Friday, 31 August 2007

National Insecurity


Today a quick word on national security after a Guardian article about the arrest of two The Mirror journalists for trying to plant a fake bomb on the London underground. They'd aimed to expose serious lapses of security in the system.

It's not the first time journalists have engaged in this kind of practice. We've had reporters waltz into airports with fake weapons or explosives and breeze through "security checks" undetected before. Some years ago there was an incident -admittedly, a question of security in general rather than national security- in which a journalist "broke into" Buckingham Palace by hopping over the wall. And they do this, again, to expose lax security.

Maybe so. And maybe we're all under the threat of terrorism. But shall I tell you what scares me most? Not that journalists actually succeed in their experiments, but that they actually announce it to the nation afterwards.

All those fanatics who loathe the West and everything it stands for may, like the rest of us, be none the wiser if it were not for these scaremongers exposing our weak points, putting us even further on edge. What are they gonna tell us next? That the police don't really carry bullets in their guns?

"Ignorance is bliss" the saying goes, and in this case it may well be true. I remember when Bob Hoskins used to strut round the house for BT, back in the days when our calls were less closely monitored, and tell us, "It's good to talk." Then he'd break into a big belly laugh.

Maybe they should bring that advert back, but with the message modified to reflect the times we live in and Bob raising a finger to his lips: "It's good to talk...but it's safer to keep your mouth shut."

No comments:

Post a Comment