put in in the hold. We can’t let terrorists read anything but the in-flight magazine? I heard of an incident where someone with a new and unusual MP3 player wasn’t allowed to even stow it in their hold baggage as the security guard didn’t recognise it and feared it could be a bomb! The owner had the choice of either posting back to their home or not getting on the plane. On Friday I was told that even pilots were being put under such restrictions and couldn’t take on their Electronic Flight Bag. If we can’t trust the pilots then we really are in trouble – there they are enclosed behind a big metal door to stop the flight deck being stormed by terrorists with full control of where that aircraft goes. All bets are off in that case.

So, no terrorist incident this time but certainly a huge amount of disruption and an increased sense of fear. It’s strange to think that such an objective may be just as desirable to the government as it might be to any terrorist plotters.

4 Responses to "Plots and conspiracies"

  1. Karen says:

    On a local note, I do feel that the coverage in the Crawley Observer of the Gatwick chaos was particularly well designed. Excellent use of pictures. Fantastic effort. 😛

  2. […] Oh, before I finish up I should add that I whole heartedly agree with the Albert Hall conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Mark Elder, who (in an overly long speech before the end) complained about the ridiculous over reaction with recent security clamp downs on air travel. But that’s another blog entry! […]

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