Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

The Vauxhall Incident 2

Following this post (crossposted here), where I suggested that the reports of smoke and a strange smell on a tube train at Vauxhall on Friday (shortly before the unfortunate shooting incident at Stockwell down the road) were the product of hysteria, I’ve had some new versons from people who were on the train.

First, Keith (at The Sharpener):

“Was in that carriage on the victoria line, the smoke and smell was getting overwhelming, and smelled like nothing ive ever smelled before – people had their hands on their face. Still, it was quite calm, all it took was one woman to scream �oh my god� and thats when it got out of control.”

Then an anonymous comment left on this blog:

“Me and my girlfriend were both on the actual carriage in Vauxhall that filled with fumes after leaving Stockwell. The operation took over three hours – significantly longer than any of the recent ‘false alarms’. The station was about to be reopened within about 20 minutes of the incident when police realised that the smell of the fumes was NOT the smell of the trains emergency brakes. They then mounted a very large security operation including bomb disposal units in contamination suits and masks. We both stayed with the police in the cordon throughout, then were moved at one point, completely out of sight into the street behind. I can say, and several other witnesses will corroborate, that our carriage definately filled with some kind of acrid chemical smelling haze, which we first tried to ignore but eventually became so strong that people began to cough. The reports of hysteria in the carriage affected are wildly exaggerated, most people managed to remain considerate and fairly calm under the circumstances. For a false alarm this was a pretty major operation, taken very seriously by the officers in the cordon. It’s absence from any news reports from that day seems a little conspicuous to me.”

Then John (also at The Sharpener):

“I was also on the carriage between Stockwell and vauxhall were the alarm was raised. Just wanted to add that I too could smell fumes and see a bluish mist that was unlike anything else I had seen or smelled on the tube. I tried to remian sceptical for as long as possible, but it became overpowering causing people to cough- at that point the �oh my god� woman pulled the alarm. There was a panic, but not nearly as bad as some have made out -at least not on that carriage. The �hysterical� woman was, obviously, very distressed but reacted faster than anyone around her in getting to the alarm and evacuating the carriage. This situation would have warranted the alarm to have been pulled regardless of any recent terrorist activity. For a journalist Nosemonkey seems to have been a little premature in dismissing this incident outright – everyone around me was independently reacting to the fumes, covering their mouths and coughing before the woman described as a �rabid spactard� actually cried out.”

Which just goes to show that there are limits to the amount of investigative journalism you can do using the interweb – which is hardly a surprise, but still.

So now we can (probably – assuming that these new accounts are reliable) revise to suggest that something did happen at Vauxhall, but no one knows precisely what.

Which then goes to make the whole thing even more confusing. Our shot innocent man was killed at Stockwell at about 10am. The incident at Vauxhall happened before that, probably between 9:15 and 9:30 (accounts on the BBC plus the fact that the train at Stockwell which was in the platform when our Brazilian electrician was killed had gone through Vauxhall without stopping). There was also, around the same time, something going on at Kennington.

As our man at Stockwell was unconnected to the ongoing police investigation, we can discount early theories that he tried to detonate a bomb at Vauxhall, then legged it overground to Stockwell (which wouldn’t have taken him that long anyway, as it’s only about a 10-15 minute walk).

So now we’re left with a confusing coincidence – the only connecting factor being that Vauxhall, Kennington and Stockwell are all centered around Oval, where one of the bombs failed to detonate on Thursday. There have also been two arrests made in Stockwell over the last few days in connection with the bombings (although I believe one of those arrested has since been released).

Is there any significance to this, or is it merely turning into another candidate for Private Eye�s �Conspiracy Corner�?


  1. Dude. I hate so say I told you so..
    So I won't! But I did suspect, as I mentioned, tht you were over-hastily dismissing Vauxhall. There were just too many eye-witness accounts for it to be one woman panicking.
    So what was it? A low level chemical attack? A fire of some noxious substance? The latter, but sheer coincidence?
    Either way I agree its absence from the mainstrea media is deeply odd, and arguably suspicious.
    Can't believe I realla am turning into Viz character, Grassy Knoll.
    Further reports from the I Told You So Desk – turns out the shot dude was an illegal immigrant, working on and out of date visa. That's possibly why he ran.
    I refer you to my previous drunken mutterings about the 'bloody government' losing control of our 'frigging borders'.
    Take away the boozy overstatement, and the case remains. They've lost control of it all, and we're reaping the result.

  2. NM: this might be a better explanation. Just maybe, though.

  3. Interesting, Jarndyce. Could be that, I readily confess.
    But these eye-witnesses do seem quite level-headed; I think in the cases you describe there is mass panic, gnashing and wailing of teeth?
    The undeniable point is that this incident has been wholly univestigated by the mass media, and resolutely not-talked-about by the authorities. Which is definitely weird. Even if its mass hysteria its news-worthy, I woulda thought…
    Might try and do an article on it!
    NM – this just in from the Told You So Department – police now pretty sure the latest bombers are East Africans are of London origin. I think that's a fairly safe bet given the truly remarkable way they've gone to ground. Safe houses somewhere, methinks. And some community protection.
    So where's your fab Londony multiculturalism now?
    I take no pleasure in this. At all. I'm a Londoner too.
    And now I'll stop picking on you. I take my hat off to all London commuter at the mo. I don't have to do it. Can't be fun. Sympathies.

  4. In fact, I did a bunch of trawling through medical journals a couple of years back for a journalistic piece I still haven't written on Mass Psychogenic Illness (mass hysteria, in effect). As soon as I read every witness's emphasis on the smell, it rang bells big time. Actually, there's no need for wailing or gnashing of teeth. Plenty of these incidents have panned out over days or weeks. And the credibility or not of the witnesses makes no difference at all, as all will be utterly convinced til the day they die that this is what happened, even if it isn't.

    On meeja attention: it's just possible they think it's another security alert. Let's face it, even before 7 July, they were daily incidents in London. Now they're every hour or so.

  5. Do we know whether they are Afro-East-Africans or East-African-Asians (if there are any of those left)? If the latter, ought there not to be a lack-of-diversity investigation?